Best of Tokyo: Japanese Traditions, Shopping and Food Tour (Small Group)
This is a typical itinerary for this product
Stop At: Ningyocho Karakuri Watchtower, 2 Nihonbashi Ningyocho, Chuo 103-0013 Tokyo Prefecture
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.
Duration: 15 minutes
- Food samplings as per the itinerary
- Local English-speaking guide
- 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.
This tour was wonderful; our guides Aya and Ayaka were so kind, and showed shops that I otherwise would not have ventured into. Learning the history of some of the shops and trying the traditional snacks was awesome. I really enjoyed learning about the family-run ningyaki (probably wrote that wrong, but a sweet snack) store and watching the owner make it was so sweet. Also made a great friend on the tour :)
Our visit to the neighborhoods of Ningyocho and Nihonbashi was somewhat hampered by the continuing rain throughout the morning and early afternoon. However, our guide, Seishi (not sure of exact spelling), was more than capable of providing a magnificent walking tour, and along the way explaining a number of aspects of Japanese culture of which we were entirely unaware. The “Best of Tokyo” tour as described in the Viator info is precisely a street by street exploration of tiny crafts shops of all sorts, probably shops we would have ignored – hand made biscuit shop; fan shop (imagine delicately crafted fans); paper shop (imagine all manner of paper); sweets shop; incense shop; sushi shop; traditional candies and crackers shop. The middle of the tour was punctuated by a visit to a local temple in Ningyocho, the shrine of fertility (both desired fertility and fulfilled fertility, with entire families coming with a month old baby to give thanks for the healthy birth). Then instead of walking (as the normal tour would have done), we took the subway with Seishi to the Nihonbashi, more modern neighborhood, with some huge department stores and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Here we still found some small craft stores, e.g. a toothpick store (in case you forgot your toothpick holder!), a gold leaf craft and jewelry store, and a soup stand in a huge mall CorEdo). Since this was the first day of our trip, and due to the rain (and jet lag) we might just have stayed indoors, going on this tour was a super way to get out and about, to start to become oriented to Tokyo (we took our first subway in order to get to the rendezvous point), and to discover an entire array of commercial products that are, understandably, off the beaten path! Lots of walking is required, but almost entirely on flat surfaces. Because of the shrine visit, a more modest kind of dress is desirable.
Was a good tour! Be prepared to walk and you will get great food samples! Tour guide was knowledgeable but it was just an ok tour!
If you look carefully there are artisans in small Tokyo shops making traditional objects and foods. Our guide taught us how to open our eyes and find these remaining keepers of craftsmanship. And now I know the proper ritual for offering a prayer at a Shinto Shrine!