Tokyo Walking Tour
- Location: Tokyo, Japan
- Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
Ultra-modern Tokyo still holds many old-fashioned surprises when you know where to go. On this 3-hour walking tour in the Ningyocho and Nihonbashi districts, your local guide shares hidden gems such as long-established shops that carry traditional musical instruments and incense. Learn about classic Japanese art forms and see vendors with stationery, calligraphy materials, gold-leaf decor and more. You’ll also taste some favorite snacks while exploring a lesser-known side of Tokyo, traveling with a small group limited to 12 people for a personalized experience
- 3-hour walking tour of Nihonbashi and Ningyocho districts, in Tokyo
- See the old-world in Tokyo’s small alleys with the insight of a local guide
- Discover long-standing shops that carry handcrafted goods
- Sample traditional candies, crackers and other treats
- Learn about incense ceremonies and classical Japanese arts such as calligraphy and music
- Enjoy a more customized experience on a small-group tour with a maximum of 12 participants
What You Can Expect
In Spend your day with us browsing for traditional souvenirs and goods – made right here in Japan! Gain some insight to the foods and snacks that Japanese people eat and the typical items they use in everyday life. We’ll start the tour in the neighbourhood of Ningyocho, a district known for its old traditions and, as you’ll soon discover, some very tasty treats. We’ll visit a number of shops that have been around for over 100 years, many of which are still family-owned and operated and specialise in unique goods made right here in Japan.
To kick things off, we’ll try some Ningyoyaki cakes, a true Tokyo specialty. This is a small sponge cake with sweet red bean filling, and made in different shapes. We’ll visit a bakery that has been around for 110 years, where the father and son welcome guests with open arms and enjoy sharing their knowledge about their cakes and craft.
We’ll also visit two shops specialising in a specific traditional snack: senbei, or rice crackers. We’ll try sweet kawara senbei (made from flour, not actually rice), as well as salty rice crackers, a favourite in many Japanese households. One of the shops we’ll visit actually makes their crackers without milk or butter.
From there, we’ll head to a local tenugui shop, where they sell woven hand towels depicting different traditional Japanese scenes. These towels are used for many things from wiping your hands to wrapping gifts, tea towels and decorations.
Your Tokyo tour will next lead you to one of the eight shrines in Ningyocho. We’ll visit a shrine where virtue, longevity, learning and wealth are worshipped. You can offer a prayer here, and wash a coin to ensure a prosperous life.
Once we’ve exhausted Ningyocho, we’ll visit another neighbourhood nearby, Nihonbashi. The district of Nihonbashi was a hub for merchants during the Edo period. Today, it is predominantly a financial district that houses trading firms and even the Tokyo Stock Exchange. And although Nihonbashi is very much a modern neighbourhood, it features many traditional Japanese shops hidden in its alleyways and even within its department stores.
We’ll visit an old-fashioned stationery shop that was established in 1912. You’ll get to browse through the display of calligraphy brushes, inks, traditional paints, handmade greeting cards, and little dolls that tie into Japanese wedding and New Year’s customs.
We’ll also discover a toothpick shop that has been in business since 1704, where you will be able to check out delicate handmade toothpicks, plus other handmade items carved from Kuromoji or Lindera umbellata trees.
Please note that this itinerary is subject to change. As most of the shops we visit are small, family-owned businesses, they sometimes unexpectedly close or alter their hours for the day. In such a case, we’ll visit other nearby shops or attractions that still keep with the theme and essence of the tour.
- Food samplings as per the itinerary
- Local English-speaking guide
- Gratuities (optional)
- Food and drinks (unless specified)
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Souvenirs and other items of a personal nature purchased at the shops
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Children 5 and younger are free of charge
- Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking
- A moderate amount of walking is involved; please wear comfortable walking shoes
- The tour includes a brief visit to a small shrine. Modest dress is highly recommended – shoulders should be covered and pants or a skirt that covers the knees should be worn
- 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, the tour will visit other nearby shops or attractions that still keep with the theme and essence of the tour
- You can access the meeting point from any of the following metro lines: Ningyocho station, Hibiya Line, Exit A1 (3-minute walk); Ningyocho Station, Asakusa Line, Exit A3 (7-minute walk); or Suitengumae Station, Hanzomon Line, Exit 7 (4-minute walk) 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 three hours.