In contrast to modern, redeveloped areas like Shibuya, Yanaka retains the nostalgic atmosphere of old Tokyo with its wooden houses and streetscapes from decades ago. Known as a "cat town" where you can spot many felines, it's perfectly sized for strolling around sights like the Yanaka Cemetery.

The Yanaka Ginza shopping street has over 60 individual shops, bustling with local residents and tourists. You can enjoy diverse Japanese food culture here, from traditional cuisine and sweets to street food and casual izakaya pubs.

Yanaka encapsulates the charming appeal of a local Japanese neighborhood. To deeply experience this area, joining a guided food tour is highly recommended. This article introduces efficient food tours in Yanaka.

Tours for Solo Travelers

Yanaka Ginza: A Nostalgic Private Food Tour in Tokyo's Old Tow

A Nostalgic Private Food Tour in Tokyo's Old Town
Source: Peek Travel Inc.

If you're looking for a solo-friendly tour around Yanaka Ginza, "Yanaka Ginza: A Nostalgic Private Food Tour in Tokyo's Old Town" is recommended. This 4-hour tour is led by a professional guide well-versed in Japanese food culture and the Yanaka area.

The tour includes delicious desserts, snacks, and soft drinks, with optional tastings of croquettes (fried mashed potato), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), traditional Japanese wagashi sweets, and buckwheat soba noodles. It's a great way to deepen your understanding of Japanese culture through food.

Tour Details >> https://x.gd/gVNyu

Tokyo Old Town Nostalgia Private Food Tour Of Yanaka Ginza

Tokyo Old Town Nostalgia Private Food Tour Of Yanaka Ginza
Source: Cookly Official Site

If you want to leisurely enjoy the food culture in the nostalgic town of Yanaka while learning about its highlights as an old town, the "Tokyo Old Town Nostalgia Private Food Tour Of Yanaka Ginza" is recommended.

Meeting at 11am, you'll visit temples, the Yanaka Ginza shopping street, and Yanaka Cemetery before finishing around 3pm. Along the way, you can savor iconic Japanese cuisine like yakitori and wagashi sweets.

Tour Details >> https://www.cookly.me/ja-jp/do/2880-tokyo-old-town-nostalgia-private-food-tour-of-yanaka-ginza/in/tokyo

Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town

Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town

For those interested in history as well as food culture, the "Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town" is recommended. This tour allows you to learn about the history and culture of Tokyo's old town while strolling through areas like Nezu Shrine and the shop-lined Yanaka Ginza street, with opportunities to sample local foods and sweets.

A unique highlight is painting Maneki Neko ("beckoning cat" figurines believed to bring good luck) at an old-fashioned café. Covering both food and history over 3.5 hours, it's perfect for an immersive experience.

Tour Details >> https://www.magical-trip.com/product/460ceb6f-0099-47a6-a447-2de274da7e9f

Food Tours for Small Groups

Tokyo Old Town Food Tour in Yanaka Ginza

Tokyo Old Town Food Tour in Yanaka Ginza
Source: Tablecross Inc.

If you're looking for a food tour suitable for small groups like families or friends, "Tokyo Old Town Food Tour in Yanaka Ginza" is recommended. It accommodates groups of 2-10 people and lasts around 3 hours, including a lunch stop at a local restaurant.

You'll get to experience Japanese food culture at 6 different spots, plus a traditional tea ceremony. The professional guide will also take you to explore the local art community scene. Just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!

Tour Details >> https://www.byfood.com/experiences/tokyo-old-town-food-tour-in-yanaka-ginza-132

Tokyo old town nostalgia food tour of Yanaka Ginza

Tokyo old town nostlgia food tour of Yanaka Ginza
Source: ACTIVITY JAPAN

For those wanting to enjoy the food culture and tea ceremony around Yanaka Ginza, the "Tokyo old town nostalgia food tour of Yanaka Ginza" is a good option. This 3-4 hour tour accepts groups of 2-10 people, with a meal at a local restaurant included in the price.

A friendly, English-speaking guide will provide an in-depth experience of Yanaka's culture and history. First-timers to tea ceremonies and children aged 13+ are welcome.

Tour Details >> https://activityjapan.com/publish/plan/52146

Old Town Tokyo Food Tour

Old Town Tokyo Food Tour
Source: Viator

If you want to combine visiting temples, Yanaka Cemetery, and experiencing Yanaka Ginza's food culture, the "Old Town Tokyo Food Tour" is recommended. The 3-hour tour includes a “teishoku” lunch featuring Kyushu regional specialties, as well as a tea ceremony with Japanese wagashi sweets.  

You'll also explore the Yanaka Ginza shopping street, perfect for those interested in the old town culture, history, and traditional Tokyo lifestyles.

Tour Details >> https://www.viator.com/tours/Tokyo/Old-Town-Tokyo-Food-Tour/d334-31383P22

Exploring Yanaka Ginza on Your Own

Street Food

Niku no Suzuki

Niku no Suzuki
Source: Yanaka Ginza Official Site

The Yanaka Ginza shopping street has many appealing street food options. A top choice is menchi-katsu, deep-fried minced meat cutlets.

Niku no Suzuki started as a butcher shop 90 years ago but is now renowned for its delicious menchi-katsu. Their most popular item is the "Genki Menchi Katsu" made from 100% beef. For smaller appetites, they offer a mini menchi katsu size. Personally, I recommend the "Nasu Menchi" - menchi katsu sandwiched between slices of eggplant.

<Information>
Address: 3-9-15 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays  
Tel: 03-3821-4526
Hours: 10:30am - 6pm
Website: https://x.gd/XJSN7

Maruhatsu Fukushima Shoten

Maruhatsu
Source: Official Site

If you're craving seafood street food, Maruhatsu Fukushima Shoten is recommended. As they also sell fresh fish and other ingredients, the quality is superb. For street food, they have skewers with various grilled seafood items.

The grilled shrimp and scallop skewers are highlights - the scallops are brushed with a sweet-salty soy-based sauce. I'm personally a fan of their grilled oyster skewers too.  

<Information>
Address: 3-13-4 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Sundays & Holidays
Tel: 03-3822-2315  
Hours: 11am - 7pm
Website: https://ameblo.jp/maruhatsu55/

Yanakamanten Donuts

Manten
Source: Official website

Yanaka Ginza also has plenty of sweet street food options. Yanakamanten Donuts specializes in baked (not fried) donuts for a lighter, healthier treat.  

Recommended flavors include cinnamon and pumpkin. The donuts have a distinct sweetness that pairs nicely with coffee. Also try their unique "Nomu Karinto" - a smoothie made with traditional Japanese fried dough cookies and matcha, topped with whipped cream.

<Information>  
Address: 3-8-12 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Closed: Tuesdays
Tel: 03-3824-7624
Hours: 11am - 7pm  
Website: https://yanakamanten-donuts.com/english

Tamaru

Tamaru
Surce:Tabelog

For a taste of nostalgic Japanese street sweets, Tamaru is a must-visit. They specialize in "Chonmage Imo" - a Japanese sweet potato snack named after the traditional samurai topknot hairstyle.

The sweet potatoes are coated in black sesame without any additives for a simple, natural flavor. Skewered for portable eating, they make for the perfect snack while exploring the area.

<Information>
Address: 3-11-15 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo  
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday)
Tel: 03-5814-3460
Hours: 11am - 7pm
Website: https://x.gd/qac1q  

Sightseeing Spots Around Yanaka Ginza

Nezu Shrine

Nezu Shrine
Source:Official Website

Nezu Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Tokyo, with its 7 buildings designated as important cultural properties of Japan. It's especially famous for its stunning azalea flowers that draw huge crowds during the April blooming season.  

Many locals visit Nezu Shrine to pray, especially around New Year's and after the birth of a child. The long approach of vibrant red torii gates leading to the sub-shrines is quite a striking sight, giving a miniature feel reminiscent of Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.

Yanaka Cemetery

Yanaka Cemetery

Another recommended sightseeing spot near Yanaka Ginza is Yanaka Cemetery. Within its grounds are the graves of many notable political and cultural figures from Japanese history. With its abundance of trees including cherry blossoms, it provides a tranquil escape from the bustling city streets.  

As it is a cemetery, loud disturbances are inappropriate. However, visiting respectfully allows you to appreciate the historical stone monuments and serene atmosphere.


This article has introduced some of the best guided food tours to experience the culinary, cultural, and historical charms of Yanaka, a delightfully retro area away from Tokyo's famous modern neighborhoods like Shibuya and Shinjuku.

The Yanaka Ginza district featured on many tours is an especially great place to sample diverse local cuisine. Consider joining an efficient food tour to make the most of your time in this nostalgic "old Tokyo" neighborhood.