Experience a nostalgic and peaceful side of Tokyo in this 3 hour walking tour in Shinagawa. Convenient for Haneda Airport layovers.
Be transported back to the Edo period (1603-1868) in this three hour guided tour around Shinagawa's old town. This tour is good for people travelling to/from Haneda Airport, or people interested in seeing a historical and peaceful part of Tokyo.
Kita-Shinagawa used to be a thriving post-town, or checkpoint station on the Old Tokaido Road, an ancient road that connected Tokyo with Kyoto. Weary travellers would stop there for rest, replenishment and entertainment. Although most of Shinagawa is now an extremely modern business district, this old town area maintains its historic charm and you can see many original buildings and stores with a history dating back hundreds of years. The area is also full of shrines, each with its own story to tell. If you want to explore a historical part of Tokyo without being bothered by other tourists, this tour is ideal, as this area is not at all touristic.
① Meet at Kita-Shinagawa Station (9:00)(13:30)
② Shinagawa Ura Funadamari (9:10-9:25)(13:40-13:55)
Back in the Edo times, the shore near Shinagawa was used for fishing, and a small but prosperous fishing village sprang up. Although the area is no longer used for commercial fishing, there are still many nostalgic traces left to be seen. The juxtaposition between the skyscrapers in the background and the old houseboats docked in the water offers a perfect glimpse into Tokyo’s motto “where old meets new”. These days, the harbour houses "yakatabune", or recreation boats used for eating/drinking, along with the last remaining fishing boats.
Only known to the locals are some hidden areas of houses undestroyed by the local development. The guide will show you into little alleyways lined with green hedges and great old homes where you can imagine what life used to be like in the fishing village.
③ Head down Kyu-Tokaido Road (9:25-10:25)(13:55-14:55)
The Kyu-Tokaido Road was the first stop for travellers moving from Tokyo to Kyoto. It was a lively place full of inns and bustling with shops to service all their needs. It was one of the few areas to survive the fires and air raids that ravaged other parts of Tokyo in the past. These days many of these shops still remain – venture down the street and discover a green tea shop with over 100 years history, or a quaint old rice cracker shop. Back in the 1800s, travellers from Kyoto would reach this final stop along the road dirty, weary and in need of sprucing up. Back in the Edo times the quality of ones shoes was very important, so there were 10 shoe shops dotted along this road back in the day. These days the need for handmade traditional footwear has diminished, and now 'Maruya', a family owned sandal shop dating back 200 years, is the last one remaining. If you wish to buy a pair of geta or zori sandals, they offer an immense selection of patterns and will tailor the straps to fit your feet.
There are so many gems to be found on this road, and your guide will explain them all. Along the way you’ll also visit:
Hōzen-ji Temple and hidden alleyways
Branching off the main Tokaido Road are many smaller streets and alleyways with local temples hidden away and quaint old houses covered in greenery. You can even see a water well in the middle of a residential lane, which was used in the past to bring water to the local houses. Most other such pumps have been destroyed long ago.
Shinagawa-shuku Koryukan (community lounge)
There is a free rest area on the first floor selling lots of old style candy from the Showa era, while the second floor features an exhibition that introduces the history and culture of the area.
④ Shotokuji Temple (10:25-10:30)(14:55-15:00)
After exploring the Kyu-Tokaido Road, stroll down Shinbaba Street and take a look at the Shotokuji Temple. It’s especially pretty in Autumn as it’s surrounded by maple trees. This temple has quite an usual fence, made of an old brick wall taken from a nearby factory.
⑤ Ebara Shrine (10:30-10:40)(15:00-15:10)
Established in 709, Ebara Shrine is worshipped as the place of the dragon god where people come to pray for rain. Located next to the Meguro River, it’s said that in 1062 they took water from the nearby river to offer to the god, praying for victory in a battle with Northern Japan. It’s home to a yearly festival held in the rainy season (June) where Mikoshi (floats) are carried through the water. The carvings on this shrine are very intricate and unique and worth a look for those interested in art. The best time to see Ebara is in spring when it’s surrounded by cherry blossoms blooming along the river.
⑥ Chabako Tea Shop (10:45-11:10)(15:15-15:40) *Only available on Wednesday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday. On Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, we will instead go to a small nearby coffee shop called "Beans Station Home Roasting Coffee Shop and Cafe"
Stop for some refreshment in this old private house which has been turned into a small tea cafe. They offer homemade roasted teas, as well as green tea and many traditional seasonal Japanese daifuku sweets. *If you don’t want to stop here, the guide can take you somewhere else instead.
⑦ Shinagawa Shrine (11:20-11:55)(15:50-16:25)
Shinagawa Shrine was founded in 1187 as a guardian of the nearby post-town. It is home to a “fujizuka”, or a mini-Fuji, built for worshippers who didn’t have the strength or money to climb the actual Mt. Fuji. It is actually the largest fujizuka in Japan, standing at 15m high. It’s made from rocks taken from the base of Mt. Fuji. This shrine also has many separate buildings, lots of red torii gates and a fountain called Hitotsubu-manbai-no-izumi where it is said that if you wash your coins in it, your fortunes will increase.
⑧ Finish at Shimbamba Station (11:55-12:00)(16:25-16:30)
The guide will escort you back to the station, one stop from Shinagawa Station (a major transport hub from where you can easily get to anywhere you need).
・See several Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines hidden around the Old Town
・Enjoy the contrast between old and new at the Shinagawa seaside where houseboats still dock
・Look around shops dating back hundreds of years and hear their history
・Walk around nostalgic old lanes containing water wells and ivy covered houses
・Climb the "mini Mt. Fuji" at Shinagawa Shrine
・Try some tea and Japanese sweets in an old home-turned-cafe.
・ If you book this tour before or after Haneda Airport, the guide can help you store your luggage in station lockers, please contact us in advance
・ If you wish to change the tour time, please contact us
|Price||¥6,000 per adult (13+)
¥10,000 for a private tour for 1 person
|Hours of availability||
Morning tour: 9:00am-12:00pm
・English speaking guide
Keikyu Line-Kita-Shinagawa Station-Ticket Gate