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The Best 19 Things to Do in Shinjuku (Shinjuku is Not Only a Town of Dyeing but Also of Printing)

Learn About the Printing Industry: Things to Do in Shinjuku

The tour 'Learn About the Printing Industry, a Local Business Nurtured in Shinjuku,' listed in 'The Best 19 Things to Do in Shinjuku.' Printing, along with dyeing, is a representative industry of Shinjuku Ward.

We introduce you to "Ichigaya Letterpress Factory" and the "Printing Museum," which are ideal for learning about printing technology. Although "Ichigaya no Mori Hon to Katsuji-kan" and the "Printing Museum" are not located in Kagurazaka, they are within walking distance from Kagurazaka. Therefore, if you book our 'Kagurazaka Walking Tour,' we will guide you to these places as well. Let’s learn printing technology with us.

In 1886 (Meiji 19), the predecessor of today’s Dai Nippon Printing, Shueisha, built a factory in Ichigaya Kagacho. This led to the concentration of publishing, printing, and bookbinding businesses around Ichigaya and Kagurazaka, making it a representative area of Tokyo.

Until the 1980s, letterpress printing was the mainstream printing technology. With the advancement of printing technology, offset printing became mainstream, but in Shinjuku Ward, the technique of letterpress printing is still inherited. Ancient bookbinding techniques such as "Watoji" are also precious craftsmanship that remains in Shinjuku.

"Watoji" is a traditional Japanese bookbinding technique using thread. Although Watoji originated in China, it has been made in Japan since the Heian period (794–1185) and became widespread along with printing technology in the Edo period (1603-1868).

Ichigaya Letterpress Factory

"Ichigaya Letterpress Factory (Ichigaya no Mori Hon to Katsuji-kan)" is a book-making cultural facility established by Dai Nippon Printing within the Ichigaya headquarters site in November 2020. The building, affectionately known as the "Clock Tower," has been restored to its appearance when it was completed in 1926 (Taisho 15).

The theme is "Real Factory," partially recreating the scenery of an old printing factory. Inside the facility, the design of characters (Shueitai), the process of casting type, printing, and bookbinding are exhibited. The operating state of printing machines and the work of letterpress craftsmen are also presented as dynamic displays. It is a printing house centered on letterpress printing and a workshop where you can experience the beauty, depth, and fun of printing.

The printing factory tour (guided tour inside the facility) includes very kind explanations from the staff. The printing factory tours are mainly held on weekends. Advance reservations are required, but I highly recommend them.

Address: 1-1-1 Ichigaya Kagacho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8001

Business Hours: 10:00–18:00

Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays (open on public holidays), year-end and New Year holidays

Admission: Free

Nearest Stations and Access:

  • Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Yurakucho Line, Ichigaya Station, Exit 6, 10-minute walk

  • JR Ichigaya Station, 15-minute walk

  • Toei Shinjuku Line, Ichigaya Station, Exit 1, 15-minute walk

  • Toei Oedo Line, Ushigome Kagurazaka Station, Exit A1, 10-minute walk

Printing Museum

The Printing Museum is a museum related to printing located in the TOPPAN Koishikawa Headquarters Building in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. Toppan Printing was established in 2000 as part of its 100th-anniversary project. The museum collects materials related to printing culture, conducts research activities, and offers hands-on experiences and educational activities such as letterpress printing.

In the print workshop, you can experience touching type and printing, view letterpress printing tools up close, and feel the 500-year history of letterpress printing. You can also perform typesetting work using type on dedicated work tables (composing tables) for letterpress printing experiences. The experiences use small tabletop letterpress printing machines.

The Printing Museum introduces not only Japanese but also world printing technologies and their history. The museum also exhibits woodblock prints such as ukiyo-e. Takahashi Kobo, which offers ukiyo-e-making experience tours, is very close to the Printing Museum. Learning the history and technology of printing at the Printing Museum and experiencing ukiyo-e making at Takahashi Kobo would be an excellent experience.

Address: 1-3-3 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8531, TOPPAN Koishikawa Headquarters Building

Business Hours: 10:00–18:00

Closed: Mondays (open on public holidays), year-end, and New Year holidays

Admission: Adults: ¥400

Nearest Stations and Access:

  • Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Edogawabashi Station (Exit 4), 8-minute walk

  • JR Sobu Line (East Exit), Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Tozai Line, Namboku Line, Toei Oedo Line, Iidabashi Station (Exit B1), 13-minute walk

  • Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Namboku Line, Korakuen Station (Exit 1), 10-minute walk

Book Experience

How to Access Kagurazaka

The Kagurazaka area is conveniently located within 30 minutes from any major station in Tokyo. This is because Kagurazaka is situated in the heart of Tokyo, at the center of the Yamanote Line. Please come and visit this convenient and charming Kagurazaka.

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