Discover the Shotengai

While Tokyo is known - and loved - for its hustle and bustle, its neverending energy,its skyscrapers, and its high-end shopping and dining options, some might say there is more charm to be found in the local shopping streets.

Called shotengai, these traditional lanes can usually be found near train stations, and are filled with mom and pop shops, friendly eateries, and plenty of other interesting stores and services.

They are also filled with warm smiles, personal stories, and a strong sense of community and history.

In Shinagawa, there are 104 shotengai in total, each of which has its own unique personality.

Their old-school buildings make a striking contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers of this busy business district, and the characters you'll meet here will remind you that there's more to Tokyo - and indeed, Japan - than suits, trains, and robots.

Browse the many interesting shops and restaurants, and stop in at those that catch your attention.

You can taste some of Japan’s most celebrated foods such as sashimi, soba noodles, deep-fried tempura, and ramen.

You can also find delicious sweets from traditional Japanese confections to more modern Western-style treats.

Sip on delicious coffee or green tea while you take an afternoon break, and hit the shops for souvenirs or gifts.

Highly recommended is handmade washi paper, beautiful calligraphy sets, and local sake or shochu.

Lastly, be sure to stop by one of the game centers, and treat yourself to a relaxing massage - now that’s a perfect end to a perfect day.