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Tokyo's Traditional 'Old City' and Historic Shops Discovery Tour

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Take a step back into the Tokyo of the past! Take a walking tour around Tokyo's neighborhoods and discover hidden shops that sell traditional items rarely found in contemporary Japan. Sample Japanese snacks, learn about the art of incense, visit a seaweed seller and see a side of Tokyo frozen in time.

Highlights
  • Be transported back in time as you stroll through the streets of Tokyo
  • Visit hidden shops that have sold their handcrafted goods for centuries
  • Taste traditional delicacies
  • Learn about traditional Japanese music, calligraphy and incense-making
  • Shop for the perfect handmade souvenirs!

Description

Start your tour of Tokyo in the neighborhood of Ningyocho. A district known for keeping the old traditions and some of the tastiest traditional treats! Our first stop in the area will be a shop that specializes in Japanese sweets established in 1897 during the Meiji Era. Enjoy the authentic traditional ambiance of the store!

Learn about Kodo, the art of appreciating incense and the traditional Japanese incense ceremony on our next stop in an incense store that dates back to 1705. Along the way, purchase some unique souvenirs from a small gift shop that carries a variety of Japanese items - from calligraphy tools to decorative wares. Find that perfect item to remember your trip to Japan by!

Get ready to sample more of Japan's delicious traditional snacks at our next stop, a snack shop that dates back from the Showa Era. Enjoy treats from the early 20th century such as candies, caramels, Ramune soda, fish jerky and bean paste snacks. Make sure you have room for more as we visit two shops specializing in Senbei or rice crackers. Try out the sweet kawara senbei as well as the salty rice crackers which is a favorite in many Japanese households.

We'll then cross the street to a shamisen shop to learn more about this traditional Japanese string instrument. We'll then head on over to a local tenugui shop which sells woven hand towels depicting traditional Japanese scenes.

Experience the peace and serenity of a Japanese temple as we visit one of Ningyocho's eight temples. Dedicated to virtue, longevity, learning and wealth - offer a prayer and wash a coin in the temple to ensure a prosperous life and other blessings.

After touring through Ningyocho, we'll head on to the nearby district of Nihonbashi. A hub for merchants during the Edo period, the area is now predominantly a financial district that serves as the home of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and various trading firms. Nihonbashi may be a very modern neighborhood, but there are still some traditional Japanese shops tucked away in the corners of the neighborhood.

Some of the shops we will visit in the area is a seaweed shop and an old-fashioned stationery shop which sells calligraphy brushes, inks, handmade greeting cards, traditional paints and small dolls.

We'll also visit a toothpick shop that makes very special toothpicks. How special are these toothpicks? Each one is handmade and wrapped in a piece of paper with a poem! We'll also make a stop at a katsuobushi shop with a 200 year history. Katsuoboshi is the fish shavings used in making fish broth which is the very essence of Japanese cuisine. Our last stop in Nihonbashi will be a shop that makes golden leaves measuring an amazing 0.0001 millimeter and is used in decorating furnishings, ceramics and even food.

Your day out in Tokyo will end at the Nihonbashi information center where we will sample more traditional Japanese snacks.

Includes

  • Food sampling

  • English-speaking guide
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Tokyo's Traditional 'Old City' and Historic Shops Discovery Tour

Duration: 3:30 hour(s)
Available: Tue, Thu, Fri and Sat
Pick-up: Not available
Inclusions: Food sampling / English-speaking guide
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Schedule

  • 12:35

    Meet at Ningyocho Clock Tower

  • 12:45

    Meiji Era Sweets Shop

    Visit a variety of specialty shops and get to know their own special history. Make your way to a local sweets shop founded in the Meiji era where you can have a taste of traditional Ningyoyaki cake, a small sponge cake with sweet red bean filling.

  • Senbei

    Visit places specializing in the traditional rice cracker snack, senbei. Try sweet kawara senbei, which is made from flour instead of rice, and savory rice crackers.

  • Tenugui

    See beautiful tenugui, woven hand towels depicting traditional Japanese scenes, which make a wonderful gift for friends back home (or yourself!).

  • Shrine or Temple Visit

    Your guide will bring you to one of the 8 temples in the Ningyocho area which house gods of longevity and wealth.

  • Nihonbashi's Stationery

    Visit a classic stationery shop established in 1912. You'll find several items such as calligraphy brushes and ink, paint, handmade cards and little dolls that tie into Japanese wedding and New Year customs.

  • Toothpick Shop

    Handmade toothpicks...only in Tokyo! Discover the interesting history of a toothpick shop that has been around for three centuries. You can also check out handmade toothpicks and other hand-carved wood items.

  • 15:45

    Tour Ends at Mitsukoshimae Station

  • (For Check-In) Ningyocho Clock Tower Time: 12:35:00

  • (For Check-Out) Mitsukoshimae Station (Mitsukoshi-Mae Station, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan) Time: 15:45:00

Check-in Time & Location

  • (For Check-In) Ningyocho Clock Tower Time: 12:35:00

Check-out Time & Location

  • (For Check-Out) Mitsukoshimae Station (Mitsukoshi-Mae Station, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan) Time: 15:45:00

Price & Options

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Notes

Required Items to Bring & Attire
  • Walking shoes

  • Clothing that covers from the shoulder to knee

Additional Note(s)
  • Tips for your guide, additional food and drinks, personal items and souvenirs are not included in the price of the tour.

  • The maximum number of participants on this tour is 12 people.

  • As participants on the tour will be visiting mostly family-run/independent businesses, please be aware that the shops may be closed or alter their hours. If this happens, other nearby shops fitting in with the theme of the tour will be visited.

  • Please note that while this tour is not physically exerting, it is a walking tour. The activity entails walking for all of the three hours.

  • Some dietary restrictions may be accommodated but still subject to availability. Please specify allergies and dietary restrictions (if any) upon booking.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Cancellation Policy

  • Any cancellations made within 2 business days of your activity (after 17:00:00 local time) will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount.

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