- Stroll Kappabashi, Tokyo’s kitchen shopping street
- Taste Tokyo’s savoury soul food, monjayaki, where it originated
- Cruise along the Kanda River, the shining symbol of Tokyo’s urban rivers
- Retrace a historic walk to the Imperial Palace from Nihonbashi
- Tour and dine in Kagurazaka, a district preserved with an atmosphere of old Japan
Take a stroll through the unique shopping street of Kappabashi, Tokyo’s kitchen shopping street that specialises in tools related to the home, kitchen and the food industry. This famous shopping street is located in between Asakusa and Ueno, and it features a variety of products, from tools for handling food products, to packaging materials, cookware, food samples, ingredients, cooking clothes, etc. Today there are more than 170 stores. Even just walking the street is intriguing as you will encounter many bargains and unusual products, including plastic food used for restaurant displays in Japan.
If you look at a map of 17th century Tokyo, you will not find Tsukishima anywhere. Tsukishima was created during the 19th century through land reclamation efforts in Tokyo Bay. At first it was literally an “island” floating on the sea, and was only connected to the other side of the island by three vessels. Because of that, the first settlers of Tsukishima mainly consisted of fishermen and other professions in the sea trade. It is said that as many as 10,000 residents existed at that time between Sakai, Tsukishima and Kachidado. The people of Tsukishima are very proud of their soul food, monjayaki, which you will enjoy here for lunch.
Monjayaki consists of adding a water and flour mixture to your chosen ingredients on an iron griddle, and eating it as it slowly cooks. The fun part about monjayaki is the different textures you will experience. A larger portion of “dashi” in the mix helps blend in the flour and the portion that makes direct contact with the griddle becomes crispy, creating a unique mixture of different textures and flavours.
After lunch, cut through the centre of Tokyo on a relaxing river cruise along Nihonbashi River and Kanda River. There are many historical structures visible from the waterways, such as an aqueduct and Edo Castle Ishigaki that have all helped support people’s lives since the 17th century. You will also be presented with rare views of locations such as Ochanomizu-dori Street, and a unique view of the Tokyo Sky Tree.
From Nihonbashi, take a historical walk to the Tokugawa Shogunate’s castle Edo Castle that became known as an Imperial Palace in 1868. The Imperial Palace is the official residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan and also contains various buildings for various royal events. Edo Castle belonged to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the daimyo that successfully united Japan and became the first shogun of the Edo shogunate. You will see many runners that exercise on the public running path that surrounds the palace.
Head to Kagurazaka, with its old Japan atmosphere, cobblestone alleys and various gourmet shops. Once lined with samurai residences around the outer moat, and before that with geisha houses and restaurants, Kagurazaka is now chock-full of narrow alleys centered on Kagurazaka-dori Street. There are a large number of cafes, French restaurants and small grocery stores. It continues to have a refined cityscape that blends the atmosphere of old Edo with Montmartre in Paris. End the day with dinner in Kagurazaka.
After meeting at Ueno Station, participants of the “Downtown – Historical Edo experience” tour will walk to the Kappabashi shopping district to explore the unique cookware, dishes and food samples available. This will be followed by a monjayaki lunch in Tsukishima. From Tsukishima, the tour will proceed to Nihonbashi and cruise the Kanda River. Upon returning to pier, the tour will walk from Nihonbashi to the Imperial Palace (formerly Edo Castle) via the Marunouchi district surrounding the iconic red brick Tokyo Station. Afterwards, the tour will head to Kagurazaka using the Tokyo Metro. After exploring Kagurazaka and eating dinner, the tour ends upon return to Kagurazaka Station.
Total duration of the tour: approximately 11 hours
A famous shopping street located in between Asakusa and Ueno that features a variety of kitchen goods related to cooking.
Tsukishima was created during the 19th century through land reclamation efforts in Tokyo Bay. In the last few decades, areas of the island were redeveloped into residential high-rise complexes; however, you can still find remnants of the atmosphere of old Tokyo if you poke around the back alleys and lanes.
This Edo-period waterway runs through some of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.
The former Tokugawa Shogunate’s castle is now the official residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan. It has a beautiful garden with free entrance and public running path that surrounds the palace.
Kagurazaka, once lined with samurai residences around the outer moat (and before that with geisha houses and restaurants) is now chock-full of narrow alleys centred on Kagurazaka-dori Street.