Let’s stroll around town in a Kimono! Ningyo Town and its traditional Japanese culture.

The Tadaima Japan Editorial Team visited Ningyo-cho with K, who was visiting Japan for the very first time. From a healthy tofu lunch, a relaxing park to enjoy the cherry blossoms, to eating foods at Amazake Yokocho Street, I’ll show you a recommended route for Ningyo-cho.

2017-04-21   Travel Destinations, Tokyo,

ningyocho


Contents

The Town of Actors
A Tofu restaurant that dates back to 1907!
Wear a Kimono
Let’s visit popular tourist areas and shrines in Ningyo-cho!
Let’s go pray at a shrine in a kimono!
Recommended sweets in Ningyo-cho!
Finally, we had Hamacho Yabu Soba, the local delicacy!

Photos by Shunka Toyama

The Town of Actors

Ningyo-cho is located in Nihonbashi in central Tokyo. Like each city in Japan, Ningyo-cho also has its own unique history. Amazake Yokocho is a street of traditional craft shops and old restaurants where you can experience a traditional atmosphere. I also recommend the tour route called the “7 Deities of Good Luck”. On this route, you can visit 8 different shrines where 7 gods are enshrined. It is a 2-hour walking tour, but it is definitely worth your time! The 7 Deities of Good Luck are the 7 gods that are believed to bring fortune in Japan. Do you want to improve your luck?

Ningyo-cho

A Tofu restaurant that dates back to 1907!

Before strolling around the town, we dropped by a tofu restaurant called Futaba for lunch. For those who can’t speak Japanese, do not worry! There are many pictures in the menu so you can easily point at what you’d like to order. Do keep in mind that this is a smoke-free restaurant.

Tofu Restaurant

Tofu Restaurant

Tofu Restaurant

 Tofu Restaurant
Futaba special(1,000 yen)※If you add 100yen, you can change from rice to mixed grains.

 

Futaba special(1,000 yen)※If you add 100yen, you can change from rice to mixed grains.
Meat Tofu Teishoku(850yen)※If you add 100yen, you can change from rice to mixed grains.

 

The “Futaba Special” has 9 different varieties of dishes!

Meat Tofu set has stewed beef on firm tofu with a sweet soy sauce. It’s really tasty, and the smooth texture of tofu really goes well with sesame.

Tofu dish
Meat Tofu

 

Tofu dish
Sesame Tofu

Why not try some original, healthy tofu dishes?

●Tofu restaurant Futaba

Access:2 min. by foot from Toei Asakusa line Ningyo-cho / Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line Suitenguumae station
Hours:11:00~14:00(last order 13:40)/17:00-22:30(last order 21:30)
Closed on:Saturdays, Sundasy and National Holidays(Open on Saturdays and National holidays during lunchtime only)
Address:Futaba building 2F, 2-4-9 Ningyo-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

 

Wear a Kimono

Let’s try on a kimono!

Kimono shop

You can try on a kimono for only 5,000 yen on weekdays, or 7,000 yen on weekends at “Isyo-Rakuya! Please see detail for their plans here (Japanese text only) if you’re interested.

Kimono shop

If you don’t wear kimono on a daily basis, you might feel that it’s too tight. However, Rakuya will dress you so you’re more relaxed and you won’t feel as if you’re suffocating. The name, “Rakuya” actually comes from the Japanese word “raku”, which means relaxing.
K chose her favorite kimono with the help of the clerk and tried on a few in front of the mirror.

Wearing kimono

Wearing kimono

Once you decide on which kimono you want, the staff will quickly dress you!

Wearing kimono

After putting on the kimono, you will choose an obi. You can choose from a variety of colors and patterns.

Wearing kimono

Once you have your obi tied, you’ll choose an obi-age and obi-shime. At this point, you’re almost finished.

Wearing kimono

Wearing kimono

You can also choose a handbag at the very end to complete your outfit!
Obi:A belt to hold kimono.
Obi-age:A tool to hold kimono.
Obi-shime:A tool to hold obi.

Wearing kimono

Wearing kimono

●Isho-Rakuya

Access:2 min. by foot from Toei Asakusa line Ningyo-cho / Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line Suitenguumae station
Hours:11:00~19:00(You need to return the kimono by 18:30) Closed on Wednesdays
Address:Toyo-hamamcho building, 2-5-1 Hamacho, Nihonbashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

 

Let’s visit popular tourist areas and shrines in Ningyo-cho!

To begin our walk, let’s first take s picture in front of the famous stone statue! The vividly colored kimono goes well with the cherry blossoms!

Taking photos next to Cherry blossoms

Hamacho Park is located very close to the shop. There were a lot of cherry blossoms and weeping cherry trees in bloom.

Taking a photo next to Cherry blossoms

Walking around

Walking around

You might be able to see the spaceship-like Yakata-bune boats if you’re lucky!

Sumida-gawa river

Yakatabune boat:A Japanese boat where you can enjoy drinking and eating.

Sumidagawa River

Let’s go pray at a shrine in a kimono!

We visited Kasama Inari Shrine where 7 deities of good fortune are enshrined!
We taught her how to pray, it was her first time and she did it very well!

Praying at the shrine

Praying at the shrine

Praying at the shrine

K also tried the consulting oracle (200 yen), and coincidentally, pulled “Jurojin”, a god that is enshrined here!
Oracle or omikuji:Fortune telling at a Shrine or Temple

Praying at the shrine

Praying at the shrine

Praying at the shrine

Praying at the shrine

While walking around, we found a narrow street by the Daikannon-ji Temple. If you walk there in a kimono, you will feel that you traveled back to the good old days of Japan!

Strolling
Two mechanical clock towers under the theme of “Rakugo” and “Firemen, or hikeshi”, are also must sees. The dolls move between 11am and 7pm on the hour, so please don’t miss that moment!

Rakugo:A traditional comedy from 1623 in Japan
Hikeshi:Firemen in the Edo Period

Walking Around

Recommended sweets in Ningyo-cho!

If you visit Ningyo-cho, don’t forget to try their sweets!
The most famous one is called “ningyo-yaki”. It literally means “doll bakes”, and is basically small donuts with anko (sweet red bean) inside. You will feel that you can eat them endlessly, because they’re so good!

035

Ningyo-yaki
Ningyo-yaki (500 yen for 5 pieces)

●Ningyo-yaki Honpo Itakura-ya

Access:1 min. by foot from Toei Asakusa line Ningyo-cho / Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line Suitenguumae station
Hours:9:00~until their stock ids sold out. (No regular holiday)
Address: 2-4-2 Ningyo-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

After eating sweets, we went to Amazaka Yokocho street. Traditional Japanese Amazake are sold at the popular tofu shop, Futaba.

Futaba

The most popular pastries are Jumbo Ganmo (650yen) and Tofu donuts (310 yen for 3 and 500 yen for 5).
Ganmo:Deep fried mashed tofu with carrots, renkon, and gobo.

Futaba

Futaba

Futaba

「Amazake(200 yen for a cup. It’s a not alcoholic drink)」

Amazake

●Tofu Futaba

Access:1 min. walk from Hibiya Line Ningyo-cho Exit 2
Hours:Monday to Saturday 7:00-19:00/Sundays 10:00-18:00
Address: 2-4-9-1F Ningyo cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

If there’s one thing you can’t miss in Amazake yokocho, it’s Yanagiya’s Taiyaki! There were so many people waiting in front of the shop. It’s a treasure, even for the locals!

Taiyaki

You can see how they cook taiyaki.

Taiyaki

She had Taiyaki for the first time, and looked so happy!
The Taiyaki has a crispy crust and the red bean filling inside was so moist.

Taiyaki

●Yanagiya

Access:2 min. from hibiya Line Ningyo-cho Exit A1
Hours:12:30-18:00 Closed on Sundays and National Holidays
Address: 2-11-3 Ningyocho, Nihyonbashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

 

Finally, we had Hamacho Yabu Soba, the local delicacy!

Soba shop

There were already many customers eating soba inside the shop. Once our soba arrived, we screamed with joy! 「Norikake Seiro(770yen)」

Soba shop

K finished her noodles very quickly! Was it enough for her? I wonder…
The noodles have a thin texture and were really good. The smell of noodles was genuine too.

Soba shop

To wrap it up, we ordered Soba-yu. We fully enjoyed its taste and smell.

Seiro-soba: Soba on bamboo or wooden steamer. It’s cold soba.

Soba-yu:Hot water to pour into the soba sauce. You drink it after finishing the soba, as a soup.

●Hamacho Yabu Soba

Access:5 min. from hibiya Line Ningyo-cho Exit A1
Hours:11:30~19:30(national holidays 11:30~18:00)
Closed:Sunday and the 4th Saturday of each month
Address:2-5-3 Ningyocho, Nihyonbashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

We went back to Rakuya again at 18:30, and returned the kimono. Hamacho Yabu soba is actually next to Rakuya.
We all really enjoyed walking around and we were talking about our day in Ningyocho.
Ningyocho is easily accessible from any major terminal, and it has so much to offer! It is in the middle of Tokyo and has so many attractions of Japan. We kind of felt we were lucky to experience such hidden attractions in Tokyo.

Strolling

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AUTHOR

koume

koume

Hi, I am Koume. I’m originally from Fukuoka and currently living in Tokyo. I have lived in Australia, the Philippines, and Cambodia for several years. Through my life abroad, I have rediscovered the beauty of Japan. I hope my articles will be a helpful resource for both Japanese and foreign visitors.