Have you heard of the “Little Tokyo on the Rhine?” It’s a slice of Japan in the middle of Düsseldorf, Germany. If you haven’t and/or are missing out on the nostalgia for Japanese culture, Little Tokyo has much to offer and is an authentic way to enjoy a taste of Japan right here in Germany. Here’s how we visited Little Tokyo on our brief visit to Düsseldorf, Germany.
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About Little Tokyo in Düsseldorf
Why is there a Little Tokyo in Düsseldorf, Germany? Düsseldorf has the third-largest Japanese community in Europe, partly due to its huge Japanese influence in the city. In the 1950s, Germany and Japan began growing a strong economic relationship, and many Japanese companies held their headquarters in Düsseldorf. As a result, many Japanese businessmen made Düsseldorf their second home. Additionally, it’s also helpful that there are weekly flights from Düsseldorf to Japan, making it easy to access for many.
How to Visit Little Tokyo
You’ll want to set aside at least half a day to a full day to fully immerse yourself around Little Tokyo; this doesn’t include visiting the temple located on the other side of the city. However much time you decide to explore this area, you’ll be sure to find some interesting stores and restaurants. Here are some ways to enjoy your experience in Little Tokyo during your visit to Düsseldorf.
Stroll Along Immermannstraße
The most notable street in Düsseldorf, where Little Tokyo is dispersed, is on Immermannstraße. Before you begin your stroll, try locating one of the street signs and you’ll notice that the signs are in both German and Japanese. This was the first thing I noticed when we started our stroll on Immermannstraße, near the train station. As you begin your stroll, you’ll find that on both sides of this street are rows of grocery stores, small shops, restaurants, bakeries, small eateries, comic book stores, and more waiting for visitors to discover.
Excursions to Check Out in Little Tokyo and Around Düsseldorf
Visit the Stores and Shops
As we made our way through the street of Little Tokyo, we took our time visiting each store and shop along the way, checking out what they had to offer. Each store is unique, offering many small knick-knacks and souvenirs. While some grocery stores may offer the same things the others offer, it was still worth the visit.
Additionally, my little one is obsessed with Anime, so it only made sense to check out the Manga stores. Sadly, the anime comics were only in German or Japanese, so nothing in English. It was still worth peeking inside and checking out the souvenirs they had to offer. Below are a few of the stores we visited. I won’t include food just yet; that will be mentioned later.
↠ Manga-Mafia Store: comic book/anime/manga store (only in Japanese and German)
↠ Bookstore Nippon Japanische Buchhandlung: This small shop had authentic books about Japan and crafts such as origami sheets and lanterns, cards, and more. I did see a few books in English.
↠ Kyoto by Japan Art Deco: this small shop has some of the most beautiful Japanese potteries and ceramics I have seen. They also have authentic Japanese slippers, chopsticks, a beautiful Kimono on display, cutleries, and many more souvenirs and gifts.
↠ Takagi GmbH – Books & More: This was by far our favorite manga store we visited in Little Tokyo. They had a variety of comics (sadly only in Japanese and German), posters, calendars, small trinkets and gadgets that I had not seen before, and many more. My little one found her chopsticks from here that were much cheaper than all the other stores and grocery stores we visited. I found my postcards here as well.
↠ Three grocery stores I will discuss further down below.
↠ I’m adding this home goods store to the list; even though it’s not centrally located in Little Tokyo, it is still nearby to walk to. MUJI is a minimalist Japanese retail shop selling clothing, home decor, and snacks.
Photos of several souvenirs from some of the stores listed above
Buy Authentic Japanese Souvenirs and Food Products
Speaking of souvenirs, there’s no way you can leave Little Tokyo without a little something. What I love about this area of Düsseldorf is that even though it still looks like Germany on the outside, the shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries all feel authentically like you are in Japan! The souvenirs, food, packaged food, potteries, and more are all 100% from Japan or made by locals who are from Japan!
My little one chose chopsticks made in Japan from the Manga store as her souvenir. I bought myself a steamer basket made in Tokyo from one of the grocery stores. We bought a ton of snacks and food, all imported from Japan. The beautiful potteries I was eyeing are stamped “made in Japan.” Additionally, the grocery stores and bakeries had packaged fresh Japanese food and baked goods made by the locals, who I assume are from Japan. Here is a list of some fun souvenirs to buy from Little Tokyo.
↠ Chopsticks you can find in any of the grocery stores or specialty shops that are made from Japan.
↠ Handmade Potteries, plates, ceramics
↠ Manga comics in German or Japanese
↠ Manga comics/anime posters
↠ Small gadgets from the little shops
↠ Tea sets
↠ Food and snacks (I’ve listed a few further down below)
↠ Bento Boxes and steamer baskets, I found some at Dae-Yang Asiatische Lebensmittel GmbH
↠ There’s so much more to list. You just have to look around and explore for yourself; and if something catches your eye and you love it, and you know you won’t be visiting Japan or Düsseldorf anytime soon, it may be worth the purchase.
Sample All the Foods!
Speaking of food, you won’t be disappointed with the food you find in Little Tokyo; it’s practically a food lover’s paradise! We bought a few food items from each grocery store, bakeries, and eateries to take home and try as we walked along Immermannstraße. It was almost like our own little food tour. Below is a list of stores/bakeries and the food we bought from each, as well as some of the places that were highly rated I had saved to my list to try, but we didn’t get a chance to due to time constraints.
↠ Melonpan and Anpan (Red Bean) pastries at Bakery Taka – this small family-owned bakery serves fresh baked goods, but hurry because they sell out fast! When we first arrived at 11 am, they had already sold out on many of their baked goods; however, when we returned a few hours later, they seemed to have replenished a few of their items back in stock. I also read reviews to try the matchapan, lemonpan, and their soft breads. Their melonpans (called this due to the shape of the bread, not the actual taste of melon) may be a bit pricey at around €2, but they’re still worth the try.
↠ Taiyaki at Bing Go: Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake, almost like a pancake, but with a filling of your choice, savory or sweet (if you desire). My family requested one with vanilla custard filling and another with Nutella.
↠ Bubble Tea at Sphere Bay Manga Café: Just right next to Bing Go is this Boba Tea shop. For once, my kids weren’t feeling the need to get Bubble Tea (shocking) because they were full from the Taiyaki. However, I had it on my list due to the reviews I had read. At Sphere Bay Manga Café, there is a self-order kiosk where you order your bubble tea and your drinks are made fairly quickly. I read that the service was pretty quick and the manga/anime decorations throughout the shop are neat to check out.
↠ Takoyaki at Takoyaki Teppachi: I had this restaurant saved on my list to order this ball-shaped Japanese street-food snack made of wheat flour and fillings inside. The word Takoyaki literally means “octopus fried,” so there are bits of octopus inside and other fillings of your choice. Though we didn’t get to try the Takoyakis at this particular restaurant in part due to the limited time we had at Düsseldorf, we have tried them before and they are quite tasty. The reviews online are also wonderful and the Onigiri is also highly rated here.
↠ Speaking of Onigiri, the grocery stores we visited all had packaged Onigiris with different fillings. These are rice balls shaped like triangles, wrapped in seaweed with fillings of your choice inside. The fillings include tuna mayo, salmon, teriyaki chicken, grilled salmon flakes and mayo, and many more. They’re great for on-the-go snacking and very convenient. Each grocery store had its own packaged version. Tains’ Asian Markt store makes theirs fresh.
↠ Endless Mochis of differing flavors can be found everywhere in Little Tokyo. We found ours at the grocery store, Shochiku, which were prepackaged and refrigerated.
↠ Grocery Stores to Visit: The three grocery stores we visited were wonderful and had various food items, potteries, and knick-knacks for sale not normally seen anywhere else. My advice is to look around and find something that interests you that you want to try and buy one or two of these food items and enjoy trying them! These were the three grocery stores we visited:
- Tains’ Asian Markt– much more organized and freshly made food-to-go. My husband bought 72% Cacao Kit Kats by the bag from this grocery store, which were delicious.
- Dae-Yang Asiatische Lebensmittel GmbH
↠ Discover the Art of Tea at ANMO ART/CHA: I had this on my list to visit, but the Google Maps link specified the store would be closed on our visit. It’s best to check their website for updates on their openings and closures. This small tea shop explores the art and culture of tea making. You can book a tea tasting for your visit. Additionally, they also display authentic tea ware, ceramics, and art displays.
↠ Finally, restaurants. There are many places and restaurants to try food in Little Tokyo, and ramen is very popular. I can’t attest to any of the restaurants because we didn’t get to have a chance to sit and eat at any of them. But, I will say that there were a few restaurants already lined up with people as we were leaving Little Tokyo and one of them was Takumi restaurant, which I read has some of the best ramen.
↠ For more options, some of the top-rated restaurants by Tripadvisor can be found here.
Tip: My advice is to look around and find something that interests you, whether it’s at one of the grocery stores, small restaurants, or bakeries, that you want to try and buy one or two of these food items and enjoy trying them!
Visit a Traditional Japanese Temple
On the other side of the city is the EKŌ-Haus der Japanischen Kultur e.V., a traditional, cultural, Japanese temple. Explore the grounds of the property and its beautiful gardens. You can access the inside of the temple at a low fee cost and admire the inside. Check their website for openings, closures, and special events. Unfortunately, the temple grounds were closed on our visit (holiday season after Christmas). Find their website here.
If you haven’t been to Japan or are missing the nostalgia of Japan, “Little Tokyo” on the Rhine in Düsseldorf is a fun alternative to explore and stock up on Japanese essential foods and goods. Japan has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, as I have heard many wonderful things about the country from countless folks who have been there, rating it as one of their favorite countries to visit and live in. Little Tokyo was a nice prelude and introduction to a small taste of Japan!
I wish we had more time to explore this fun, small area. I plan to add this part of Düsseldorf to my “return visit” list for a longer trip and to visit the Temple. There’s so much food to try and much more to discover in this little gem of Düsseldorf. Additionally, Düsseldorf itself is a fun city to explore.
Have you heard of Little Tokyo in Düsseldorf, and are you adding this to your list? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, friends! Bis zum nächsten Mal Freunde! 次回まで友達