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Exploring Tokyo's Backstreets

Exploring Tokyo's Backstreets

Tokyo’s backstreets teem with local shops, traditional bars and restaurants, inconspicuous shrines and temples, and Tokyoites going about their daily lives—it’s a side of the city every visitor should experience. Here are some of the best places to do so.

Asakusa

Step back into old Japan with a stroll through the backstreets of Asakusa. This neighborhood on the banks of the Sumida-gawa is dotted with soba and tempura shops, Buddhist shrines, artisan boutiques, and Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji Temple. 

Harajuku

Famous for its extreme youth fashion, Harajuku’s back streets are filled with hidden gems. In these alleys, known as ura Harajuku or simply ura Hara for short, you’ll find quirky galleries, cozy cafes, vintage clothing shops, and even a tarot fortune teller.

Yanesen

The maze-like streets of the three neighborhoods collectively known as Yanesen (Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi) offer a glimpse of retro Tokyo, where highlights include a sweet shop dating back to 1912, a century-old bamboo shop, soba noodle stands, and small shops selling beckoning cat-related items.

Shinjuku

Best known as Tokyo’s red light entertainment district, Shinjuku is also home to one of the city’s best food-centric back alleys, Omoide Yokocho. Nicknamed Memory Lake or Piss Alley depending on who you ask, this narrow lane is lined with stalls selling yakitori skewers to wash down with sake and beer. It’s a lively nighttime destination for great food.

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2 Tours and Activities

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Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Small Group or Private Tour

Tokyo by Night: Japanese Food Small Group or Private Tour

star-4.5
475
Combine the cultural delights and delectable bites of Tokyo on this 3-hour food tour of Japan’s capital. Accompanied by a guide, delve into the culinary scene of the city by visiting several popular bars and restaurants. Sample local specialties like succulent grilled meat skewers, sweet cakes and refreshing sake. Deepen your knowledge of Japanese culinary and cultural traditions and enjoy personalized attention from your guide on this small-group tour limited to 12 people.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$127.38
Price varies by group size
From
$127.38
Price varies by group size

Walking Food Tour in Yurakucho, Shimbashi and Ginza

Walking Food Tour in Yurakucho, Shimbashi and Ginza

star-4.5
143
Explore the streets of Tokyo during an evening food walking tour with an expert guide. Sample yakitori accompanied by drinks and enjoy food tastings plus dessert at popular and traditional venues. Start amid Yurakucho’s rustic charm, continue on to modern Ginza, and finish your tour among a maze of local eateries in Shimbashi.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$198.34
From
$198.34