Tokyo: Japan’s Cultural Curiosities Walking Tour
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- Travel back in time to old-world Tokyo
- Explore back alleys and discover hidden shops that have been selling handcrafted goods for centuries
- Snack on tasty traditional treats, from candies to crackers
- Learn about classic Japanese arts, including music, calligraphy, and incense-making
Visit an incense store that dates back to 1705, and learn about kōdō, the art of appreciating incense. You’ll also stop at a little gift shop that carries traditional Japanese items, from calligraphy tools to decorative wares.
If you’re hungry by this point, that’s good, as you’ll be stopping at a snack shop from the Showa Era that features treats popular in the early 20th century, including candies, caramels, ramune soda, fish jerky, and bean paste snacks, to name a few.
Next you’ll visit a couple of shops specializing in senbei, or rice crackers, a traditional snack. Try sweet kawara senbei (made from flour actually, not rice), as well as salty rice crackers, a favorite in many Japanese households.
Cross the street to a shamisen shop, and learn a bit about this traditional Japanese stringed instrument. Then head to a local tenugui shop, where they sell woven hand towels depicting Japanese scenes.
Your Tokyo tour guide will next show one of the 8 temples in Ningyocho. Visit a shrine where virtue, longevity, learning, and wealth are worshiped. You can offer a prayer here, and wash a coin to ensure a prosperous life.
Visit the nearby neighborhood of Nihonbashi, a hub for merchants during the Edo period. Today, it’s predominantly a financial district that’s home to trading firms and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Although Nihonbashi is very much a modern neighborhood, you’ll find many traditional Japanese shops hidden in its alleyways and even within its department stores.
Stop at a seaweed shop, as well as an old-fashioned stationery shop that was established in 1946. Admire the display of calligraphy brushes, inks, traditional paints, handmade greeting cards, and little dolls.
Check out a toothpick shop that has been in business since 1704 and that gives a little something extra special to buyers: each toothpick is wrapped in a piece of paper with a poem.
You’ll also stop at a katsuobushi shop that can be traced back more than 200 years. Katsuobushi, or fish shavings, is used to make fish broth, the very essence of Japanese cooking.
Lastly, you’ll visit a shop that makes golden leaves at 0.0001 of a millimeter, traditionally used for decorating ceramics, furnishings, and even food.
The tour ends at the Nihonbashi information center, where you’ll get to taste a few more traditional Japanese sweets before saying sayōnara.
- Local English-speaking guide
- Food samplings (Japanese snacks, tea)
- Additional food and drinks
- Souvenirs and items of a personal nature
- Tips/gratuities for the guide
Meet at the mechanical clock tower (near the McDonald's) at Ningyocho. From Ningyocho station, Hibiya line, take exit A1 (a 3-minute walk). From Ningyocho station, Asakusa line, take exit A3 (a 7-minute walk). From Suitengumae station, Hanzomon line, take exit 7 (a 4-minute walk). (Open in Google Maps)
• While this tour is not physically exerting, it is a walking tour, and you will be on your feet and walking for all of the 3 hours
• This tour includes visits to independent, family-run businesses, which may sometimes unexpectedly close or alter their hours for the day. In such a case, you will visit other nearby shops or attractions that are aligned with the theme and essence of the tour
• This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on the tour. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please advise at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6
Product ID: 55793