Tokyo's Imperial Palace & Nihonbashi Tour

1 Rating
  • Live Guide
  • E-Ticket
  • 4 hr

Visit Japan’s Imperial Palace, the home of the Emperor and the former site of Edo Castle, the political center of Japan until the mid-19th century. Then explore the commercial district of Nihonbashi, where you can visit long-established stores in business for over 400 years and experience hands-on traditional activities like papermaking. Highlights of this tour: ◆ Visit the Imperial Palace, the home of Japan’s Imperial Family ◆ Tour the palace's East Gardens and see beautiful seasonal flowers and the ruins of Edo Castle ◆ Walk through historical Nihonbashi, Japan’s major commercial district for over 400 years ◆ Try delicious dashi soup stock at a 300-year-old business ◆ Observe how Japanese seaweed is roasted at another historical establishment ◆ Try for yourself Japanese knife sharpening ◆ Make washi, traditional Japanese paper, at a centuries-old paper store ◆ Taste a variety of sake at Toyama-kan prefectural store

Itinerary Details

Operated by: True Japan Tour

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Imperial Palace

To begin your tour, you will walk a beautiful ginkgo tree-lined avenue to the Imperial Palace. Once you reach the palace, you will walk its vast grounds, which are dotted with cherry and pine trees and enclosed by deep, formidable moats. The palace buildings themselves are typically closed to visitors, but there is still plenty to explore on the palace outskirts. The most famous of these sights is the Nijubashi bridge, a double bridge that forms the entrance to the palace’s inner grounds. Together with the towering Sakuradamon Gate beside it, the view has long been considered one of the most iconic in Tokyo.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace (Edo Castle Ruin)

After exploring the outer grounds, you will walk through Otemon Gate into the Imperial Palace’s East Gardens. This massive gate was once the main entrance to Edo Castle, the home of the Tokugawa shoguns, who ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the city's political center from the early 17th to the 19th century. In the gardens, you will visit the old ruins and foundations of the castle that remain, while learning about the fascinating politics and culture of the time. In the gardens’ outer ring, you can also walk through a serene Japanese garden, where seasonal flowers like camellia, iris, and hydrangea can be enjoyed depending on the time of year.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Nihonbashi

A short journey from the palace will then take you to Nihonbashi, a major commercial district and the start of Japan’s national highway network since the early seventeenth century. For hundreds of years, this was Japan’s main commercial area and it has long been packed with shops, roads, and waterways that connect trade throughout the country. Many of these stores still remain today, and as you tour the area, you will visit some of them.

Duration: 3 hour

Stop At:

A short walk will then take you to Ninben dashi store. Dashi is traditional Japanese soup stock and a mainstay in Japanese cooking from hotpot dishes to noodle soups. At the store, you will learn how dashi is made and even have a little of some freshly-made dashi to try. Ninben has been in business for over 300 years, so they have been perfecting their dashi recipe for quite some time!

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At:

Next, you will visit Yamamoto Nori, a nori seaweed producer that has been in business since 1849. At the store, you will be able to see a variety of different nori seaweeds on offer and watch as the staff roast the nori sheets ready to sell.

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At:

Your next stop on the tour will be Kiya, a traditional Japanese knife store founded in 1792. The store is home to hundreds of different utensils from traditional Japanese knives to more modern European styles. As part of the tour, the staff will also teach you how to sharpen a knife in the traditional fashion, and you will learn about the history of Japanese knives and swords.

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At:

After Kiya, you will head to Ozu Washu Japanese paper store. Here, as well as learning about and seeing all the various different types of Japanese paper and stationery items, you will also make a sheet of washi, traditional Japanese paper. Washi contains strong fibers from the paper mulberry mush, so it is typically thicker and more textured than Western paper. As a result, washi is typically patterned, and as part of the experience, you will be able to make a pattern to decorate your handmade paper.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At:

Finally, to finish the tour on a relaxing note you will visit the prefectural store of Toyama prefecture. All items sold here hail from Toyama, a coastal prefecture on the Sea of Japan. At the store, you can see a variety of products not typically sold in Tokyo, and then enjoy a delicious sake tasting experience.

Duration: 30 minutes
This site uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse you agree to the use of cookies. Learn more in our Privacy Policy.