Nihonbashi: The Bridge at the Center of Japanese Commerce *RERUN
Tokyo's Chuo District, facing the ocean. Roughly 4 kilometers from the harbor, spanning a tributary river flowing into Tokyo Bay, is the bridge of Nihonbashi. In the center of the bridge is the road origin marker. All the roads connecting Tokyo to cities across Japan begin here. The area around the bridge has long flourished as a center of Japanese commerce. Wonderful old culture and traditions remain in this town. This is a story of Tokyo's Nihonbashi area.

The Statues of Legendary Creatures on the Bridge

The current bridge of Nihonbashi was rebuilt more than 100 years ago. The statues above the bridge are mythical beasts known as "kirin." They are known as creatures of good fortune. With the wish that Nihonbashi's prosperity would spread from this land where the roads start, to the whole of Japan, wings were attached to the statues.

The First Department Store in Japan

A journey around the long-established shops of Tokyo's Nihonbashi. We head to the first department store in Japan. 350 years ago, this shop started out as a kimono shop. Within 30 years, business grew rapidly. The secret to its success was this umbrella. Although cash transactions at set prices are the norm today, in fact, this was an innovative sales method started by this shop. The results were clear. With a set price, even women could shop alone without fear of getting ripped off. Because of that, the consumer base grew larger, and the shop has now grown to a top-class department store in Japan.

Cleaning Up the Bridge of Nihonbashi

Every July there's an activity that all the townspeople come out for. It's the cleaning of the bridge of Nihonbashi. But for the children, it's a perfect opportunity to play in the water! The symbol of Japan's center is polished thoroughly as well. Nihonbashi, Tokyo, witness to more than 400 years of Japan's business history.