Encounter Authentic Japan at Muromachi in Nihonbashi
A street commonly called Naka-dori. COREDO Muromachi 1 on left, COREDO Muromachi 2 on your right. Passersby can enjoy change of decorations by season.
Have you been to Nihonbashi – just next to Ginza? The place is an enticing destination even for Tokyoites. It is reminiscent of Tokyo’s Edo era being so traditional and modern at the same time, when it flourished and was renowned for being a center of commerce and food in bygone days. The scenery of Muromachi in Nihonbashi with its many shops was immortalized in ukiyoe, wood block prints, a genre of Japanese art, which flourished from the 17th to 19th century.
COREDO Muromachi, which consists of three buildings 1,2, and 3, is located here in Nihonbashi Muromachi. It provides a perfect one-stop shopping and cultural experience for either novice or gourmet alike, wishing to experience and embrace Japanese food and culture. It is full of exciting shops, and apart from the cultural aspect, it will definitely be magnate for any foodies. Foreigners in particular would be captivated by its authentic offerings and be reluctant to leave. In fact it is rare to find a place like COREDO Muromachi, where all your senses can be engaged and immersed in offerings from various prefectures in Japan such as Tokyo, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Fukui, Kochi etc. In fact, the COREDO Muromachi is still a well-kept secret waiting to be discovered!
If you were a connoisseur of Japanese food, you would be quick to discover Okui Kaiseido and Ninben which was established in 1699. Westerners are familiar with the four senses - sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but not so many with the fifth sense - umami, also described as savory which is a focal point in Japanese cooking. Dried bonitos of Ninben and kelp of Okui Kaiseido are full of umami and form the basis for creating dishes rich in umami, in particular dashi (Japanese soup stock). One of Ninben’s most popular products is an easy “Dashi Pot” which enables you to make dashi easily using microwave. Those are, without doubt, a good souvenir for people overseas that appreciate real Japanese food.
Japanese knives are treasured among chefs and gourmands around the world. One of the best places to get them is at Kiya on the first floor of COREDO Muromachi 1. They welcome not only Japanese, but also lots of guests from around the world. They started their business in 1792 in Nihonbashi and now carry knives and beautiful traditional Japanese kitchenware. If you were a great fan of ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement, you will definitely definitely find specialized scissors.
Tsuruya Yoshinobu is located on the first floor of COREDO Muromachi 3. It is a traditional Japanese sweet shop first established in 1803 in Kyoto. Here you can enjoy delicious seasonal Japanese sweets with traditional tea. Visitors can actually see an artisan making the sweet you just ordered over the counter. Tsuruya Yoshinobu is the only company in Japan, which provides such performance right in front of you, so this is a must! The combination of the flawless movement of the master artisan and sweets themselves, which reflect the current season with beautiful colors, is sure to impress.
For Japanese pickles lovers, Nishiri on the first floor of COREDO Muromachi 1 is heavenly. Though it mainly carries traditional and seasonal Japanese pickles, it also has some very interesting and modern versions too. Of note are the apple pickles, which though wonderful by itself, you should try it in yogurt! If you like cherry blossoms, you can get salted sakura flowers and make sakura tea. Another tip - try daikon (Japanese white radish) pickles with sakura leaves, delicious!
Japanese sake is becoming very popular overseas where it is experiencing an increase in consumption. Hakkaisan in Niigata is one of the top sake breweries in Japan, their Sennen Kojiya shop is located on the first floor of Coredo Muromachi 2. Hakkaisan makes not only sake, but also produces three kinds of plum wines called umeshu and four kinds shochu, a distilled beverage in addition to beer and amazake, a traditional rice based drink. At the in-shop bar, you can also taste a selection of the sake’s they produce. Also available for purchase are trendy koji (molted rice) and other products related to rice and fermentation. They also produce fantastic skin care products and sake hand cream. It has gentle and appealing sake notes on the nose for enjoyment.
The Hakuza Nihonbashi shop captures the spirit of Kanazawa, a region known as "Little Kyoto" and a popular tourists destination. The shop carries gold foils made in Kanazawa or products incorporating gold foils. Olive oil, tableware, accessories and cosmetic products with gold foils are so gorgeous and eye-catching. One of the most popular items is gold bracelets. It is light yet has strong presence, its versatility makes it perfect for travelers if you are a minimalist. If you would like to take a bit of break from shopping, there is an area where you can enjoy a cup of local tea from Kanazawa such as kagabocha and matcha.
For those of you already familiar with COREDO Muromachi, you may like to know they expanded their offerings opening on the 20th of March with a theatre-style restaurant and lounge called Suigian. It is located underneath the Fukutoku Forest right next to Fukutoku Shrine, within the complex. Here you can enjoy traditional Japanese arts such as Noh, Kyogen, Japanese dancing etc. - frequently performed by top artists, while enjoying sushi, sake, wines, beer, tea and sweets all made in Japan. Suigian is definitely another place worth discovering. It's worth taking time out, to enjoy this uniquely Japanese experience at COREDO Muromachi just like people in Edo era did in a chic manner. Within a finite time, you can capture the essence of Japan with friends and visitors!