Nihonbashi’s revival getting traditional lift

Kyodo News

New stores in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district that are offering traditional products have local businesses optimistic they can attract more tourists and boost a redevelopment project aimed at reviving the area.

The spots include a shop operated by Ninben Co., a manufacturer of dried bonito soup stock established in the 17th century, and a knife and blade shop run by Kiya Co. that dates to the 18th century. Both are tenants in the Coredo Muromachi complex, which opened last month near JR Tokyo Station.

Staff at Ninben’s shop offer miso soup and other dishes cooked with dried bonito stock at a minibar, as well as traditional desserts, and demonstrate the art of creating flakes from dried bonito.

On the same floor, a sweets shop operated by Hakuza Inc., the first store to debut in the complex, is serving up “kintsuba,” a sweet made of sweet beans coated in its mainstay decorative gold leaf.

In the past several years, the nostalgic district near Tokyo Station has seen new buildings and facilities — including the Coredo Nihonbashi complex and Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower — pop up ahead of the 100th anniversary of Nihonbashi Bridge, one of the capital’s best known landmarks.