Minato City has released a guidebook aimed to help foreign visitors better enjoy the experiences available in the central Tokyo district and deepen their understanding of Japan’s unique customs, manners and culture. "Minato City Guide and Etiquette," published by Minato City, has been designed to respond to a shift in the needs of inbound tourists in Japan from those that are consumption-based to those that are experience-based. The 64-page guide takes visitors through the geography of Minato City and how to get around the area, local cultural experiences, encounters with cuisine, shopping, and other information useful to visitors from overseas. This guide is available in English, Chinese (simplified), Korean, and Japanese.
Interviews with the people who live and work in Minato provide visitors with unique and practical insights into the city’s cultural and culinary experiences, including tea ceremony, public baths, getting a taste for "sushi" and traditional Japanese sweets, dining on "yakatabune" houseboats, and other experiences, many of which can satisfyingly be encountered in Minato City. By deepening understanding of Japan’s unique manners, customs, and culture, including smoking rules, safe bicycle use, and how to visit shrines and temples, the guide also aims to eliminate any confusion and anxiety felt by visitors and further enhance their experience of the city.
A PDF version of each section of "Minato City Guide and Etiquette" can be accessed via the respective URLs below:
- Cover, Table of Contents, Outline of Minato City, and Part 1: Travel far and wide through Minato City
- Part 2: Japanese experiences in Minato City
- Part 3: Trying Tokyo's contemporary cuisine
- Part 4: Enjoying Japanese shopping
- Useful travel information
Trying Tokyo’s contemporary cuisine:
Minato City’s guide helps visitors to explore the city’s vast diversity of dining experiences, explaining how to place orders, understand the culture, and smoothly get to grips with the table manners at different styles of restaurant. In the city’s Shimbashi district, visitors can sample the Japanese businessperson spirit and enjoy inexpensive "izakaya" (Japanese-style pub) dining in Tokyo’s leading business district where the "real work starts after 5 p.m.," or so some local workers like to joke.
The guide also introduces a variety of soba noodles from "seiro soba" noodles served on a bamboo steamer to "kake-soba" noodles in broth soup through insights. Minato City is the ideal place to try buckwheat soba noodles, much loved by Tokyoites since the Edo period (1603-1862). Restaurant owners and chefs across the city have been serving the noodles for generations and well understand the phrase, "true Tokyoites eat soba."
Akasaka is home to Minato’s famous "hana machi," a "geisha" (professional female entertainer) district where fancy "ryotei" Japanese-style restaurants offer visitors a chance to experience the essence of Japanese cuisine. Here, restaurant "Akasaka Asada" welcomes diners with traditional "kaiseki" multiple-course cuisine and beautifully furnished rooms. "We invite you to experience ryotei dining in a ‘tatami’ room. There are also geisha performances with singing and dancing for those looking to enjoy a Japanese cultural experience," Shota Asada, the restaurant’s representative director commented in the guide.
Information for having a safer and more pleasant trip:
"Minato City Guide and Etiquette" helps travelers stay informed during their time in Japan with information that includes an event calendar covering local culture activities, the locations of tourist information centers and the availability of guide services in the city, and details about other sightseeing tools. The guide also includes information about staying prepared during an emergency through the city’s multi-language disaster information e-mail service, among other emergency resources.
Copies of "Minato City Guide and Etiquette" are available at the following locations:
- Minato City Tourist Information Center Hamamatsucho Station
Address: Tokyo Monorail Hamamatsucho Station, 2-4-12, Hamamatsu-cho, Minato-ku
- Minato City Tourist Information Center Fudanotsuji Square
Address: 1F Fudanotsuji Square, 5-36-4, Shiba, Minato-ku