"Shitamachi means 'towns below' and refers to those areas beneath the castle but still within the city limits. Edward Seidensticker has felicitously translated the term as 'Low City' - the hills became the Yamanote, the 'High City'. He has also estimated that the Low City, which gave Edo so much of its character,, only occupied about one-fifth of the city.
"It now occupies even less, the High City has grown so much. Yet the traditional Low City perseveres, even now remaining different in feeling from the Westernized Yamanote. Now comprised (according to the Shitamachi Museum) of Kanda, Nihombashi, Kyobashi, Shitaya (Ueno), Asakusa, Honjo and Fukagawa, it still retains what little is left of the feel of old Edo - distinctly plebian, also fun-loving, less inhibited than those remains of areas where the military aristocracy, the shogunate, observed its rules of decorum."
- Donald Richie, Tokyo, page 23
Shitamachi Museum Toy Tutorial, with Lesser, December 2001