Enjoy the Summer Edo-Style at ECO EDO Nihonbashi



Enjoy the Summer Edo-Style at ECO EDO Nihonbashi


Summer in Japan, especially in Tokyo, is hot. Since ancient times people have been coming up with ways to keep cool in the summer heat with traditional activities like water cruising and goldfish watching.

Many of these activities originated during the Edo Period (1603-1868) in what used to be the capital's mercantile center, the district of Nihonbashi.
Nihonbashi Bridge, Tokyo
Nihonbashi Bridge

Literally meaning 'Japan Bridge', Nihonbashi developed around the bridge with the same name and was the thriving center of the shitamachi, the downtown area where rich merchants lived during the Edo period. This is where Tokyo's fish market was before moving to its current location in Tsukiji (soon to be moved to Toyosu). Nihonbashi is also the birthplace of Japan's first department store, opened by one of the wealthiest merchant families: the Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi, which is still standing to this day.
The pont at the center of Nihonbashi Bridge

Interesting fact: the center of Nihonbashi bridge is actually the point from which all distances to the capital are measured. This plaque is at the center of the bridge and there is also a reproduction on the pedestrian side that can be admired safely.
In recent years the district of Nihonbashi has been promoting summer events inspired from its Edo tradition and the whole area takes on a new, beautiful look from June to September. So wear your yukata and grab your paper fan, here are the best Edo-style summer activities at ECO EDO Nihonbashi!

Feel the Breeze and Explore the Bay on a Nihonbashi Cruise

Tokyo Bay cruise from Nihonbashi
One of the best ways to stay cool in the summer is to stay close to the water. Nihonbashi Cruise offers various boat tours, all starting from the dock right next to Nihonbashi Bridge. When the boat enters the Tokyo Bay you'll be treated to unique views of the skyscrapers of Tsukishima, the Rainbow Bridge and even a spot that allows you to see the Sky Tree and the Tokyo Tower at the same time. The tours don't require a reservation, they can be easily arranged at the Nihonbashi Information Center, right by Nihonbashi Bridge.

In summer they also have special sunset tours and firework tours. These are the only ones that require an advanced reservation.
Nihonbashi Cruise Dock

Here's the Nihonbashi dock, right next to the bridge. The cruises available vary in length and price. Regular cruises are 1,500 yen for 45 minutes, 2,000 yen for 60 minutes and 2,500 yen for 70 or 90 minutes. Please check the website for special cruises info and prices. Discounts are available for elementary school students.


Nihonbashi Cruise | 日本橋クルーズ
Address: 1-9 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (MAP)
Access: 3 min. walk from Exit B6 of Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hanzomon lines / 5 min. walk from Exit B12 of Nihombashi Station on the Tozai line and Toei Asakusa Line
Website (Japanese only):


Stroll Through Goldfish Lanterns and Fireworks in Naka-Dori Street

Goldfish lanterns at Naka-dori Street

Naka-dori street is an area between the COREDO Muromachi 1 and COREDO Muromachi 2 department stores. Hosting several shops and restaurants, this road was given an elegant Edo period feel. During the summer event it gets decorated with giant lanterns featuring a goldfish motif. At night the street is lit up to resemble a river, and fireworks reflections are projected onto it, along with the sound of fireworks and water flowing.
Naka-dori Street is between Coredo Muromachi 1 and 2 in Nihonbashi

You'll find yourself in a little oasis among the skyscrapers and modern buildings. In the picture above is one of the lovely tourist guides of the Nihonbashi Information Centre.


Naka-dori Street | 仲通り
Event period: July 6 to September 24, 2018
Show time: 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Access: 3 min. walk from Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hanzomon lines / 5 min. walk from Shin-Nihombashi Station on the JR Sobu line / 8 min. walk from Nihombashi Station on the Tozai line and Toei Asakusa line (MAP


Stay Cool Watching Thousands of Goldfish at the Art Aquarium

Super Oiran - Art Aquarium 2018

Goldfish was introduced in Japan from China in 1502, during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). In the Edo period, samurai and rich merchants started keeping them in ponds at their estates as ornamental fish. They eventually became more accessible to the public and in the late Edo period there was a goldfish boom. They were portrayed in Ukiyo-e prints, on kimono patterns and furniture. To this day goldfish represent coolness in the summer.

The exhibitions at the Art Aquarium are themed after this tradition. The main area, a wide, dark room is filled with glass structures of all shapes and sizes, hosting thousands of goldfish and carps. Dreamy lights and sound effects play in the background and you get lost in the colors and the soothing movements of these creatures. A lot of Japanese concepts and traditional crafts are incorporated in the exhibitions, including Edo-kiriko cut glass and Kutani porcelain bowls where beautiful species swim leisurely.
Nihonbashi Art Aquarium 2018

The place is packed with installations, however it is not very big. You can easily visit the entire exhibition in less than an hour, but of course you can take all the time you want. Being a limited event there might be times where it gets crowded and you might need to wait to enter. I visited on a weekday afternoon and there was no line to enter, however the exhibition inside was quite crowded.


ECO EDO Nihonbashi Art Aquarium 2018 | ECO EDO 日本橋 アートアクアリウム 2018
Event period: July 6 to September 24, 2018
Hours: Art Aquarium 11:00am - 7:00pm, Night Aquarium 7:00pm - 10:30pm (11:30 on Saturdays and before national holidays on July 15, August 10, September 16 and 23)
Entrance fee: Adults 1,000 yen / Children (4-12 years old) 600 yen
Address: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall (Coredo Muromachi 1, 5F) 2-2-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (MAP)
Access: 3 min. walk from Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hanzomon lines / 5 min. walk from Shin-Nihombashi Station on the JR Sobu line / 8 min. walk from Nihombashi Station on the Tozai line and Toei Asakusa line


Feast on Summer-Themed Food, Drinks and Souvenirs

Goldfish soda, Eco Edo Nihonbashi

Hundreds of stores are participating in ECO EDO Nihonbashi by providing limited edition summer-themed items. Wandering around the stores you'll find all kinds of sweets, drinks, and traditional Japanese souvenirs with a goldfish motif.

Pro tip: some of the shops offer special presents to people that are wearing a yukata or present the Art Aquarium ticket. Participating stores are marked with a special furin, a Japanese wind chime.


Event period: July 6 to September 24, 2018
Click here for a map of the participating stores (Japanese only).

Walk Through a Path of Dreamy Wind Chimes at Fukutoku Shrine

Fukutoku Shrine, Nihonbashi, Tokyo

Right next to Naka-dori, Fukutoku Shrine was established in the 9th century and holds a stark contrast with the tall commercial buildings that surround it. Fun fact: today many people visit the shrine to pray for good luck in the lottery.
Wind chime path at Fukutoku Shrine, Nihonbashi

This summer the path that leads from the shrine to the neighboring Fukutoku Garden is lined with over 190 Edo-style wind chimes. They are each handmade in bright colors, and they tinkle soothingly in the summer breeze.

If you're visiting Nihonbashi on a weekend, head over to the Fukutoku Garden for the ART AQUARIUM Summer Festival. You'll get the chance to see some traditional bon dances and goldfish scooping!


Fukutoku Jinja Shrine (Mebuki Inari) | 福徳神社(芽吹稲荷)
Address: 2-4-14 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (MAP)
Access: 1 min. walk from Exit A6 of Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hanzomon lines / 1 min. walk from Shin-Nihombashi Station on the JR Sobu Line

ART AQUARIUM Summer Festival
Event period: July 20 to September 2, 2018

Wind-Chime Forest Path
Event period: July 6 to September 24, 2018
Enjoy the Summer Edo-Style at ECO EDO Nihonbashi ■Complete your Edo summer experience with some Edo style sushi while watching a traditional Japanese performance!
◇Theater-Style Restaurant Suigian in Nihonbashi

This is a place full of interesting history. If you want a feel of the Edo culture in a modern and stylish setting, join the locals in Nihonbashi for a break from Tokyo's infamous summer heat!


ECO EDO Nihonbashi | ECO EDO 日本橋
Event period: July 6 to September 24, 2018

Nihonbashi Information Centre | 日本橋観光案内所
Address: 1-1-1, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (MAP)
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm

About the Author
Laura is an Italian living and working in Tokyo. She loves exploring hidden and unknown places, taking pictures and listening to Punk Rock music. When she’s not busy doing the above, she might enjoy a craft beer or play the sanshin (an Okinawan instrument similar to a shamisen).

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