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Akihabara, Okachimachi, Kuramae, and Asakusa, which are situated east of the center of Tokyo, are in the same vicinity and walkable on foot. Each of the four places, however, has a different atmosphere in spite of this closeness. Pop-culture-oriented Akihabara, Okachimachi with new crafts facilities, artisan-spirited Kuramae, and traditional town Asakusa. We are going to introduce the best walking courses where you can enjoy the different personalities of each town.

Akihabara is famous worldwide as a gigantic electronics town and a "sacred place" of Japanese pop culture. High tech electronics, anime goods, and events are waiting for you.

Large-scale electronics stores line the streets around Akihabara Station and Chuo-dori Street boasting of all kinds of products and items, such as the latest high tech electronics and popular electric appliances. Back streets are dotted with medium and small-sized electronics shops that sell a variety of items such as a string of cable wire or vacuum tubes. You can find any kind of electronic part and also may get a unique product at a surprisingly cheap price! Akihabara, of course, is also home to many duty free shops with the latest electronics.

electronics stores
Another aspect characterizing Akihabara is pop culture. Radio Kaikan is a symbolic commercial facility of Akihabara’s pop culture and its three buildings are crammed with shops selling anime figures in every nook and cranny.
Gachapon Kaikan is a popular shopping mall and famous as well for its floor filled with 500 gachapon, or capsule toy vending machines. Put in 100-500 yen (about 1-5 USD) and get an item the machine chooses. Anime goods, cosplay clothing, and other pop culture related goods are also found in Akihabara.
Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan ©Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan

3331 Arts Chiyoda
  ©3331 Arts Chiyoda
Okachimachi, a town where traditional craftsmen lived in the Edo period (1603-1867), has been revitalized with new craftsman-oriented facilities in recent years. In addition to seeing, you can experience workshops at some places.
3331 Arts Chiyoda is an art and cultural facility using a renovated former junior high school building. Distinctive exhibits and events are held here throughout the year, so you will find something interesting whenever you visit. With a large, lawn ground, the facility itself has a very comfortable feel.
3331 Arts Chiyoda
  ©3331 Arts Chiyoda
2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN is located under the elevated railway tracks between JR Akihabara and Okachimachi stations. This has about 50 artisan studios dealing with leather products, bags, umbrellas, character goods, and others, each of which is infused with craftsman spirits. Workshops and hands-on experience events are available at some shops.
(Japanese version only)


Kuramae too has been famous as a town of craftsmanship for a long time. In recent years, however, the town has been favored by more and more young creators and they have opened stylish and unique shops. Okazu Yokocho is an old street with delicious delicatessen stores.
A shop selling organic clothing and tableware, a shop of living goods artisans make, a basket shop with over 100 years of history, a vintage book store selling precious old Japanese books, and a stationary shop carrying original products: These are just some of the stylish creator shops in this area. Finding fancy souvenirs is also a fun aspect of Kuramae. Mizukiya baba
  ©Mizukiya baba
On the way to Kuramae from Okachimachi, Japanese delicatessen stores, such as yakitori shops (about 100 yen or 1 USD per skewer), sweets shops and so on, line the alley of Okazu Yokocho. You will find tasty homemade Japanese food here. Toriyoshi

There are several ways from Kuramae to Asakusa, and why not take a route along the Sumida River, especially on sunny days? The riverbanks are well maintained, safe and clean. While walking, you can see TOKYO SKYTREE® over the river and also yakata-bune, or tatami matted pleasure boats on the river, some of which are docked and others which are cruising.
Two cafes have opened on the riverbank, which are the first cafes built on a dry riverbed in Tokyo, and has been drawing considerable attention from people in the general area. At Tully’s Coffee, one of the two cafes, digital signage of tourist information is set up and free wi-fi is available. At Café W.E, many events take place and also works of local artists are exhibited. Both offer splendid views of the river and TOKYO SKYTREE®. Tully's Coffee
  ©Tully's Coffee

As you know, Asakusa is one of the most renowned tourist spots in Tokyo. Wherever you walk around, you will find something traditional. You might see rickshaws go past as you walk along the streets. Rickshaws were used as a means of transportations from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century in daily life and now they are one amusing vehicle for sightseeing in Asakusa.

rickshaw sensoji2
Streets, including Denbouin-dori Street, Nakamise-dori Street, and Nishi-sando Street, have a traditional atmosphere, and draw many people.
Senso-ji Temple and its Five-story Tower are lit up in the evening and display a mystical beauty different from that during the daytime.
After walking, you may be a little bit tired and want to have a tea break? And if your appetite for learning Japanese culture has been thoroughly whetted? Then, join a tea-ceremony lesson and experience traditional culture!

There are several places where you can experience a tea ceremony lesson in English in Asakusa and "cha-no-yu" is one of them. After a brief explanation of the history and spirit of the tea ceremony, you will sip Matcha powdered green tea that a tea master makes for you, along with a Japanese confectionery. You can also learn how to make Matcha for yourself. This is sure to be a rewarding opportunity to understand Japanese culture first hand.
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Sumida River Fireworks Festival
sumida river fireworks festival

The Sumida River Fireworks Festival is the oldest and one of the biggest fireworks displays in Tokyo. The festival started in 1733 to comfort the spirits of those who died from famine and the cholera epidemic of 1732. During the first festival, they had a fireworks display. This was the beginning of the Sumida Fireworks Festival. There are about 20,000 rounds of fireworks fired from two convenient locations.

Saturday, July 26, 2014
First venue: From Sakurabashi to Kototoibashi (7:05 p.m.-8:30 p.m.)
Second venue: From Komagatabashi to Umayabashi (7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.)
If the weather is unfavorable, the event will be held the following day. If the weather is unfavorable on both days, the event will be cancelled.

List of events and festivals
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Information of Tokyo Culture Creation Project
Announcement from the Tokyo Culture Creation Project Office

Yearly Lineup for 2014 in festivals, arts, and more

No Negative Impact on Our Health: Updated Radiation-related Information in Tokyo
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