The Best 5 Backstreets to Explore in Tokyo

Tokyo backstreet Places to visit in Tokyo

When you are visiting Tokyo, the well known, lively areas like Shibuya or Shinjuku will most likely be prominently featured on your bucket list. In addition to these iconic places, we recommend you to visit some more low-key, historical, local areas areas too. In this article, we introduce the best 5 nostalgic neighborhood locations. If you want to see the local life and enjoy exploring the area with small stores and restaurants, check out these back streets in Tokyo!


Three small areas Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi are together called Yanesen which is located near Ueno. Since Yanesen largely survived from Great Kanto Earthquake and both World Wars, you can still enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere which reminiscent of the late 19th to early 20th century. Go to Yanaka Ginza Street which is a 170 meters long street with about 70 stores on both sides. You can find the local food stands, clothing stores, supermarkets, tea shops, sweet shops and cafes or restaurants there. 

Visit Nezu Shrine and you will see the many Torii gates lining up.There are beautiful shrines in this area and these Torii gates are good place to take some pictures! 

To fully enjoy Yanaka area, take a tour with your local knowledgeable guide! Your guide will take you to the great places to stop by and eat. Enjoy delicious foods and the amazing atmosphere.

Yanaka Shitamachi Backstreet Tour


Fukagawa is located in the south end of Tokyo and this area developed when it was bridged to the central part of Tokyo during the Edo period. People used to visit this area to worship at the local temples and in line with this trend, many food stalls and restaurants were built during this time. There used to be many Nagaya along the river which is a traditional Japanese style terraced house around this area. If you are interested in how people lived in Nagaya before, visit Fukagawa Edo Museum.


Araki-cho used to be a Samurai residential area since it was close to Edo castle. Also this area used to be Geisha district where people enjoy the performance or playing games with Japanese traditional dancer called Geisha. Today, you can still feel the remains of 1950s-60s atmosphere. If you like the nostalgic area, walking around this area would be fun!  Another fun fact is, lately it has been known as a film location of Your Name directed by Makoto Shinkai and many movie fans are visiting there! Check the article for more information of the location; 10+ Popular Anime/Manga Locations in Tokyo

Photo by 鈴木 宏一


Kagurazaka is relatively new area where red-light district flourished during the early 20th century. As a part of the name stands for slope (Saka) in Japanese, the main street is on the hill. You can find the stone path which is unique and makes it photogenic spot around this area and you will find traditional Japanese restaurants on the street. Go to Akagi Shrine which is designed by Kengo Kuma and you will be surprised for its very modern and outstanding style which is very different from the other shrines in Japan.


Sunamachi is a large scale outdoor shopping street which was largely grown during the 1950s. The total length of the street is 670 meters and there are about 180 stores. Not only fresh foods such as vegetables, meats and seafoods are available on the street but also you can get some snacks or street foods at good deal. You can try tempura which is lightly buttered fried seafood or vegetables, some chicken skewers called Yakitori or Oden hot pot and of course Japanese sweets too! On the weekend, the street will be full of people with energy and you can enjoy the vibrant mood. 

Check out the local guided tour to learn more history and background of this area. You can walk with English speaking guide and enjoy some foods and drinks on the way! 

Best Guided Tours in Japan
We offer guided tours throughout Japan. Our friendly local guides will take you to the best spots in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka...

It is always a good idea to explore the area with a loca guide not only because there is a language barrier that might prevent you from exploring the area fully, you can make the experience much more deeper. The guides will show you around and bring you to places you cannot go otherwise. 

Araki-choN/A (Custom private tour is available upon your request)
FukagawaFukagawa Tour: Explore Exotic & Traditional Town in Tokyo
YanakaYanaka Shitamachi Backstreet Tours
KagurazakaKagurazaka Walking Tour
SunamachiTokyo Local Street Food and Drink Tour @ Sunamachi

Go explore the backstreets in Tokyo and get the local experience! 

If you have any questions, you can contact us here and we will happily help you make the best plan for your Japan trip.

11 Best Shotengai in Tokyo - Local Shopping Streets
Do you want to get the authentic shopping experience in Tokyo? Then let's explore 'Shotengai', local shopping streets!

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more travel inspiration. Or tag us to get featured! 

Happy travelling!

This post may contain some affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase we may receive some commission, at no extra costs to you

Places to visit in Tokyo
Sponsored links
Share this article on your social media
Japan Wonder TravelFollow
Copied title and URL