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Yanaka Town Food Tour: A Journey Through Old Tokyo

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Activity Schedule

  • When does it run?

    Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays

  • Duration

    3 hours

  • Start time

    10:30am

  • Meeting Point

    Make your way to the front of Coffee Room Renoir Nippori (next to 7/11)Tokyo Taito-ku Yanaka 7-20-6 

    (Exit from the North Gate to the West Exit, the cafe is next to a 7/11).


    Here you’ll find your guide and group waiting for you. Do your best to arrive at the meeting point 20 minutes early to make sure there’s no last-minute rush.

Key Highlights

  • See Tokyo’s quiet(er) side: Traditional teahouses, wooden temples, charming street scenes and old shop fronts - Yanaka offers a rare picture of the city before the skyscrapers
  • Teariffic: Partake in a traditional tea ceremony, a long-held Japanese ritual that goes back centuries
  • The ultimate line-up: Break bread at humble, local venues serving up delicious old-school Japanese bites
  • Shop ‘til you drop: Yanaka’s main drag offers plenty of opportunities to nab some handcrafted knick-knacks, homewares and designer clothes

Overview

When we think of Tokyo, quiet wouldn’t be the first descriptor that comes to mind. But amid the chaotic crossings and bright lights of the big city, there are pockets that still offer the peace and quiet of old – you just have to know where to look. For everyone who doesn’t, there’s this tour through Tokyo’s charming neighbourhood of Yanaka, one of the few villages in the city that hasn’t actually changed all that much through the decades. On this three-hour jaunt, you’ll wander through the tiny streets of old Tokyo, taste the traditional cuisines and street foods that remain popular here, and learn of (and shop!) the local craft scene, where artists create and sell their textiles, ink prints, wood carvings, stationery, pottery and jewellery from their hundred-year-old shop fronts. You and the group will also partake in a local tea ceremony: a gentle Japanese tradition steeped in cultural significance, where tea is prepared and taken just as it was centuries upon centuries ago. All in all, this tour is a delightful change of pace for weary travellers and those looking to learn more about Tokyo’s rich history and culture.

About your guide

If you’re into Japanese food, and are keen to learn the stories behind the dishes too, a tour with Arigato Japan Food Tours is more than a safe bet. The teams’ experience goes well beyond your average tour guide – their knowledge of the cuisine, culture and local traditions is second to none. The best part? They’ll leave you with some epic restaurant recommendations, too.

Here’s the plan…

You’ll meet your local guide and group in front of the Coffee Room Renoir Nippori, ready to explore one of Tokyo’s traditional treasures. When it comes to buildings at least, the Japanese often favour the new, over than the old. That’s why this tour - covering the historic neighbourhood of Yanaka - is so special: it’s one of the few experiences in the city that explores an area completely rich in history and local charm.

From here on in, you’ll be in the safe hands of your expert guide. They’ll walk you through the streets and laneways that make up Yanaka, pointing out the temples and buildings of note and explaining more about life for the locals here. They’ll take you to their favourite haunts - the art galleries, shops and market stalls that reflect the artisan spirit of the area. Between shops, your guide will pick up some of the local snacks for you to taste. After a good explore, you’ll stop at a restaurant for a regional lunch from the South of Japan, Kyushu. Everything from the produce to the spices are from and/or inspired by the Kyushu area, so the lunch offers a welcome change from the standard dishes you’ll probably have tried in Tokyo.

You’ll end the tour on a high, with a traditional tea ceremony quietly run on the top floor of an antiques dealer. Partaking in a traditional tea ceremony is an essential for visitors to Japan, and your tour guide will fill you in on all aspects of the ceremony - its history, importance to the culture, and the meanings behind each and every practice.

Note: In case there are any dietary issues, restrictions, food allergies or cross contact (nuts, shellfish - molluscs and crustaceans, ocean/sea fishes, gluten, soy and/or lactose intolerance) that you are concerned about, don’t forget to mention them clearly in our Special Requests section while booking the tour. If this is not enough, you can always give us a call or drop us an email and we will connect with you at the earliest possible. Additionally, please make sure, in scenarios like this, that you try and make the booking along with all your dietary requests as much prior to the tour as possible. We try our best to accommodate all our customers’ health requests to the best of our abilities (after all, health is wealth) but please understand that it might not be possible to accommodate last-minute requests - especially with food, as they require preparations in advance.

Itinerary

Like to look back? Or at least step back in time and discover the delights of a time long past. Then this tour to the Yanaka district is the place to go, get ready to explore, taste and be inspired. There are many hidden gems to uncover.
With your local guide, you are going to step back in time and explore the charming area of Yanaka. This was an area famous as an artisan town where many famous writers and visual artists lived. You’ll undoubtedly feel the spirit as you stroll down the tiny side streets. Want to stop to shop or try the local snacks. Of course, you can. With a regional style lunch and to end the tour, a traditional tea ceremony, it makes for the perfect conclusion. An ideal tour to see a Tokyo beyond its modern stylings.
You’ve tried local dishes, experienced a tea ceremony and explored the small local shops, you'll soon discover this is the perfect ‘get to know’ Tokyo tour.

Inclusions

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Ceremonial Wagashi (traditional japanese dessert) tea experience
  • Six food stops including a variety of tasty local snacks
  • Lunch in a popular Yanaka restaurant (who’s hungry?)
  • Visits to Yanaka’s shops

Exclusions

  • Personal expenses (could come in handy)
  • Transfers (hotel pick-up can be arranged for an additional fee, by the way)
  • Tips (get that warm, fuzzy feeling)

Please note

The confirmation voucher includes Arigato Japan Food Tour’s contact details. They’re a nice bunch, and will happily answer any logistical questions you may have. Please give them a call at least 24 hours before your organised activity to reconfirm the final details.

In case there are any dietary issues, restrictions, food allergies or cross contact (nuts, shellfish - molluscs and crustaceans, ocean/sea fishes, gluten, soy and/or lactose intolerance) that you are concerned about, don’t forget to mention them clearly in our Special Requests section while booking the tour. If this is not enough, you can always give us a call or drop us an email and we will connect with you at the earliest possible. Additionally, please make sure, in scenarios like this, that you try and make the booking along with all your dietary requests as much prior to the tour as possible. We try our best to accommodate all our customers’ health requests to the best of our abilities (after all, health is wealth) but please understand that it might not be possible to accommodate last-minute requests - especially with food, as they require preparations in advance.

Good news! This tour is for everyone - even babies.

Wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella if necessary, you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking on this tour and the show goes on rain or shine.

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