located in the Ningyocho neighborhood
of Nihonbashi in Chuo Ward of Tokyo,
and is served by the Tokyo Metro
Hibiya Line and the Toei Asakusa
the Hibiya Line, Ningyocho Station
has two platforms separated by two
tracks - Track 1 serves passengers
traveling towards Ginza and Naka
Meguro Stations, and Track 2 serves
those going towards Ueno and Kita-Senju
Stations. On the Asakusa Line, Ningyocho
Station has an island platform between
two tracks - Track 3 is for passengers
going towards Nihonbashi and Nishi-Magome
Stations, and Track 4 traveling
towards Oshiage Station.
is a neighborhood of Nihonbashi
in Chuo Ward. Having escaped damage
during the Earthquake and the World
War II bombings, Ningyocho has retained
much of the mood and tradition of
Edo, or old Tokyo. Many of the original
houses and shops of the period can
also be seen in the area.
was originally under water in Tokyo
Bay, but was reclaimed during the
Edo period and turned into a market
place called Edojo. With time it
became an active entertainment area
for kabuki dance and puppet play.
Puppeteers from of all over Edo
moved into the area and since that
time have lived here – hence the
name Ningyocho (ningyo
meaning ‘puppet' or ‘doll', and
cho meaning ‘town'). A
famous puppeteer of Ningyocho, who
still lives here, opened a puppet
museum, which has become a landmark
of the area.
Museum was opened in 1996 by Jusaburo
Tsujimura, a puppeteer of Ningyocho.
It displays the art of puppeteering,
right from puppet making to actual
performances. On the first floor
of the museum, visitors can see
the whole process of puppet making.
A wide range of puppets made by
Jusaburo are also on display – right
from tiny ones made of shells to
realistic life-sized ones. Here
Jusaburo himself is present to answer
visitors' questions. Also on the
first floor is a small theater house
called Medamaza. Twelve realistic
life-sized dolls, representing the
twelve zodiac signs, adorn Medamaza,
where a doll dance show is held
every month. On the second floor
of the museum is the main exhibition
room, where all of Jusaburo's original
and best creations are exhibited.
Each of these puppets is made of
chirimen , a crinkly cloth,
and is wearing clothes made of traditional
material in various traditional
designs. Hairstyles of the puppets
are also all different with uniquely
designed ornamental hairpins. The
dolls' clothes, hairstyles, and
hairpins are all designed by Jusaburo
Tsujimura is an accomplished costume
and jewelry designer as well who
has also designed for films. He
has received many awards in puppet-making
and designing both in Japan and
Museum is located a few minutes
walk from Ningyocho Station. It
is open every day, except Wednesdays,
from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Entry
fee is 1,000 yen.
has a unique touch of Shitamachi,
the old Edo downtown atmosphere.
It has narrow streets with old-fashioned
houses, shops, restaurants, and
offices that date back to the Edo
period. Just walking through these
streets is an experience in itself.
Of special mention is the most famous
street of the area – Amazake Yokocho.
Yokocho stretches from Ningyocho
Station to Meiji-za Theater. The
street got its name from amazake
sake), whose shops were once all
over the entrance to the street.
Today walking on Amazake Yokocho
is like walking in old Edo. Its
small shops that date back to Edo
times, vary in merchandise – from
traditional clothes to tsuzura
(traditional lacquered bamboo basket-boxes),
and from goods and products
from all over Japan to restaurants
that serve traditional Japanese
food like beef katsu (
fried in breadcrumbs) and kyo-kasuzuke
marinated in sake lees) .
very popular food, for which Ningyocho
is famous, is Ningyo-yaki
Its shops can be found in abundance
not only on
Amazake Yokocho, but all over Ningyocho,
most of which date back to Edo times.
Ningyo-yaki are baked sweets made
of thin skins of eggs and sugar
with a filling of rich bean paste.
They are shaped like dolls, each
with a different face, which make
them all the more appealing.
is also known for the many fairs
that are held in the area. The best
known of these are:
Held from August 4 th to 6 th every
year, the Chinaware Market is an
annual clearance sale of the chinaware
wholesalers. Bargain hunters, both
locals and tourists flock the place
to take advantage of the sale.
Also referred to as the Radish
Fair , Bettara-ichi has
a history that dates back to the
1590's. On this annual event, that
is held every October 19 and 20,
stands selling bettara-zuke, or
pickled radish, line the streets
of Ningyocho. Pickle lovers from
all over Tokyo throng the area to
buy this traditional treat.
This fair is held between December
27 and 29, and sells New Year decorations
andtextile products at discounted