Ueno Tokyo – Ameyokocho’s open air street market
Ameya-Yokochō or Ameya alley is an open-air market in Ueno Tokyo Japan and is basically across the street from to Ueno Station.
Ameyoko is an amazing place to visit giving you that comfortable shopping and market area. This is not a place to shop for high end brands but more for your average sports shop clothing, seafood and vegetable markets, food kiosks and even a few pachinko parlors and game centers.
The following is how I see Ameyoko and by no means is a travel guide what so ever!
Arriving at Ueno station you will exit into a beautiful spacious area with a few souvenir shops, a bakery, and even Ueno’s Hard Rock Café. There is also a little shopping area but to be honest I when I have walked through I mostly ignored it. There is a Starbucks available at the front of the station, a flower shop and small convenience store.
Once outside Ueno opens up for all to see. Straight ahead you will notice the Marui department store which is worth a visit. Inside the first 4-5 floors are basically Marui’s store floors but after that you can visit the popular store “Loft” which to me is a great place to buy stationary. Going up further is an express “Nitori” which is basically a housewares store. I do recommend coming here as you can find many interesting things to pick up especially their “cool” brand of sheets and pillows. The material keeps you cool in the summer and it truly is a cool thing. Check out this video for more…….https://youtu.be/Hj0FqTKIyTw
Ameyokocho offers many small streets that crisscross north to south and East to West. It is basically a grid of amazing shops and vendors. Here is a basic map of the area.Instead of trying to inform you of every available store, I will try and inform you of a few great places to visit while shopping in this area and let you explore many different options to your preferences.
Drinking places are abundant in Ueno. Of course, I will always recommend The Hub British Pub as it truly is my favorite place to drink and socialize. There are 3 locations in the Ameyokocho area. The 1st one is to the east of the Marui department store which is my least favorite due to being a smaller venue. The 2nd is to the south in the heart of Ameyokocho which has been relaunched in April 2018 doubling the space and offering a separate smoking room. The 3rd being closer to the red-light area of Ueno again a basement area dwelling but with a great atmosphere. There is also a Kirin City pub and many more stand up style beer bars all over Ameyokocho.
Eating in the area is truly a great place to experience all kinds of different vendors from Takoyaki to kebabs, Chinese and tons of Japanese vendors too. What you do not really see in the area are actual street food carts. This is something of a rarity actually and if you do come across one it will usually be during a special weekend or holiday.
As for shopping, there truly is way too much to actually list and is way more fun to explore for yourself. I will say though shopping for fresh seafood and fruits is way cheaper than buying from a grocery store and bartering can be done and can be a fun challenge at times. You can find authentic green tea shops and snacks to many sports shops like London Sports that offer a variety of really cheap bargains. Shopping at London sports is a fun way to look for bargains as they seriously pile all their inventory in huge cardboard boxes for customers to rummage through. From t-shirts and pants to shoes and hats London sports is a must visit to experience bargain shopping.
In the middle of Ameyoko is an actual small mall under the train tracks stretching from north to south. It truly is a unique area and does offer so much. Clothing stores are a plenty as well as jewellery and perfume shops. This is where you can also find the best candy sweets store in Tokyo in my opinion. Here s a video referencing this store.
Along with this store there are a few other stores that offer great snack foods and some international foods.
Once the night falls upon Ueno, it truly takes a drastic change in dynamics. All the outside style izakayas open up and fill up quickly with salarymen trying to escape the work stress of the day. A loud buzz can be heard from all small alleyways which makes it almost as inviting adventure in Japanese culture.
In a nut shell, I could write everything I know about Ueno listing every shop, restaurant and market place but what fun would that give to you as the reader without being able to explore for yourself when visiting Tokyo. Just make sure you plan to book a day in Ueno as not only can you visit this mjor tourist shopping area, but also Ueno park has a lot to offer from the zoo to museums.
Just down the road with a 15 min walk is Akihabara and to the west is Tokyo University area.
If you ever come to Tokyo, please let me know as I would love to join any visitors (especially those that follow me) and hopefully show you around. Yes, beers must be involved also.
I hope my view points helped you to decide visiting Ueno and Ameyokocho and as always “keep it real ya’ll”
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