In Tokyo, there are not only large department stores, but you will also find shopping streets featuring smaller stores. In this article you will find a selection of popular shopping streets where you will not only be able to buy daily products and a meal - here you will find attractive and fun shops as well!
1. Tsukiji Jogai Shijo shopping street
The Tsukiji Jogai Shijo (Outer Market) shopping street is the a shopping arcade located next to the largest market in the world, and it features a total of about 400 stores, including shops specializing in fresh fish directly bought from the market, cooking utensils, and restaurants. It is located within a 1 minute walk from Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Toei Oedo Subway Line, and from Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
This shopping street offers the lively atmosphere of the market combined with an attractive shopping experience, as here you can buy fresh ingredients, processed foods, kitchen utensils, and more. You will surely find products that you had never seen before in this shopping street! In addition, there are many restaurants where you can have sushi, kaisen-don (bowl of rice topped with sashimi), and ramen. Among these, you will also find restaurants with long lines, such as sushi restaurant Yamato Sushi and ramen restaurant Inoue. Some of the stores sell snacks too, which is nice if you want to enjoy something to munch on while you stroll about. Many of the shops open at 6:00 am and close around 1:00 pm or 2:00 pm, so it is a good idea to go early. Many stores are closed on days when the market does not open, so be sure to check in advance.
*Tsukiji Market is scheduled to relocate in November 2016, and a new market called Tsukiji Uogashi will be created. The Tsukiji Outer Market will stay where it is, but some of the stores may relocate or become annexed to the Tsukiji Uogashi market.
2. Sunamachi Ginza shopping street
The Sunamachi Ginza shopping street is located at about a 20 minute walk from Nishi-Oshima Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line. If you use the bus, you can reach it in 5 minutes, but it is rather difficult to access compared to other shopping streets. It is very popular, however, and it is characterized by its working-class traditional atmosphere that drifts about the 180 stores that it houses in its about 670 meters of length.
You can eat the foods you purchased right on the spot at many of the shops, so many people come from afar just to enjoy snacking while strolling about. Here you will find unique and delicious foods, such as the "charpin" (baked bun filled with minced meat and veggies) from Chinese restaurant Eishoen, the fried minced tuna cutlet from Tezukuri no Mise Sakai, and the specialty clam mixed rice with plenty of clams from Asariya-san. On the 10th of every month, the whole shopping street holds a sale event called "Bakane-ichi" (stupidly priced fair) in which all stores participate. The street becomes really crowded, but we still recommend visiting because you may be able to buy many things at very reasonable prices.
3. Akabane Ichiban shopping street
The Akabane Ichiban shopping street, located right next to JR Akabane Station, is the perfect shopping street for those who like drinking as many of the stores here offer alcoholic beverages from morning. The street is about 400 meters in length and it houses about 100 stores. The most popular shops include Marumasuya, which specializes in eel and carp dishes and opens at 9:00 am in the morning, and Maruken Suisan, an always crowded restaurant specializing in oden where customers can drink while standing. Maruken Suisan is especially famous for its oden (a Japanese stew) and for a special soup-like flavored alcoholic drink called "dashiwari", which they make by combining broth from the stew (broth made from kelp and dried bonito flakes seasoned with soy sauce and other ingredients) with Japanese sake. There are many other delicious restaurants in this shopping street. Make sure that you drop by to enjoy this shopping street where you can still enjoy the atmosphere of retro Japan!
4. Togoshi Ginza shopping street
The Togoshi Ginza shopping street is actually a combination of three different shopping streets, and is located near Togoshi Ginza Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line. This is famous for being the longest shopping street in Tokyo, and it is often featured on food-based TV shows and in magazines. The street is 1.3 km long and it houses about 400 shops, providing a lively atmosphere that over 10,000 people visit every day, even on weekdays. Here you can enjoy shopping for daily items and other miscellaneous goods, and also snacking. There are many stores selling croquettes, yakitori, sweets, and more, so you may find yourself unable to make a decision. If you are at a loss, why not try a warm croquette from Katabami Meat Shop. You should also definitely drop by Yakitori Ebisu, a store specializing in yakitori which offers outdoor table seats. You will be surprised at how much you can eat if you surrender to the delicious scents coming from the shops.
5. Yanaka Ginza shopping street
The Yanaka Ginza shopping street has a very traditional atmosphere and is famous for the spectacular view of the sunset that visitors can enjoy from the stairs located right in front of the street. Those stairs are known as "Yuyake Dandan," or "the sunset stairs." The street is 170 meters long, and it houses about 70 different shops. The juicy fried minced meat cutlet from Niku no Suzuki and the doughnuts from Yanaka no Shippo-ya, which are shaped like a cat's tail, are especially popular. You should also visit Amehiko - Edo Handcrafts, a shop specializing in folk handicrafts such as Edo windchimes (glass windchimes made following a method handed down from the Edo Period (1603 - 1868)), and chiyogami (square Japanese paper with colorful patterns). Here you will surely find lovely souvenirs! Take your time to stroll about and enjoy shopping in this shopping street!
It's located within a 5 minute walk from Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line, Joban Line, Toneri Liner, and Keisei Line.
When you go to a shopping arcade you may notice that most of the shops do not have menus in foreign languages, but this should not pose a problem, since you can just point at the products that you would like to buy. If you are snacking while strolling about, make sure to observe the etiquette, such as being careful not to inconvenience fellow pedestrians and no littering. Enjoy!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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