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Updated: October 6, 2023
Nihonbashi looks modern today with its gleaming skyscrapers and department stores, but look closer and you will see that it still bears the vestiges of Japan's Edo period (1603-1867). A short walk from the Imperial Palace, Nihonbashi will transport you back in time with its host of specialty stores and traditional restaurants from the Edo period still plying their trade today.
Ginza might have, in the minds of many tourists, succeeded Nihonbashi as the prominent downtown area one would associate with Tokyo today. Even so, Nihonbashi has historical buildings that have been designated as important cultural properties—including the Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store that was Japan's first department store, and the headquarters of the Bank of Japan. It had also been the site of a bustling fish market, which relocated to Tsukiji after being wrecked during the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.
The name Nihonbashi also refers to the eponymous bridge that was a national symbol as the starting point of five major roads that lead into and out of Tokyo. The district had prospered with the opening of this bridge in the early 17th century. Today, the bridge carries a bronze signpost with the words "Origin of Roads in Japan," and the location is used as a base point to measure distances from Tokyo.
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