Feature: Ningyōchō

East of Nihombashi, towards the Sumida-gawa, is Ningyōchō (人形町) named after the dolls (ningyō) and puppets that were made here when this was a base for performing arts, including kabuki and bunraku. Kabuki is still performed at the neighbourhood's Meiji-za theatre. Locals like to make a mini-pilgrimage around seven of the area's small shrines, each dedicated to a different god of fortune.

Zone in on the charming shopping street Amazake Yokochō lined with age-old businesses and named after the sweet, milky sake drink amazake; you can sample it at Futaba, along with various sweet and savoury eats made from tofu. Also along here is colourful crafts shop Yūma, as well as places selling freshly made rice crackers and taiyaki (fish-shaped hot cakes stuffed with sweet azuki bean paste), another tasty local speciality.

There are also plenty of craft shops, food stalls, and atmospheric places to eat and drink in the area, including the venerable Tamahide, serving its signature oyakodon (chicken cooked in a sweet soy sauce with egg and served over a bowl of rice) since 1760, and old-school sushi restaurant Kizushi, occupying a building straight out of a wood-block print.

Feature: Bakurochō

The wholesale district of Bakurochō (馬喰町) has morphed into a hub for small galleries and craft shops. Zone in on the Agata Takezawa Building where you'll find Gallery aM and Art + Eat. The area is awash with a number of hip hostels with attached cafe-bars, too, as well as stand-alone third-wave coffee shops such as Bridge Coffee & Icecream.