Tour de Japon – A mini journey across Japan’s prefectures with Nihonbashi’s antenna shops

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Since its beginnings, the Nihonbashi area has been a central trading hub for Tokyo, and has remained a glamorous shopping paradise until this day. But Nihonbashi has more to offer than its famous luxury department stores. 

Currently the hashtag #dreamnowtravellater is trending, so if you are in Tokyo anyway, why not be inspired for your next domestic trip while visiting Nihonbashi. Just like in the Edo era, you can start at kilometer zero in Nihonbashi and embark on a journey through Japan–by visiting so-called “antenna shops”. 

These shops sell famous regional products (also known as meibutsu), but many also sell locally crafted items, and some even have a restaurant or bar where you can eat local dishes and sample local drinks, like locally brewed sake. Antenna shops allow you to sample the various colorful cultures throughout Japan, all within walking distance of each other, without days or hours-long journeys on old trade routes.

In this article, we have compiled a list of antenna shops for you, which you can reach easily from Nihonbashi station and/or Mitsukoshimae station, so you can explore many areas of Japan without leaving Tokyo. And it makes for a perfect outing coupled with our new scavenger hunt game based in Nihonbashi, Nazotabi: The Tale of the Undersea Palace.

Wines made in Yamanashi

“Cave de wine ken” is a shop and restaurant, specializing in wines from Yamanashi prefecture. Yamanashi is the birthplace of the Japanese wine industry and famous for its grape production.

Pick your poison with Yamaguchi products

Yamaguchi prefecture is famous for it’s blowfish and sake. If you are lucky, you can get your hands on a bottle of the famous Yamaguchi made Dassai sake.

Enjoy the famous omi wagyu beef from Shiga

Shiga prefecture is famous for its beef, rice, and tea.You can enjoy the famous omi wagyu beef in the restaurant on the second floor. At the entrance of the shop on the second floor there will be a flock of tanuki statues to say hi.

Experience the blend of Japanese and Western culture unique to Nagasaki

At Nagasakikan you can satisfy your sweet tooth with castella and Dutch style coffee, or fill your belly with a heavy chanpon noodle soup.

Sake, Seafood, and exquisite glassware from Toyama 

Toyamakan is a big, modern antenna shop with a fancy seafood restaurant, a sake bar, a tourist information center, and an exhibition area for local crafts, for example glassware.

Splurge on luxury foods from Mie prefecture

The restaurant of the Mie Terrace antenna shop serves matsusaka wagyu beef and Ise lobster with a selection of local sake.

Island hopping in Nihonbashi

Rito Kitchen is mainly a restaurant specialising in foods from the small islands of Japan, but they also have a shop area with local foods where you can sample unique culinary treats.

Enjoy Fukushima

At the Fukushima antenna shop Midette you can buy local foods, sake, and handicrafts from Fukushima prefecture (Fukushima prefecture was hard-hit by the 2011 earthquake, so it’s good to support their products). In summer time the parfait with fresh peach is very popular.

Get your kaki fix and find cute deer-themed sweets

Nara prefecture is famous for its kaki (persimmon) fruit. At Nara Mahoroba-Kan you can get fresh and dried kaki, when in season. In summer they sell shaved ice with kaki sauce. Nara is also known for its friendly deer. You can find all sorts of deer themed products at Mahoroba-Kan. The official prefecture mascot, Sentokun, will be greeting you at the entrance.

Note: This list was made in December 2020, so some of the shops and restaurants mentioned might have moved, not exist anymore, or have undergone significant changes by the time you are visiting. 

A magical journey through Nihonbashi that would make a great compliment to an antenna shop tour!

Nazotabi: The Tale of the Undersea Kingdom is our newest puzzle scavenger hunt game that takes place in Nihonbashi, available here now for purchase.   

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