Tokyo is unimaginably vast, but for those who want to get to the very heart of this capital city filled to the brim with 30 million residents (and counting), recommend a visit to the Nihonbashi area, home to the mile-zero marker of Japan’s national highway system since the Edo period (1603-1868). They’ll get a glimpse of small shops that have been in business for centuries, as well as modern shopping complexes.
Here, the Nihonbashi Information Center offers various day tours that showcase the area’s shopping, culture, gastronomy and unique activities. The Kimono experience, for example, includes wearing Japan’s traditional dress, taking a stroll around town while browsing and shopping, and taking photos. There’s also the Gourmet tour at the COREDO Muromachi shopping complex. On this tour, guests visit 10 cuisine-related merchandisers, learning about the famous products of each region and delving into the unique history of the shops; a small gift and samples are included. The Cruise Nihonbashi Day Tour includes a morning tour of COREDO Muromachi shopping complex, sightseeing in Nihonbashi, a waterway cruise, and dining at a Wagyu beef restaurant. Or, clients can choose to design their own hanko, a special type of stamp with their name on it, or participate in an origami workshop.
The information center works with travel agents, and reservations need to be made in advance. Tour duration varies from three to eight hours, and rates vary although most tours are approximately $45 (children under 12 pay less). For more information, visit nihonbashi-info.jp/omotenashi.