In some part of Tokyo, you’re still able to see streets lined with old houses. These days, ‘Yanaka Ginza’ is a popular destination among foreign visitoers for its retro shopping street. This article, which consists of 2 parts, suggests an ideal itinerary to experience ‘Yanaka Ginza’.

A half day model eating tour to enjoy fully Yanaka Ginza ~a nostalgic town of the good old days~ Part 1

Do you know the place call “Yanesen” in Tokyo? It’s a traditional old town where you can feel and experience a snazzy but not classy the good old days of Tokyo. Yanasen is the abbreviation of three districts: Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi. There is a little shopping street call “Yanaka Ginza” in Yanaka, so let’s find out this cool area and enjoy getting some bites and a bit of shopping as well!

Today, I’m going to show the model sightseeing course of Yanasen which you can complete in three hours!

Here is a little advice for the tour. Please do not take a breakfast as you’re going to get a lot of food along the way!

10:00 starting from the north exit of JR Nippori Station

Let’s start from the north exit of JR Nippori Station.

The famous view point for the train lovers “Shimogoindenbashi”

After passing through the ticket gate, you’ll see a bridge call Shimogoindenbashi in front of you. This is the famous view spot for the people who likes trains! Not only local JR line is passing, there are many kinds of trains and Shinkansen (bullet train) passing every day.

Temples and Sweet Shops on the way to Yanaka Ginza!

After crossing Shimogoindenbashi towards to the left, then walk straight about five minutes, you’ll arrive at Yanaka Ginza. But on the way, there are fancy little shops and temples, so don’t miss them.

Yanaka Senbei

Yanaka Senbei is the famous and traditional rice cracker (Osenbei) shop. Osenbei is a traditional Japanese snacks which are made from grilled beaten boiled rice. Usually it’s a soy sauce taste and most of them are salty.

You can buy them from one sheet, so give it a try!


Now, let’s pop into Kyoouji temple. From Yanaka senbei, walk towards to Yanaka Ginza and across the crossroad, then you’ll find a temple Kyoouji on your right. It’s a very small but known as the temple which has some bullets hole on the walls that were from the conflict of the end of Edo period.

Yanaka Matsunoya

A shop where sells daily necessities.

There are sandals made of Japanese textiles,

Here are some coin purses and a lot of cool stuffs!

There are also some goods made from Japanese leathers.

10:30 Arrived at Yanaka Ginza! Let’s go down Yuuyake DanDan.

After leaving Yanaka Matsunoya, let’s go down to Yuuyake DanDan stairs and this is the starting point of Yanaka Ginza.

Let’s get a breakfast at authentic squid pancake shop ”Yakiya” !

I’m going to get Ikayaki (squid pancake) here. Unfortunately they open only Saturday and Sunday.

Yakiya ~squid pancake shop~

Ikayaki is Osaka’s noted food which is now quite popular there. It’s like a pancake which is made of mixed flour with a chopped squid and finishs with sweet sauce on top. The taste is like Okonomiyaki but the texture is puffier.

The plane Ikayaki (squid pancake) is ¥200. You can add cheese or meat to create your own taste!

You can sit and eat them here but remember, this is an eating tour so take your bites and let’s move on to the next shop.

11:00 Experience an authentic Kakigori (shaved ice) at popular “Himitsudo”

The next shop is Kakigori (shaved ice) shop “Himitsudo”. The shop is located in a bit secluded place from Yanaka Ginza Street.

Kakigori is the shaved ice or crushed ice, the popular Japanese summer dessert, flavored with sweetened syrup on top. If you come to “Himitsudo” around 3pm, you may have to wait for 3 hours to get authentic shaved ice… sounds crazy but it’s true… but if you come this early, you can get it in 15 minutes for sure. I think it’s a good idea having your Ikayaki while waiting in the queue (line).


When you get inside the shop, you’ll see the stuffs are making shaved ice really up close. Their move is efficient and fast. It reminds me a traditional Japanese artisan who works in a factory or something. It was really interesting.

This is the famous Himitsudo’s Kakigori (shaved ice)! The most popular flavour is a Strawberry Milk. It comes with a hot tea, it’s thoughtful that not to make you cold after having some ice.

At the end, the ice is already melted like a milk shakes so I used a straw to finish them.


11:45 Window shopping in Yanaka Ginza

Now, let’s get back to the main street and take a walk to help our food to settle.

The bamboo ware shop.

There are stalls selling post cards and paper crafts.

These are paper crafts from Kyoto’s Fushimi Shrine! It’s so cute!!

These are called Noshi Bukuro and it’s the envelope to put some money in as a celebration gift. It’s a modest way to give the money like that, a traditional Japanese custom.

This is the shop makes you an original stamp with your name in it.They can make in other languages too.


You can choose an illustration from bunch of selections, like penguin and cat etc…

12:15 Now, coming back to an eating tour in “Yanaka Ginza”!

The most popular food in Yanaka is Menchikatsu: It’s a deep fried meat pate with crispy bread crumbs with a special sauce on top.

This shop was introduced by TV programs for couple times, so it’s very popular all year.

There is a long queue all the time.

Nikuno Suzuki (a butcher)

Menchikatsu is great but Korokke (potato cakes) are really popular too. Korokke is a deep fried battered mashed potato mixed with vegetables and meat in it. It’s crunchy outside and fluffy inside, so yummy.

It’s steaming-hot so be careful!

There are sweet potatoes baked in hot pebbles, Yakiimo!

After passing a few stores then here is another Menchicatsu shop! They have also a big queue!!

Nikuno Sato (a butcher)

Here comes a fish shop and they are selling Hotate (scallops) and Kaki (Oysters)’s teriyaki in front! Hey, I can’t eat anymore!

So, this was just a beginning of Yanaka Ginza. Our tour will continue to the next story “A half day model tour to enjoy fully Yanaka Ginza ~a nostalgic town of the good old days~ Part 2".

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