Jinbōchō or Jimbōchō is a neighborhood of Chiyoda, Tokyo that where we stayed. It’s in Central Tokyo, making it a great spot for travelers, accessibility-wise. Its center is at the crossing of Yasukuni-dōri and Hakusan-dōri, above Jimbōchō Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line, Toei Mita Line and Toei Shinjuku Line.
Jinbōchō is named after a samurai, Nagaharu Jinbō, who lived in the area at the end of the 1800’s. In the early 1900’s, a large fire destroyed most of the area. In the wake of the fire, a university professor named opened a bookstore there which eventually became one of the biggest publishing houses Iwanami Shoten (named after the professor.
This quiet neighborhood is a mix of old and new (pretty much like the rest of Tokyo). I saw this mix when I walked its streets every day during our vacation.
See that Starbucks and McDonald’s? Hehe, I did not get to visit either. Just wanted to take a snapshot of what makes this area Western in some way. :p
Jimbōchō is most famous for íts bookstores. There are dozens of family-run specialty bookstores of every genre. Some books even date to the Edo period!
The bookstores run for half a kilometer on Yasukuni-dori beginning at the Surugadai-shita intersection.
Many of Japan’s prestigious publishing houses are here as well, and the area is also home to Meiji University and Nihon University.
There are also shops that sell arts and craft supplies. I checked out a store to get some origami paper for my friend Shani. I approached the saleslady and raised a pack of paper I chose from the pile.
Saleslady: Hihihihihihi (tunog pang-anime na tawa talaga, I swear)… iie… iie… (no…no…)
She escorted me to a nearby display case (picture below) with other kinds of paper. She picked up something in brown paper bag (lower left in case) and said…
Saleslady: Origami! (smiling widely) Hihihihihi! (tunog anime talaga ang cute!)
Me: Domo arigato!
After that cute encounter with the saleslady, I went around to get some painting materials for myself… eh mahal! Almost twice the Manila price, so selfie na lang! Haha!
I saw some cute craft punchers and got three– panda, cat, and bunny. Nice pasalubong for my friends Jan, Jap, and Ysha. :)
I saw a familiar signage across the street. We have Jollibee and they have Yoshinoya.
Cigarettes are usually sold in vending machines in Tokyo. The bad thing is it’s hard to find my brand Winston Lights. Worse… their cigs are very expensive! P160-300 per pack! Please also be reminded that you cannot just smoke anywhere in Japan. There are designated smoking areas. Please lang, ‘wag pasaway!
I went inside FamilyMart to try their karaage, because according to Miko, the taste is like KFC in their glory days, and very juicy, too! And he’s right! Ang sarap!
Saw these interesting items as well…
Bobobo kaya ako kung kumain ako ng Slowbar?
Uy ChocoPie, my favorite! Bought a box and ate one every morning. :D And look at those chocolates behind. And wooot wooot! Japanese whiskey! Said to be one of the best in the world! Add Japanese whisky with soda and you get their favorite drink… highball!
I’m sure this bakeshop is Ariel-approved…
And look! There’s Astro Boy, the anime from my childhood!
This coffee shop is almost in every corner. Kung gaano kadami Starbucks natin, ganon rin yata karami ang Dotour sa kanila. They sell mille crepes, too, like the one I had in Paper Moon Café.
Walked the streets alone (when Miko was sleeping hehehe) at night. It wasn’t scary at all. Felt safe in their streets, even sa mga eskinita.
I didn’t have internet access except when I was in places with wi-fi, and I didn’t bring a map with me. The times I got lost, I just asked the Japanese for directions. They’re very polite and helpful. Most even took time to walk with me and accompany me to where I was going, even if it meant walking for more that 100 meters. :)
I saw Hachimaki (photo below), according to one of the posts I saw on Instagram, it serves one of the best tempuras in Tokyo. I wasn’t hungry though when I saw it so I continued walking back to our hotel.
But I was tempted to go in one of the bars. Hehehe. :p
And in this resto that’s proclaiming a (foodie) gospel truth. :D
// listening to Howard Jones – Things Can Only Get Better