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Off the Beaten Path in Tokyo Ningyocho (Doll Town)

September 1, 2017|Lena
off the beaten path in tokyo ningyocho
For a little over one year, I have been living in Tokyo’s Nihombashi Ningyocho district now. It is the center of Tokyo, but not the center of attention.
Nihombashi, literally translates to Japan Bridge, being the historical central point of Tokyo. It is located conveniently close to Tokyo Station and also Otemachi, the business district where I work. But not only to live but also as a tourist spot Ningyocho has a lot to offer, it is a little bit off the beaten path, but this is what makes it so interesting. You can comfortably spend a couple of hours here and get a mix of old and new Japan in one place.
 
In this post I would like to tell you a little bit about this Tokyo off the beaten path destination. My Ningyocho.

Ningyocho means doll town, and this name comes from the fact that over 400 years ago, when Tokyo was still Edo, and the seat of the Tokugawa Shogunate, it was the place for doll makers, puppeteers and puppet theaters. It is also the birthplace of Kabuki theater during the same period.

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Tokyo Off The Beaten Path Attractions

Mechanical Figure Clock Towers

clock tower ningyocho

One of the attractions along Ningyocho street are the two mechanical figure clock towers. They depict scenes of firefighters and traditional Japanese storytelling. At every full hour, the figurines will start dancing for a couple of minutes, which is a delight for locals and tourists alike.

Small Shrines

shrine ningyocho

Ningyocho is littered with small shrines, they are very unobtrusive and you might just happen upon one if you turn any corner. We have a very cute one right in front of our house, and it is surprising to see how many Japanese come to pray there for just a minute on their way to or from work.

Suitengu Shrine

suitengu shrine ningyocho

Suitengu shrine is a shrine you visit to wish for easy childbirth and if you have other prayers for your children. Because of this there are always a lot of couples and families around on the way to the shrine. And many, many cute Japanese babies.

Foods

For food lovers, Ningyocho has also a lot to offer, even though it is off the beaten path, or maybe because it is off then beaten path. I would like to introduce at this point the restaurants and shops we regularly visit. Those I think you should definitely visit if you get the chance. There are much more so keep your eyes open, and enjoy the different flavors of Ningyocho.

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Traditional Japanese Lunch

japanese restaurant ningyocho
I love to have lunch at a small place called Funachu (鮒忠) . The atmosphere is like a real traditional restaurant and the food is delicious. The portion size is quite a lot but if you want to you can get a large serving of rice. During lunch, it is always crowded with workers but also families and in rare cases some tourists.
japanese restaurant ningyocho

Name: Funachu (鮒忠)

Opening hours: closed on Sundays

Address: 1 Chome-16-1 Nihonbashiningyōchō, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 103-0013

Google Maps

Traditional and Authentic Udon

Taniya Udon Restaurant in Ningyocho Tokyo

At Taniya (谷や) you get the best Udon in all of Tokyo. At least that is my opinion. They make the noodles fresh in the shop and that way they are just so much more delicious. I love the atmosphere and watching the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

Name: Taniya (谷や)

Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Address: Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-15-17, Cuoku, Tokyo 103-0013

Google Maps

Running Sushi with a Train

running sushi restaurant ningyocho

Sushi is something that everyone associates with Japan. And rightly so, there is a sushi restaurant at every corner. In Ningyocho as well. We go to this running sushi restaurant called Kaisen Misakiko (海鮮三崎港) at least once a week. There is nothing traditional about the way sushi is served here. You order from a tablet and the sushi comes to your table on a train. 

Sometimes modern is also nice. Even if you can’t make it to Ningyocho make sure to experience a sushi restaurant like this. They are everywhere.

sushi train ningyocho

Name: Kaisen Misakiko (海鮮三崎港)

Opening hours: 10:45 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Address: 2 Chome-2-4 Nihonbashiningyōchō, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 103-0013

Google Maps

Ningyo Yaki

ningyoyaki
Now back to something you can only get in Ningyocho: Ningyo Yaki.
Small doll shaped cakes filled with red bean paste are a traditional treat of the area. There are a couple of shops with quite a long tradition, one of them is Shigemori no Ningyo Yaki(重盛の人形焼). There are always people lining up to buy some as a souvenir or just a snack to bring home with them.
ningyoyaki

Name: Shigemori Eishindo (重盛永信堂)

Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. closed Sundays

Address: 2 Chome-1-1 Nihonbashiningyōchō, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 103-0013

Google Maps

Sweets Shops

sweets shop ningyocho

There are other sweets shops all around, many with hundreds of years of tradition. They are all beautifully made with great attention to detail. Definitely, have a look in the side streets, many dimly lit shops offer hidden treasures you wouldn’t imagine.

Soft Ice Cream

soft serve tofu ice cream
Last on our list is another desert. Soft serve ice cream. But in flavors, you have never tried before. Trust me.
Tofu milk and Amazake. One on its own or half and half. These flavors are delicious. You can get them for only 300 Yen at the Tofu Shop Futaba (双葉) in Amazake Yokocho.
ningyocho tofu shop

Name: Futaba (双葉)

Opening hours: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Address: 2 Chome-4-9 Nihonbashiningyocho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo-to 103-0013

Google Maps

Amazake Yokocho is a nice and old street with many old shops lining both ways. While licking your ice cream, why not follow along this road and do a little bit of window shopping.

amazakeyokocho ningyocho

I have prepared a little map for you, so you know where everything I have mentioned is located. And I hope you could get a glimpse into the delights of our neighborhood Ningyocho – Tokyo off the beaten path.

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Off the Beaten Path in Tokyo Ningyocho | Doll Town | Tokyo Itinerary | Traditional Tokyo | Historical Tokyo | Explore Tokyo | Travel Japan | Travel Asia | Nihonbashi | #Travel #TravelTips
Ningyocho is an excellent Off the Beaten path destination in Tokyo. There is delicious Japanese Food and Tradition at every corner. Explore Nihombashi Ningyocho using this Japan Guide. #TravelJapan #Offthebeatenpath #WheretogoinTokyo

Lena

Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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