Treading on Tokyo

Click on the map below to find village-born traditions and insider favorites in Japan's frenetic capital.

Tokyo is one of the world's biggest, most densely packed cities. Yet few villages feel as distinctly old-fashioned as the average Tokyo neighborhood, with its tangle of bicycles, stalls selling blocks of tofu, fishmongers, tatami weavers, and street festivals. Everywhere are echoes of the countryside that many Tokyoites left only a generation or two ago. Menus at the humblest izakaya (pub) change with the seasons, and department stores stock regional delicacies and local crafts. For all its relentless concrete and gadgetry, no big city moves so easily to nature's rhythm. This walk, though weaving through the central Tsukiji and Ginza districts, affords glimpses of Tokyo's layered past as well as insight into its village within.