Tokyo is a big modern city, but there are pockets that are untouched by time. These neighborhoods feature shops that have been in business for generations, shrines & temples where age-old traditions live on, and well-preserved examples of ye olde Japanese buildings.
A neighborhood and shops unchanged for generations
Everything for the home altar!
Stores selling beautifully pieced Shinto home altars & incredibly expensive Buddhist family altars • Incense, Buddhist rosaries & brass bells on cushions
An undiscovered gem of a neighborhood, where you can feel what it was like to live in a bygone era
Shitamachi museum with a life-sized samurai-era town you can walk around in • Serene Japanese garden with a large lake, gorgeous steppingstones, trickling water basins & exquisite views
KOSHINZUKA STREET MARKET
A market where they still sell goods from a bygone era
Old-fashioned sweets • Lovely wrapping cloths and hand towels • Magic umbrellas • Handmade bamboo ear cleaners • Crispy cricket drinking snacks • Poisonous dried snake tea • Togenuki Jizo healing temple • The Honorable Duck Butt of Sugamo • Big Red Underwear Store
This is a relatively undiscovered Old Tokyo neighborhood, with traditional shops, food, and a temple with a fascinating fire ceremony
Fire ceremonies with drums, five times a day • Hall of 10,000 crystal figures of Fudo-san • Room with 108 glow-in-the-dark paintings of gods • Dragon fountain that grants wishes written on dissolving amulets • Giant wooden Fudo figure
My favorite Tokyo shrine, in a neighborhood that escaped the WWII firebombing
Tunnel of orange torii gates you can walk through • Old-fashioned neighborhood, with shops that have been in business for generations • Chiyogami store • Handmade wooden buckets • Calligraphy brushes • Air-conditioned pillows • Cat map store.
NIHON MINKA-EN THATCH-ROOFED FARMHOUSES
A village of restored thatch-roofed houses just a short train ride from central Tokyo.
23 thatch-roofed houses • You can go inside • Visitor center showing how they are made • In a beautiful park
This indoor hot spring theme park looks like an Edo-era village!
Looks like an Edo Era town • Everyone wears yukata (cotton kimono) • Hot spring baths from all over Japan • Foot bath stream • Sand bath • Foot nibbling fish • Ninja star throwing, archery & blow darts
Sumo wrestlers & incredible models of ye olde Tokyo
Even when there’s not a sumo tournament to watch, sumo wrestlers can be seen in the streets of this neighborhood and at the train station • The Edo-Tokyo Museum has amazing models & life-sized dioramas of everyday life in samurai era Tokyo and how it changed after Japan opened to the west • Incredible detailed models of cities and towns • Full-scale rooms showing how people lived
History comes alive – see the actual burial place of the legendary 47 ronin
Read a novel set in Tokyo…