Nihonbashi, (literally ‘Japan Bridge’) is the city’s geographic center, just west of Tokyo Station, and a business and commercial district with history dating back to the era of the shogun. Its name comes from the bridge connecting the two sides of Nihonbashi River (super straightforward naming, amiright?). With a Euro-Japanese design, this bridge is the starting point from which all distances from Tokyo are measured.
Where to eat and drink in Nihonbashi
Along with the neighborhood’s history comes some traditional fair. There’s Dashi-chazuke EN in COREDO Nihonbashi, which serves a traditional Japanese dish known as chazuke at almost fast-food-level speed. Komoro Soba and Yoshi Soba are two solid noodle options. If you want to try a tea ceremony, “The Way of Tea” (#3 of this article) at Coredo Muromachi is a slightly pricey but in-depth experience. A pretty unusual but tasty dining option we’ve found is curry soup at Dominica. For more info on the restaurant and the dish, see our full article (Dominica’s first on the list)
What to do in Nihonbashi
This is a great place to go on an architecture-appreciation walk. Buildings like the Bank of Japan, Mitsukoshi Department Store, and Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, are just some examples that show off the mix between urban Japan and classical Western style that makes the neighborhood unique. Browsing at most of the area’s art galleries is also free. And if going on foot isn’t ideal, try a cruise on the Nihonbashi River, Sumida River, or through Tokyo Bay. They all start from a dock just a few minutes from both Mitsukoshimae Station and Nihonbashi Station.
As we mentioned before, this part of Tokyo’s got history, so many old shops have run their businesses here for ages (300+ years for some). They are definitely worth a peek if you want a taste of real classy Japanese culture. You can find lots of traditional Japanese sweets, ingredients, and snacks sold around here. Other traditional goods include cut glass items and kimono, though they do have a high price tag. But Nihonbashi still blends the old with the new, with several stationary/craft shops and huge department stores.
Where to stay in Nihonbashi
With it’s prime location, you can bet there are some good accommodations in the area that are still budget-friendly. We like the two capsule hotels Tokyo Nihonbashi Bay Hotel and Nihonbashi Muromachi Bay Hotel, and the more standard lodging of Sotetsu Fresa Inn. There’s also a Super Hotel in Nihonbashi, and as the name implies, it’s a pretty super deal.
Tours and Experiences
A great way to explore the neighborhood at your own pace is with an self-guided audio tour. This tour from Hello Tours takes you on a walk to some of the areas oldest snack shops and vendors of traditional Japanese crafts.