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 a shop that specialises in a traditional snack: senbei (rice crackers), a favourite in many Japanese households, which is happily gluten and dairy free.
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.
(If you’d prefer to travel as part of a regular group experience, please book our Cultural Curiosities group tour.)
This tour is priced for a minimum group size of two travellers. A solo traveller may still book this private experience but will be charged the base rate for two travellers.
Tour photos by Ben McNamara
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, food samplings (Japanese snacks, tea).
Exclusions: Additional food and drink, souvenirs and items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for the guide.
Dress standard: The tour includes a brief visit to a small shrine. Modest dress is highly recommended — shoulders covered, and pants or a skirt that covers the knees.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point.
Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Additional Information: You can access the meeting point from any of the following metro lines: Ningyocho station, Hibiya Line, Exit A1 (currently under reconstruction- Exit A2 is on the opposite side of the street- 4 min 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 demanding, it is a walking tour, and you will be on your feet and walking for all of the three hours.
Closure of sites: 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, we'll visit other nearby shops or attractions that still keep with the theme and essence of the tour.
Child Policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.