Shita-machi refers to the older parts of Tokyo. These neighborhoods still have lots of mom & pop stores, many of the houses and other buildings are old, and the streets are dangerously narrow. Finding a location by address is completely impossible. Lots of houses are only accessible by narrow walkways. Neighborhoods like that have a lot of character and exude a sense of history. Of course the greatest fear of all residents is fire! Old wooden houses crammed into ridiculously tiny lots with only inches separating one house from another; combined with roads too narrow for fire trucks and you have a real potential for disaster. Nevertheless lots and lots of people live in these neighborhoods, and generally love it. Folks who live further out in the suburbs are often jealous because the shopping tends to be really good in these areas. Groceries are famously cheap and the local covered shopping arcades hark back to a previous generation. This was Japan’s answer to shopping malls, and it was popular even before I was born.
One of the churches I work at is in Jujo which is a busy hub in Kita-ward. It is decidedly shita-machi in every sense of the word. Today I walked around a bit with the GF670 and it was sunny so I loaded a roll of Neopan 100 Acros. Lots of fun!