1. Japan
  2. Tokyo

Best of Tokyo: 'New York Times Journeys' Tour With Tastings

Product ID: 207285
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Tokyo is the original metropolis: a frenzy of technology, history, and humanity. Join this specially curated tour in partnership with The New York Times and discover the highlights and hidden quirks of Japan’s neon-lit capital.
About this activity
Duration 4 hours
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Easy cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund

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Experience

Highlights
  • Question mankind’s uncertain future as you interact with a humanoid robot called Pepper
  • Take an anime-style group picture in a quirky photo booth for a fun souvenir
  • Meet and talk with several shopkeepers, including the owner of a typical Japanese pub who runs his business under the train tracks
  • Explore a historic train station, known as the Ghost Station, and admire its old history preserved amid a modern regeneration project
  • Finish your day like a local with happy hour under the train tracks in a typical izakaya (Japanese pub)
Full description
Your tour begins in Tokyo’s electronics heartland, known as Electric Town. You will stroll through the frenetic, neon-lit streets to nearby Manseibashi Station. Built in 1912, the original station was destroyed by an earthquake in 1923, leaving only its platform and some stairs, which remain today. The rebuilt station was then closed in 1943 and has been spookily nicknamed “the Ghost Station.”

Next, you will head towards the Hitachino Brewing Lab to find out more about the Japanese craft beer boom. You will taste some of the 10 craft beers that are available on tap, paired with some delicious local snacks, and chat to the brewery staff about how their beer is made. A walk through the larger-than-life Akihabara neighborhood follows. The buildings here are a riot of color, proudly displaying anime images almost everywhere you go. Stop to take a group picture inside a quirky photo booth that will make you look like an anime character yourself, with big eyes and perfect skin.

You will then arrive at 2K540 Aki-Oka Artisan, an urban space under the train tracks that used to be a car park but is now home to 50 shops and cafes. The retail offering focuses on artisan products from across the country, so it’s a great place to peruse for meaningful souvenirs to take home. Being a creative space, it should come as no surprise that 3331 Arts Chiyoda is also home to Aldebaran Atelier Akihabara with Softbank, a robot software development company. You will spend some time with Pepper, learn about the processes that go into developing these high-tech robots, and interact with them in English.

A short subway ride will take you into the heart of Tokyo, where you will pass by the Imperial Palace. The emperor and empress of Japan reside behind the pretty moats that surround it, with 300 police officers and more than a thousand staff members on hand to support them. Finally, after a busy afternoon of sightseeing, you will settle in at Matsuso, a typical izakaya (a kind of Japanese pub). Like many izakaya, it’s nestled under the train tracks, allowing commuters to stop in for a quick drink or a snack on their way home from work. You will sit down with the bar owner, who previously worked in real estate, to chat about his business and what makes this location under the train tracks so special to the locals.
Includes
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Fare for public transportation (metro or train) between Akihabara and Yurakucho
  • Beer tasting set (3 types) and local snacks (seasonal such as seafood, chicken, pickles, nuts with Japanese seasoning)
  • Happy hour at Matsusou Izakaya (assorted food and drink)
  • Group photo
What’s Not Included
  • Gratuities

When you get there

Meeting point

JR Akihabara Station (train station), Electric Town Exit, in front of the Ticket Office/Travel Service Center (Midori no Madoguchi).

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Know before you go
• This tour can accommodate vegetarians and other dietary restrictions. Please notify the supplier in advance if you have any dietary requests