The Suburbs (***AMACHI), Tokyo
In Ningyocho/Suitengu area, the Tokyo Grain Exchange has a beehive of Japanese bees on the 7th floor of their building that you can see for free. You can see them quite close and not be afraid that they will sting you or anything, because it is just outside a large window pane. Kinda cool to think that there is a bunch of bees collecting nectar in the middle of Tokyo. The only glitch is that sometimes you can't see them because if the 7f is being used then there is no viewing.
***amachi Museum (***amachi Fuzoku Shiryokan)- small, fun museum to take kids to. Upper level has lots of traditional toys and things that kids can handle. Lower level has walk-in models of traditional homes and shops.
Ueno to Akiabara
There is a suburb of Tokyo called Ueno. It is a small suburb.
From this place, if you start walking by the railway line, it takes u nearly 1.5hrs to reach Akiabara the electronic town. On your way you can take a look at the markets on the street, where fresh sea food is sold. You will find many Indian and Pakistani shops on this road. On your way you can munch on different types of rice. Rice with plums in it is my hot favorite
There are such routes on many JR (Japan Railway) lines. Groups are seen moving around these circular tracks over night!!!
For me, a trip to Tokyo would not be complete without a stop at Shimojima, a discount home goods, gifts and stationery store. Note, the word 'discount' here is relative. We're still in Tokyo, remember, and almost nothing comes cheap.
At Shimojima, everything from cards to postcards to calendars to wrapping paper can be found. It is a 'wholesaler' so you can find wrapping materials and other items in bulk. Shimojima actually consists of six stores on one street. There are two mainly of interest as the rest are either redundant or cater to business owners. The floor directory of the main branch is:
1F - Seasonal goods, household items
2F - Office & Computer Supplies
3F - Stationery items
4F - Wrapping paper, bows, ribbons
5F - Household and Food-related Supplies
6F - Packaging Materials
7F - Hobby Items; dried flowers, stencils, etc.
8F - Decorating items such as posters, paints and display items
The Gift Shop contains the following:
1F - Seasonal and Character Goods
2F - Greeting Cards, Stickers, Bridal
3F - Japanese paper(washi), ribbons, wrapping paper
4F - Party Goods and Clocks/Watches
5F - Aroma Items, Candles, Miniatures
Location: East exit of JR Asakusabashi station or A3 exit of Asakusabashi subway station. Hang a left and the Shimojima stores will be up the street a short way. Note, they close early at around 17:30.
If you wander around Asakusa, Mukojima, Tsukudajima, Kita-Senju, Tsukiji, Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi you will come upon the smaller back streets known as ***amachi. These are the spots that can maybe give a hint of what Tokyo must have looked like in the old days!
Go to Yanaka for a stroll..... and you'd see even more quaint stuff. Very Japanese. Very cool. Like this quaint Edo House!