In the footsteps of a traveler from the Edo period: stage 1 of Tokaido

Experiencing the Tokaido Route through the streets of Tokyo

Japan Experience offers you a detailed itinerary of the first stage of the Tokaido, the mythical road of the Edo period (1603-1868) , between the Nihonbashi bridge and the old Shinagawa relay, through the streets of Tokyo . Ready for a dive into the past?

A completely different setting, Tokyo of yesterday and today

Of the original Tokaidô route, almost nothing remains except for a few preserved portions, particularly in the Hakone region with the Hakone Kyu Kaido. Time and the urbanization of the archipelago have got the better of this ancestral route. Since Edo became Tokyo; processions of daimyos returning to their stronghold have given way to waves of salarymen on the sidewalks of the capital. The palanquins are no more than a distant memory; everyone now enjoys the speed and comfort of the capital's sprawling urban transportation network.

Those nostalgic for old times can rejoice. It is always possible to trample the Tokaido in the streets of Tokyo! This walk, 8 km long which largely follows the route of national road 15, can be done in 2 hrs. However, we advise you to devote a whole day to it as there are many sites to visit along the way. And that without even talking about shopping as you go through the very chic district of Ginza!

In the footsteps of a traveler from the Edo period: stage 1 of Tokaido
Stage 1 of Tokaido
Ninonbashi District
Kyobashi District
Ginza District
Shimbashi District
Shiodome District
Shinagawa District

In the Nihonbashi district (3 to 4)

The Mitsukoshi establishment (3) in Nihonbashi, very close to the bridge, already existed in the Edo period under the name Echigoya Mitsui. It is quite simply the oldest department store in Tokyo. It thus appears on the 21st print of the series of "Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji" (1831-1833) by Hokusai. Founded in 1673 by fabric merchant, Takatoshi Mitsui, it has occupied its current location in Nihonbashi since 1683.

The Nishikawa Futon Company, established in Kyoto in 1566, opened a shop in Nihonbashi in 1615. Don't hesitate to push open the door of the four-hundred-year-old Nihonbashi Nishikawa (4) boutique! Then continue your route on the Chuo-dori towards Kyobashi for 1 kilometer.

View of the Echigoya Mitsui store in Suruga Street in Edo

View of the Echigoya Mitsui store on Suruga Street in Edo (circa 1829-1833). The "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji", 21st view. Hokusai Katsushika


This Western-style urban landscape makes Ginza (7) a pleasant district where people come to shop. This tradition of shopping has remained intact.

The district still brings together today a good number of luxury boutiques and major international brands (8).


Continuing your journey to the Ginza 4Chome intersection, you come across one of the iconic landmarks of the Ginza district: the luxury department store Wako (9), founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattorien as a watch and jewelry store. A very popular store in the capital, the place is famous for its emblematic clock at the top. The current building in neo-classical style dates from 1932.

Ginza Avenue was laid out to become Tokyo's first modern highway.



The Wako department store in Ginza


In the district of Shimbashi (10 to 14)

Continue your road for about 700 meters towards the Shimbashi district (10).

The first point of interest is none other than the station (11). Inaugurated in October 1872, Shimbashi station is one of the oldest stations in the archipelago. It is the terminus of the Tokaido line, the first railway line in the country, which connects the Japanese capital to Yokohama in 35 min.

Today, after dark, the station is the rallying point for neighborhood salarymen who frequent the many small bars and restaurants nestled under the tracks called gâdo shita.


The reconstruction of the old Shimbashi station houses a museum



Locomotive installed in front of Shimbashi station


After your stop at the Hama-rikyu garden; resume your itinerary on national road 15. On either side of the Daimon metro station (18), other emblematic monuments of the capital are worth a detour: on your left is the Kyu-Shiba Rikyu garden ( 19), one of the last gardens dating from the Edo period in Tokyo, and on your right, the Zojoji temple (20) where six shoguns of the Tokugawa clan are buried, which is located at the foot of the flamboyant Tokyo Tower (21), a broadcasting tower equipped with two observation platforms and built by architect Tachu Naito in 1958.

For the rest of the route, go to marker 22 then follow route 15 on the right.

Shiodome is a neighborhood of Tokyo includes one of the largest concentrations of building.

Shiodome is one of Tokyo's districts with one of the largest concentrations of building.



The Dentsu Building is part of the line of skyscrapers visible from Hama-Rikyū Garden

Fumihiko Ueno

Célèbre image du Zojo-ji et de la tour de Tokyo

Famous image of Zojo-ji and Tokyo Tower


Arrested by the authorities, they are confined in four stately homes while awaiting the execution of their sentence; the death sentence by seppuku. Nine of them are placed in detention in the residence of the chief declan Mizuno Kenmotsu (23).

It is inside this residence that these ronins committed suicide by seppuku on February 4, 1703.

Of this villa, there remains today only a stone lantern and a statue of Jizo. Only a panel is there to remind us of this memorable part of Japanese history. A little over a kilometer further on is Sengaku-ji (24), which houses the tombs of Naganori Asano and his 47 samurai.

Sengakuji, les tombes des 47 ronin

Sengakuji, the tombs of the 47 ronin

Stefan Le Dû, Wikimedia

In the Shinagawa district (25 to 29)

The Shinagawa district is synonymous with good news: the journey is coming to an end! From Shinagawa station (25), the very first station in the archipelago, you only have one last kilometer left!

At marker 26, follow the road to your left and cross the bridge. Continue straight and cross the railway tracks. Then take on your right. Proceed towards another railway line that you will also have to cross. The rest of the route will be on the Kyu-Tokaido road.

By following the latter, you will pass not far from Kita-Shinagawa station (27).

La gare de Shinagawa

Shinagawa Station


Address, timetable & access

  • Address

  • Timetable

    1 min walk from Mitsukoshimae Subway Station, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, or Hanzomon Line Exit B5 or B6

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