Time travel back to old-world Tokyo. Wander through back alleys and uncover hidden shops that have stood for centuries selling handcrafted goods. Snack on tasty traditional treats, from candies to crackers. Learn about classic Japanese arts like music, calligraphy, and incense-making. Shop for the perfect handmade souvenirs to take back home. We’ll start your Tokyo tour in the neighbourhood of Ningyocho, a district known for its old traditions and, as you’ll discover right away, tasty treats. That’s because the smell of cinnamon will lead us to our first stop, a shop that specialises in Japanese sweets. Established in the Meiji Era (1897), this shop stays true to its original vibe — something that is quite uncommon these days in modern, fast-paced Tokyo! Next up, we’ll stop at an incense store that dates back to 1705, where we’ll learn about Kōdō, the art of appreciating incense and the traditional Japanese incense ceremony. Along the way, we’ll also visit a little gift shop that carries various traditional Japanese items, from calligraphy tools to decorative wares. Hungry? Good! We’ll stop at a snack shop from the Showa Era that carries treats popular in the early 20th century, including candies, caramels, Ramune soda, fish jerky, and bean paste snacks, to name a few. Then, we’ll 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. We’ll then cross the street to a shamisen shop, and learn a bit about this traditional Japanese musical string instrument. From there, we’ll head to a local tenugui shop, where they sell woven hand towels depicting Japanese scenes. Your Tokyo tour will next lead you to one of the eight temples 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 nearby neighbourhood, 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 a seaweed shop, as well as an old-fashioned stationery shop that was established in 1946. You’ll get to browse through the display of calligraphy brushes, inks, traditional paints, handmade greeting cards, and little dolls. We’ll also check out a toothpick shop (yes, toothpicks) that has been in business since 1704 and that gives something extra special to buyers — each toothpick is wrapped in a piece of paper with a poem, and is produced by hand. We’ll also stop at a katsuobushi shop that can be traced back more than 200 years. Katsuobushi is the fish shavings used to make fish broth, the very essence of Japanese cooking. Lastly, we’ll check out the shop that makes golden leaves measuring 0.0001 mm, and that have been traditionally used for decorating ceramics, furnishings, and even food. Our Tokyo tour will finish at the Nihonbashi information centre, where we will get to taste a few more traditional Japanese sweets before saying sayōnara. 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.
- Culture, History & Arts
- Food & Wine
Urban Adventures is about a new style of travel experience for those who want to get off the beaten path and really connect with a destination. The experience can be as short as a couple of hours, or as long as a whole day, but in every case our Urban Adventures tours take travellers to interesting places to meet locals, and to really see what makes a place tick.
Insider TipContact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.
Terms & Conditions
Our Terms & Conditions are posted on our website - click here to view.
The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.
Reviews and Recommendations for Urban Adventures
of 1 guests