An In-Depth Guide to Ameya Yokocho, Tokyo’s Famous Shopping Street
Stretching from JR Yamanote Line’s Ueno Station to Okachimachi Station, Ameya Yokocho is a famous shopping street in Tokyo. Below is a guide on how to enjoy this place, where you can dine on delicious food and go shopping for great-value deals.
What is Ameya Yokocho?
The area stretching from JR East’s Okachimachi Station to Ueno Station is a vibrant shopping arcade filled with around 400 shops of different genres. This area is called Ameya Yokocho, or just Ameyoko for short. Housing a wide array of dining and drinking spots that will let you easily eat while walking, and shops where you can get a hold of seafood, fruits, sweets, cosmetics, apparel, and other products at reasonable prices, Ameyoko is a famous food and shopping spot that is visited by throngs of locals and tourists each and every day.
When is the Best Time to Visit Ameyoko?
Ameyoko is a bustling area that is constantly packed with people. If you want to go there at a time when it's not so crowded, then it would be best to visit on a weekday morning, arriving just before the shops open. Note that the place is the most busy on Saturdays and Sundays due to the people visiting the nearby Ueno Park. Try to think of that lively activity of wading through throngs of people as one of the joys of sightseeing, so you can enjoy it. Note, though, that Ameyoko is busiest at the end of the year. Starting December 28th, expect it to be choked with crowds of people buying ingredients for their food for the New Year’s holidays. You will have to bump into people in order to move forward, and you will hear people shouting "It’s only for 1,000 yen!" everywhere. Don’t bring a suitcase or stroller when you come at this time of the year because you won’t be able to walk if you do. Still, you can enjoy the unique year-end vibe at Ameyoko if you exercise the right manners and pay attention to the flow of people.
You can get to Ameyoko mainly from JR’s Ueno Station and Okachimachi Station. There are also many subway lines that stop near Ameyoko. Note that each exit in the station leads to a completely different place, so make sure to check the right train and exit.
JR Ueno Station, Central Ticket Gate
JR Okachimachi Station, North Gate
Tokyo Metro Hibiya/Ginza Line, Ueno Station Exit 5B
Hibiya Line, Naka-okachimachi Station/Ginza Line, Ueno-hirokoji Station Exits A2/A5/A7
Toei Subway Oedo Line, Ueno-okamachi Station Exit A7
Keisei Electric Railway, Ueno Station Front Gate
1. Enjoy Shopping
Ameyoko is packed with shops selling food, souvenirs, cosmetics, accessories, miscellaneous goods, apparel, and a whole lot more! With many bargain-priced products, you can enjoy shopping for a wide range of products at affordable prices. There are also plenty of shops selling fresh seafood, making this place extremely busy at the end of the year with people coming from faraway places in search of affordable ingredients for their food for the New Year holidays. Even if you don't buy anything, it is a lot of fun just looking at the atmosphere of this busy street!
Chocolates at Bargain Prices at Shimura Shoten!
The Chocolate no Tatakiuri (bargain sale of chocolates) is one of Ameyoko's most well-known events. Shimura Shoten is popular for the spectacle of its shop staff selling bags filled with various sweets, mainly chocolates, that are usually worth 2,500 JPY, while shouting “1,000 yen! 1,000 yen!”
Overwhelming Volume of Sweets at Niki no Kashi!
Niki no Kashi is a massive candy shop that boasts the largest selection of sweets in Japan. This shop is so crammed with sweets that there’s probably no candy you can’t find here. However, it does not only sell candies, as it also offers a wide array of other food products, such as instant foodstuff and seasonings. Bulk shopping will get you a better deal, so it is the perfect shop for buying sweets and candies as souvenirs.
Stop by Chinmido for Dried Fruits, Nuts and Delicacies
Chinmido is a shop that sells natural food products including dried fruits and nuts, as well as various seafood products (rare items and snacks). This shop manages to offer reasonable prices because it buys in bulk. The walnuts and almonds sold here are particularly popular, so try some for yourself!
※Photo is for illustration purposes
Grab Some Discounted Sporting Goods at London Sports
London Sports boasts the largest product inventory in the entire Ameyoko area! Inside, it almost feels like a bargain sale with huge boxes filled to the brim. You can buy sporting goods at surprisingly dirt-cheap prices, at 60-80% off (and sometimes even up to 90% off!) on certain items. They will even give you a members’ card that will let you enjoy a 10% discount on your next purchase. If you’re buying an expensive product, you can purchase something cheap first just to get the members’ card and then use that card to get a discount on that major purchase. It may be hard to find the exact item that you want, but this shop is definitely a good choice for those who are looking to buy stuff at bargain prices!
Check Out Silk Road Cosmetics for Value Deals on Cosmetics
Silk Road Cosmetics is a famous shop where you can buy cosmetics from first-class brands at affordable prices. You can even find cosmetics made by famous brands at less than half of their original prices! You can also be assured that the cosmetics they sell here are all authentic products from the leading brands. This shop carries a wide array of skincare products and cosmetics, as well as perfumes and hair care products. There are three outlets inside Ameyoko, so make sure to check them out.
２. Savor Delicious Food
There are many shops offering meats, fish, fruits and other fresh produce in Ameyoko, and a lot of these shops sell food that you can easily eat right there at the storefront or while walking around and enjoying the view of this dynamic shopping street.
Eat Menchi and Croquettes at Niku no Oyama
There are a lot of street foods that you can eat while walking in Ameyoko, but the shop that is especially popular for this kind of food is Niku no Oyama. Here, you will find display cases filled with rows of freshly fried foods such as croquettes and menchi katsu (fried ground meat patty). It is directly run by a meat wholesaler, and you can also enjoy the food with alcohol and snacks inside its shop! Make sure to try this shop’s specialties: Yamitsuki Menchi (120 JPY (excl. tax)) and Yamitsuki Croquette (60 JPY (excl. tax)).
Eat Skewered Fruits at New Fruits
Ameyoko is home to many shops selling fruits and vegetables. The well-established New Fruits sells sliced fruits on skewers, so you can eat the fruits on the spot.
※Photo is for illustration purposes
Try the Takoyaki of Nanchan
There are also several takoyaki (octopus dumpling) shops in Ameyoko. At Nanchan, you can get 6 pieces or 12 pieces of takoyaki at the shockingly low prices of 250 JPY (excl. tax) and 500 JPY (excl. tax) respectively! Minatoya Shokuhin, a kaisendon (seafood bowl) restaurant that is featured below, is also famous for serving delicious takoyaki.
Eat Kaisendon at Minatoya Shokuhin
Ameyoko, home to a long list of shops that sell fresh seafood, is naturally also home to a lot of seafood and sushi restaurants. Minatoya Shokuhin is particularly popular for its extremely cheap but delicious kaisendon. Here, you can eat a bowl of Tekkadon (raw tuna rice bowl) with a generous serving of tuna at just 500 yen. This shop has been featured in various types of media, so it is quite popular.
Dine on Yakiniku at Ueno Taishoen Ueno Ekimae Branch
Ameyoko is also known as a famous spot for yakiniku (grilled meat), so it is only natural that you will find a lot of yakiniku restaurants here. One of the most popular yakiniku joints is Ueno Taishoen Ueno Ekimae Branch, a veteran shop that enjoys rave reviews from customers. You can eat yakiniku lunch for as low as 930 yen (incl. tax)) here. The Tokusei Gyusuji Curry (780 yen (incl. tax)), a dish of high-quality Japanese beef sinew that is stewed for a long time, is a unique offering of this restaurant.
3. Enjoy Alcohol
There are also a lot of izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) in Ameyoko. This area is always crowded with people, including tourists, so there are many izakaya that are open for drinking from lunchtime and on through the night, characterized by their reasonable prices.
Motsuyaki Daitoryo Shiten for Roasted Innards
If you want to soak in the ambience that is unique to Ameyoko, then the stall-type Motsuyaki Daitoryo Shiten is a great choice! It is an extremely popular joint even in this area that is known as a hot-spot for izakayas. This spot is so famous that the counter seats often get filled as soon as the izakaya opens. Its specialty, the motsuyaki (grilled innards), comes at low prices that start at only 180 JPY for two sticks. Pair your food with Japanese sake or shochu (Japanese distilled liquor), and enjoy!
Drink While Standing at Takioka
Takioka is a super famous tachinomi (drink while standing) bar where your 1,000 yen can buy you some delicious food and drinks. Their snacks are so cheap! This bar opens at 7:00 am all year round. It has a great ambiance that will make it easy for you to casually drop by for a drink in the middle of your sightseeing trip. Note that this bar adopts a "cash-on" style for payment, in which you need to pay money every time you order. As you keep drinking, eventually the line of small bowls on your table will make you look like a connoisseur!
Standing right in front of Takioka is Tachinomi Kadokura, a standing-style bar you can also enjoy for just 1,000 JPY. It is affiliated with the famous yakiniku restaurant Taishoen in Ueno, so it also offers delicious food at reasonable prices. Inside the izakaya, there is a space for drinking while standing, as well as space if you want to sit (200 JPY per seat/reservation required). This shop also adopts a cash-on style for easier accounting.
With this article as a reference, try to add Ameyoko into your sightseeing itinerary in Tokyo!
*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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