t’s a pretty well-established fact that visiting Japan’s capital is a sensory overload. From the neon-lit streets of Akihabara to the gritty bars of Koenji to the stylish back streets of Shibuya, you’ll never run out of things to do in Tokyo.
However, while the tourist hangouts can be fun, to understand the city, you’ve got to get off Shibuya scramble and get out into the city’s outer neighborhoods. Here the locals are laid back, the food is incredible, and the real Tokyo shines brighter than any LED screen. And if you don’t speak Japanese or have local friends to hand, the best way to gain access behind the city scenes is by signing up for a tour. These are some of our favorites.
1. Kichijoji Hashigozake Bar Hopping Tour
Tokyo is a city comprised of what seems like hundreds of microcities. Each has its own unique culture, vibe, and hidden quirks—and the stylish neighborhood of Kichijoji is one great example. This new Kichijoji Hashigozake Bar Hopping Tour is an excellent avenue through which to take a deep dive into Tokyo’s local scene. Organized by the Kichijoji Hashigozake Executive Committee, the tour includes an hour-long cultural experience, as well as two bar visits, offering the best of both hidden worlds.
In terms of cultural experiences, the options vary on the day of the sign-up but cover a wide range of interests. Cultural classes include participating in a samurai or awaodori traditional dance performance, trying your hand at some traditional shodo calligraphy or kado flower arrangement, or getting crafty with an art class.
Once the cultural experience is done, it’s time to hit the streets of Kichijoji to discover just why this neighborhood has a reputation for being the most popular place to live among Tokyoites. Hopping between bars, guests can mingle with the regulars, enjoy a few refreshing drinks, and truly immerse themselves in an authentically laid-back, everyday slice of Tokyo.
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