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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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