Nihonbashi, located on the eastern side of Tokyo, is one of popular shopping sites to both Japanese locals and tourists. Nihonbashi was one of the biggest commerce districts during Edo period, from early 17th Century to late 19th Century. Because of that, many great historical shops are still left in Nihonbashi, continuing for generations and generations, and most of them for more than 100 years.
“Nihonbashi Information Center”, the tourist information located on the B1 floor of the shopping mall COREDO Muromachi 1, provides tourist information and many pamphlets about the area. I found a map introducing historical shops in Nihonbashi area.
Here is my historical shopping journey on the day.
Start: Nihonbashi Dashi Bar (日本橋だし場)
When I went up the escalator from B1 floor to 1st floor, I saw people gathering at a shop. This shop was “Ninben”. Ninben is a dashi (Japanese broth) shop continuing more than 300 years. There are several branches in Japan, but this branch of Ninben offers “Dashi Bar”, where you can enjoy a cup of dashi soup and some small snacks from 100 yen.
I had a cup of Katsuo dashi (bonito dashi) and another cup of Awase dashi (mixed dashi, bonito and seaweed) and also a pork bun.
There are salt and soy sauce on the table, so you can add some flavors to enjoy the difference. Both of the soups were delicate, and since it was a chilly day, they warmed up my body.
1. Nihonbashi Saruya (日本橋さるや)
Saruya, to me, was very interesting because this is the only shop in Japan which is specialized in manufacturing and selling toothpick!
Even though the shop specializes in toothpicks, the shop was established in 1704, which means it also continues for more than 300 years! Their toothpicks are all handmade. The website says that the only amount they can produce per day is only 400 pieces. They produce not only the toothpicks itself. Wooden boxes to put toothpicks in are various. Especially the case with the zodiac of the year is produced on every new year and are extremely cute.
They can put your names on the case. Need to pre-order a week ago.
2. YUBENDO (有便堂)
Yubendo is a shop specializes in calligraphy equipment but also has Japanese style stationaries made from washi, Japanese paper. The shop was established in 1912 and continues for more than 100 years.
The shop was pretty small but had lots of cute items. Especially they had a wide selection of letter related items, such as letter pads and envelopes and cards. I bought some tiny envelopes and small origami paper box with stickers for myself.
It was very fun to explore washi paper products. They also had paint materials for Japanese paintings, some of them seemed very rare.
3. Yagicho Honten (八木長本店)
Yagicho is another dashi shop. Yagicho continues for more than 270 years in Nihonbashi, selling dashi related products such as bonito flakes and dried fish.
The shop’s best product for souvenirs is bonito crackers. It is an easy way to taste the flavor of their bonito. Another product I found good is their dashi starter set. They had a package of bonito flakes, seaweed, and other dashi materials so that beginners can easily experience making a delicious dashi stock at home.
4. Kuroeya (黒江屋)
Kuroeya is the shop sells lacquer ware from all over Japan. The shop was established in 1689. The shop was a bit hard to find because it was on the second floor of the building looks like merely an office building.
Once you enter the store on the third floor, you will be surprised at their variation of lacquer products; from traditional to modern lacquer goods, such as Japanese soup bowls to iPhone case! I found the hand mirror made of lacquer and thought it was very cute.
Be careful that usually Kuroeya shop is closed on weekends.
5. Eitaro Sohonpo (榮太樓總本舗)
Eitaro Sohonpo is a Japanese sweets and snack shop established in 1857. They have branches all over Tokyo such as in major department stores, but this Nihonbashi is the main branch.
The cafe by the shop offers Japanese sweets for eat-ins such as Anmitsu and matcha ice cream.
Their triangular candy called “Umeboshi-Ame” is the signature product. This recipe is continued since Edo period. I bought a box of this candy and tasted it, very natural sugar flavor felt very good.
6. Haibara (榛原)
Haibara is another specialty shop about Japanese papers. The shop looks more modern than Yubendo, and products they have are also have somewhat modern taste, leaving traditional feeling mixed together.
They have various products, from letters to postcards, envelopes, coasters, or small objects made from Japanese paper washi. I am sure you will find something you get interested here.
Bonus: A little break with Japanese sweets at Yamamotoyama (山本山)
I walked pretty much, so before I go home, I stopped by a cafe in Yamamotoyama. Yamamotoyama is known for nori (dried seaweed) and Japanese tea, especially sencha green tea. This place is not only perfect for shopping some green tea leaves or nori for your souvenir, but also in their in-store cafe, you get to taste various types of Japanese sencha green tea with Japanese sweets.
Why don’t you try different tea leaves and find your favorite to take home with?
Nihonbashi Dashi Bar (日本橋だし場)
Address: COREDO Muromachi 1, 1st floor, 2-2-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Nihonbashi Information Center
Address: COREDO Muromachi 1 B1 floor, 2-2-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Address: 1-12-5, Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.nihonbashi-saruya.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-6-6, Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.yubendo.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-7-2, Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.yagicho-honten.jp/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 2F Kuroeya Kokubu Bldg., 1-2-6, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Address: 1-2-5, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.eitaro.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-7-1 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Tokyo Nihombashi Tower
Address: 2 Chome-10-2 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo