Having a little difficulty trying to decide how to organize these posts about my recent Tokyo trip because some places I visited more than once. Going to start with the area I stayed in, Ningyocho. Which translates into Doll Town or Puppet Town.
And what is probably the most famous landmarks that are in Nigyocho. The mechanical puppet clock towers.
Located on Ningyocho-dori (street), these towers are dedicated to the arts that thrived in Ningyocho in the Edo era.
From what little information I could find in English, the panels depict Rakugo comedic stories.
The curtains draw open on the hour, from 11 am to 7 pm to show the mechanical Edo era fighter puppets in action. Having trouble sleeping I was out here much earlier than that so I did not get to see this. Even at that early hour the heat and humidity was pretty bad.
On the other side of the street there is a second smaller clock tower. I do not know when these were built but possibly post WWII since many things in Tokyo were destroyed in the war.
More of the Rakugo panels. Rakugo is a very interesting art form of an actor sitting on stage telling stories. They play the part of all the characters along with having to memorize each story. Quite a challenge. Forms of Rakugo have been performed for several centuries in Japan with it becoming popular in the Edo era with the public due to it being performed for merchants and others outside of the upper class. Rakugo is still performed today and there is even a popular manga and anime about it, Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū.
The second clock tower does not have the curtains so we can see the mechanical firefighter puppets.
Firefighters were so important in Japan because most buildings were made of wood. So it's not surprising to see them being honored in this way.