Article by Tomokol, originally published on Deep Japan
Learn the custom of a shrine as well as Japanese traditional products
As depicted in some of Ukiyoe, former fish market of Tokyo had been situated in Nihonbashi. So in the area where the fish market had been, which is next to Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi department (the flagship store), we can see some clues of the history. Some shops, called “Shinise” (long-established shop in Japanese), are still based on Nihonbashi and sell Japanese traditional products such as Japanese cooking knife or katsuobushi (dried bonito), even after the fish market has been moved to Tsukiji.
Nowadays, some of such Shinise shops are accommodated in COREDO Muromachi, one of the newest shopping complex in Tokyo.
Making the most use of such historical background, Nihonbashi Information Center proudly offers 2 walking tours in English on every Saturday as an opportunity to introduce such Japanese traditional culture and the history of Nihonbashi.
The first one is “Cultural Experience Tour” departing late morning on every Saturday. On the walking tour, you will visit Fukutoku Shrine, whose original one was built over a thousand years ago and was just recently re-built. There your English speaking guide will introduce you the custom of Shrine visit as well as what each of elements found at the Shrine represents. Cultural Experience Tour will also visit some shops in COREDO Muromachi. You will find Japanese traditional products which having been used for over centuries in Japanese daily life. For example, huge collection of hocho (Japanese cooking knifes) and demonstration of knife sharpening at Kiya, drid bonito (katsuobushi) which is one of the most important ingredient in Japanese cuisine etc.
Another tour is called “Best of Japan Gourmet Tour” starting every Saturday afternoon. There you will visit 10 shops related food and drink such as kelp, Japanese sweets, sea urchin, sake etc in COREDO Muromachi. At most of these shops, you will have opportunities to try the food or any kind of hands-on experiences.
By taking both walking tours on Saturday, you can spend a half day to become “a specialist” of Japanese traditional customs and products in Nihonbashi.
For more information and how to register these tours, please check e-brochure from link below. To participate in the walking tours, advance reservation is required.
Cultural Experience Tour
Best of Japan Gourmet Tour
By the way, Nihonbashi Information Center not only organizes those walking tour to international visitors but also provides tourist information service in several different languages. If you can’t have a chance to take part in the walking tour, at least visit the Information Center and get some tips, hopefully in your familiar language, to enjoy walking around the former fish market area, Nihonbashi.
Otherwise at COREDO Muromachi, find a QR code at each shop. With your smartphone (and internet access), through the QR code, you can access to information about a “Shinise” shop, such as history, main products, how to make etc.
URL for Nihonbashi Information Center
*Tomokol is the I am the owner of About Food in Japan blog http://aboutfoodinjapan.weblogs.jp
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