“Beyond the [Benten-dori] bridge is Isezakicho, a half mile of theatres, side-shows, merry-go-rounds, catchpenny games, candy shops, restaurants, second-hand clothes bazaars, labyrinths of curio, toy, china, and wooden-ware shops. Hundreds of perambulating restaurateurs trundle their little kitchens along, or swing them on a pole over their shoulders.
“Dealers in ice-cream, so called, abound, who will shave you a glass of ice, sprinkle it with sugar, and furnish a minute teaspoon with which to eat it. There are men who sell soba, a native vermicelli, eaten with pungent soy; and men who, for a penny, heat a big grid iron, and give a small boy a cup of batter and a cup of soy, with which he may cook and eat his own griddle cakes.
“There the people, the middle and lower classes, present themselves for study and admiration, and the spectator never wearies of the outside dramas and panoramas to be seen in this merry fair.”
– Jinrikisha Days in Japan, by Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, 1891