Nihonbashi has a rich food history as it was the original home of the fish market before it moved to Tsukiji. The new COREDO Muromachi building is filled with restaurants and food shops, some dating back hundreds of years.
Pick up Japanese knives at Nihonbashi Kiya or taste the smoky bonito stock or dashi based soups like kabocha and chicken potage at Ninben’s Nihonbashi Dashi Bar.
Ninben's Dashi Bar
Fresh fish is grilled over a sumi charcoal pit at the casual izakaya Nihonbashi Kinoshige.
And perhaps one of the most talked about food item at COREDO Muromachi is the traditional Paris Brest-Aimee at Patisserie Aimee Vibert.
Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-2-1
Nihonbashi Kiya, 1st floor, 03-3242-0010
Ninben, 1st floor, 03-3241-0968
Nihonbashi Kinoshige, 2nd floor, 03-3548-9917
Patisserie Aimee Vibert, 1st floor, 03-6225-2551
www.coredo.jp (Japanese – can click through to English but very limited information)
Okinawa Washita Shop
Okinawa Washita Antenna Shop 沖縄わしたショップ
Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-3-9
10:00 – 19:00, no holidays
The Okinawa Washita Shop in Ginza may be one of the most unique antenna shops in the city due to the unique food and beverage culture of Okinawa. The cuisine of the southernmost islands of Japan is very different from what you will find in the rest of the country. This tropical islands are rich with sea vegetables, pork and the local shochu called awamori. The basement is filled with awamori is a distilled beverage made from Thai rice and has a unique funk to it that makes it the perfect partner for the Okinawan cuisine. Okinawa is also famous for the longevity of the Okinawans, which many attribute to the diet and awamori. The smoked skin from a pig’s face is sliced for a snack food. Fresh produce including the bitter goya, tropical fruits and a citrus shikuwasa juice, great for cocktails, shimadoufu (a very dense, rich tofu), and Okinawan tea (sanpincha). I also was so happy to find a Japanese grater called “shiri shiri ki” that is ideal for grating carrots for salads or spring rolls. We had one in our home growing up and used it often. I also like it for grating potatoes for hash browns. I haven’t seen it at any other shop in Japan, just here.
Shiri Shiri Ki
Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-4-2
11:00 – 19:00 (closed Sunday & holidays)
Pottery and other crafts are showcased in this two-story shop on the outskirts of Ginza. There is daily use pottery with reasonable prices starting at 1,000 JPY. The shop features a wide variety of pottery including Mashiko, Tanba, and Onta from the small village in Oita. The second floor has textiles including noren. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about their products.
A great little bakery near Tsukiji has opened up and is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. The name of the shop is printed in gold on the windows, reminds me of Balthazar Bakery in Soho. You can’t miss its green and white awning and the green exterior. The breads range from sweet to savory but two in particular that catch my eyes are made with seafood procured from neighboring Tsukiji Market, both focaccia. One is topped with shiso, shirasu (boiled tiny anchovies), and cheese. The other has iidako (octopus) with a puttanesca sauce. There is also a selection of sandwiches. There is a map on the website, which is mostly in Japanese, but enough English to find the map and to see the other great breads.
Thanks to chef and author, Yukiko Hayashi (Gout Sensei) for bringing this shop to our attention! Gout Sensei’s website (in Japanese) is below. She is particularly passionate about soba.
Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 7-10-11
7:00 – 19:00, closed Sunday and holidays
http://oriminebakers.com/ (mostly Japanese but some basic English and a map)
Yubakichi’s rich history dates back to 1790. The delicate yuba is made using domestic soybeans. The yuba has a light sweetness to it. You will find both dried and fresh yuba. The fresh yuba is creamy and has a nice texture. This can be served with just wasabi and soy sauce.
10:00 – 18:00, closed Sundays and the 4th Wednesday of each month
9:00 – 17:30, no holidays
Aritsugu has been in business since 1560. Famous for their knives, you will also find an enticing selection of other essential tools for the kitchen including nabe, handcrafted oroshigane (graters), and peelers. Aritsugu also has a shop in Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, but this shop in Kyoto has a wider selection, and is more accustomed to tourists.
Dintora is filled with spices, perfect for any home cook, including dried yuzu, chinpi, ichimi, shichimi, sansho, and karashi. Many of these spices are light and portable so stock up here if you are visiting from abroad. The chinpi (dried citrus peel) can be mixed with honey and hot water when you have a cold, or added to a bath.
Dintora Spice Shop ぢんとら
closed Tuesdays, if Tuesday is a holiday, it will be open and closed Wednesday
Toraya is a purveyor to the Imperial Family and its rich history can be dated back to the 1600s. The signature item at Toraya is the yokan cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. This is considered one of the top shops for wagashi, in particular, the yokan. The yokan comes in several flavors including azuki, mattcha, and the kokuto has a rich, deep flavor. Toraya has outlets in most depachika. The main shop is in Akasaka with an eat-in space. The recommended dish is anmitsu.
This gorgeous shop in Ginza has a retail shop on the first floor and a café on the second floor. In the summertime you can cool down with a kakigori (shaved ice sweets).
Chuo-ku, Ginza 7-8-6
9:30 – 20:30, Monday – Saturday
9:30 – 19:30, Sunday and holidays
Sadly, this gorgeous shop has closed.
Fukumitsuya is a sake shop representing a brewery from Kanazawa that opened in 1625. Rest your feet at the small tasting bar and try a few before purchasing. The bottles are stored in small box refrigerators in the back of the shop, as all good quality sake should be. There is a nice selection of cups and bottles, both traditional and modern, for serving sake at home. Fukumitsuya has a wide selection of sake including Kyoka with gold flakes, aged up to 10 years “Hatsugokoro”, and sake based sparkling cocktails. There is a sugidama (cedar ball) hanging over the door. Traditionally these are used at sake breweries to designate when the sake is done fermenting and is ready to be consumed.
Fukumitsuya also has a shop in Roppongi’s Midtown as well as in Futakotamagawa in the same building as Takashimaya.
Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-5-8
11:00 – 21:00, Monday – Saturday
11:00 – 20:00, Sunday and holidays
The Yamagata antenna shop, Oishii Yamagata Plaza in Ginza is home to chef Masayuki Okuda’s restaurant, San-Dan-Delo (see post below). It is also one of my favorite antenna shops in the city due to the variety of products available. Yamagata has some of my favorite foods, cherries, La Furansu pears, pork, wagyu, rice, sake, and a variety of vegetables. One local product to seek out is tama konnyaku, small balls of konnyaku that comes with its own flavored broth. Simmer and enjoy with some sake.
Roasted Brown Rice
One of the great fun parts of exploring antenna shops is that discovering food products you’ve never heard of. On a recent tour with clients we came across these roasted GABA genmai (germinated brown rice), “Motto Yasai o Tanoshiku”, literally having ‘more fun with vegetables’. It’s a great alternative to croutons, super crunchy and somewhat earthy bits.
My mother is from Tsuruoka soI have grown up visiting my grandma’s home and eating lots of the food so of course there is a nostalgic familiarity with the products. But, after eating food from all over the country, Yamagata is truly a treasure chest of great foods from both the sea and the mountains. Some of the best sake comes from here (Juyondai, Dewazakura, Takenotsuyu) as well as wine.
Oishii Yamagata Plaza
Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-5-10