If you would like to experience authentic, off-the-beaten-path Japanese culture, this tour is for you! As a local, I would like to show you what the real Tokyo looks like. We will visit an old neighborhood called Shibamata in the northeastern edge of the city; it is like a small Asakusa, but quieter, more authentic and less well-known among foreign tourists. At the station, you will meet a statue of Tora san, the main character of a very successful 1960s film series set in Shibamata, and I will tell you what this small town means to Japanese people from that generation. We will follow an old-style market street to reach the Taishakuten temple, the symbol of this area, which was established in 1629. I will explain the basics of Japanese spirituality, including the differences between Buddhism and Shinto, as well as about this temple in particular. At the temple we will see intricate wooden carvings, as well as a Japanese garden. We will then go back to the market street to try some local food including Dango, sweet rice dumplings. We will finish our tour with a visit to a retro toy and sweets shop to have a glimpse of popular culture after the war. The tour takes one to two hours, which can easily fit into your busy day!
I have degrees in cultural heritage protection and work for a nature conservation foundation. I like temples and shrines and have visited old cities such as Kyoto many times. After spending one and a half years in Europe, I am once again fascinated by Japanese culture. I explore Tokyo in my free time and I would like to share it with other people who wish to experience the real life and cultural history of Japan.
The statues of famous film characters at Shibamata station, the market street (sweets, food ingredients, retro goods) , the Taishakuten temple (the wooden carvings and a Japanese garden)
Tokyo old neighborhood walk with a local