My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: November 5, 2019
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), various facilities around Tokyo may change their operating days or hours. In addition, some events may be canceled or postponed. Please check official facility or event websites for the latest updates and information.
Shotengai—these neighborhood shopping streets have prospered and grown with the residents who frequent them. From tasty, affordable food to offbeat fashion items to one-off souvenirs, discover the unique charms of Tokyo's different communities.
Note: The information given is as of August 2019.
Shotengai are integral to life in Tokyo, and today they're a big attraction for tourists, too. This section highlights three shopping streets, each with its own distinct character.
Ueno Ameyoko Shotengai attracts discount shoppers from across Japan and beyond. Lined with more than 400 unique stores, the 500-meter-long street is as lively now as it was at its inception during the period of reconstruction after the Second World War.
Inexpensive, delicious food are a given at Ameyoko. Hop from one store to another for seafood bowls, skipjack tuna flakes, and much, much more.
Minatoya Shokuhin Honten
This store's specialties are the 500 yen kaisen-don, a rice bowl topped with seafood straight from Tsukiji Market, and takoyaki (octopus dumplings).
This specialty grocer, which dates back to samurai days, offers a variety of high grade dried products from the sea. Among them is katsuobushi (skipback tuna flakes), an essential part of Edo food culture. Enjoy free servings of dashi-cha, a blend of dashi and green tea.
Ameyoko is full of affordable clothing of all types, but the most interesting destinations are stores specializing in one item like handbags, jeans...or military gear.
Nakata Shoten Ameyoko
This store specializing in military gear has something for everyone, from leather jackets to backpacks.
Another signature element of Ameyoko is the cosmetics stores and drugstores packed from wall to wall with a massive variety of goods. Customers are guaranteed to find what they're looking for!
At 1.3 kilometers, Togoshi Ginza Shotengai is Tokyo's longest shopping street. Home to many stores frequented by locals, it's an integral part of community life. The prestigious district was named after its pavement. The bricks of the pavement were transferred from the upscale Ginza district and repurposed here in the Taisho era (1912–26), which is how the area got its name.
A signature dish of Togoshi Ginza is the croquette, made in-house at some 20 stores. Pick up a shotengai map and do a croquette crawl! Creative varieties include the gyoza dumpling croquette and the oden croquette.
Nakamura Chu Shoten
This meat shop and delicatessen offers beef, pork, and chicken produced in Japan. Its specialty is a mashed potato croquette.
Togoshi Ginza is dotted with restaurants, grocery stores, and variety stores embodying the fresh sensibilities of their younger owners. These independent stores offer the sorts of unique products you just can’t find at chains.
This furniture store offers made-to-order items, interior accessories, original products designed by the owner, and DIY tools.
Any visitor to Togoshi Ginza should stop by Togoshi Ginza Onsen, which offers modern amenities and a bath of natural black hot-spring water. A towel and soap set is available for 100 yen, so it's okay to show up empty-handed.
Togoshi Ginza Onsen
The soft carbonated black hot-spring water with a pH of 8.6 is known to make skin smooth and beautiful. The facility features an open-air bath on the roof.
Sunamachi-Ginza Shotengai, or Sunagin for short, is a bustling shopping street that attracts 15,000 visitors even on a weekday. Fragrant with the delicious smell of prepared foods, it's a rare district with an old-fashioned atmosphere.
The best time to visit Sunagin is the 10th of each month. That's the time for Bakane-ichi, the "crazy cheap market." All prepared foods are sold for the fixed price of 100 yen. Other items, from clothing to daily necessities, are also marked down.
Oden hot pot, takikomi-gohan mixed rice, tempura, nikuman pork buns...Sunagin is lined with shops that offer everything from casual food stall cuisine, to delectable prepared delicacies. Taste each item as you stroll along, and find your favorite.
Hardware stores that carry time-honored home cooking utensils, and friendly dry goods stores that offer yukata gowns—Sunagin retains the nostalgic streetscape of the Showa era (1926–1989). This is the perfect place to hunt for charming souvenirs.
This variety store stocks a broad range of everyday Japanese items—essential kitchen utensils like aluminum pots and pans, magewappa wooden bento lunchboxes, bath buckets, brooms, and more.
This section highlights gourmet shopping streets lined with amazing restaurants and delicatessens—shotengai to visit when you're hungry!
Sugamo Jizo-dori Shotengai, a street of stores and stalls leading to a temple gate, is more commonly known as "Harajuku for grandmothers." Start your tour early, as many shops open around 9:00. Once you've worked up an appetite, try Sugamo's delightful Japanese cuisine.
Tokiwa Shokudo Honten
This restaurant takes pride in each of its carefully prepared dishes, featuring fresh ingredients sourced directly from the producers, freshly cooked rice, and nukazuke pickles made in-house.
This restaurant serves hand-kneaded soba noodles using fragrant buckwheat flour from various celebrated producers. Try the kiki-soba, a set of two servings of chilled noodles, made with different varieties of flour from different regions.
Azabu-Juban Shotengai, in the heart of Tokyo, is home to many restaurants that use exclusive ingredients, and many shops specializing in great, authentic takeout dishes. Enjoy a healthy gourmet lunch!
La Charcuterie Kamatsuda
This delicatessen, run by Chef Kamatsuda of Restaurant Kamatsuda, in Azabu-juban, offers authentic French takeout, catering, and bento boxes. Over 10 varieties of terrine are on offer, with ingredients are specially sourced from Noto in Ishikawa. The tarte Tatin and caramel apple sandwich are popular dessert choices.
Yanaka-Ginza Shotengai retains an old streetscape famous for its dreamy view of the sunset. The district has many delicious specialties, especially traditional Japanese sweets. Each item brings out the essence of the ingredients for a gentle flavor.
This cafe and Japanese variety goods store serves tea and cake made exclusively with ingredients sourced in Japan. Their mizu anmitsu is famous for its delicate appearance and jiggly consistency.
This confectioner specializes in sweets made with chestnuts sourced from Kasama, a city in Ibaraki. The menu includes yakiguri, chestnuts matured for a month and then cooked in a high-temperature pressure cooker, and Mont Blanc with the aroma and flavor of the chestnuts.
Jujo-Ginza Shotengai is lined with delicatessens that offer delicious, carefully prepared dishes at an affordable price. A mere 1,000 yen is more than enough to buy plenty of food for two. Visit this shopping street when you're hungry!
This meat shop specializing in fresh ground chicken meat also offers prepared chicken dishes. Popular items include the chicken meatballs—selling 10,000 pieces a day for 10 yen a piece—and the yakitori chicken grilled over high-grade binchotan charcoal.