Once you’ve touched down in Tokyo, you’ll be dying to dive into the city and wondering where to go first and what you absolutely ‘must’ visit. Tokyo combines tradition and modernity, and this cosmopolitan mix is best enjoyed on the city’s typical streets.
Ueno Amekoyo Shotengai, Togoshi Ginza Shotengai and Sunamachi Ginza Shotengai are three of the most traditional and unusual. On them, you’ll find all kinds of knickknacks and delicious local snacks for you to enjoy on your next trip.
A stroll down Tokyo’s most authentic streets
This street is really something quite special. It has a traditional atmosphere and a selection of shops selling all kinds of things. You’ll also find local food experiences and restaurants selling Tokyo’s specialities, and there’s no shortage of shopping opportunities – along the 500m street, there are over 400 different establishments.
Ueno Amekoyo Shotengai has several restaurants where you can try Japanese delicacies at a very reasonable price. You can find one of the most important ingredients in Japanese gastronomy, katsuobushi, with which the famous seafood dish kaisedon is prepared. This street is also where you’ll find food shops Minatoya and Iseoto. In the former, you can try takoyaki (octopus buns) and kaisendon (rice bowl topped with fish) made with fish fresh from the Tsukiji market and, in the latter, honkare-katsuobushi, or high-quality dried tuna.
There’s also a good selection of clothes shops, as well as cosmetics and perfume shops, and other shops selling everyday products that make great low-cost gifts to take home.
Togoshi Ginza Shotengai
At almost 1.3km, this street is the longest shopping street in Tokyo. It’s an ideal spot to really get familiar with Japanese culture, as it’s where the local residents go to do their shopping. This is a shotengai (shopping street) with history – it was built during the Taisho period with bricks from the Ginza (silver mine), which is why it’s known as Ginza Shotengai.
It’s also famous for being a mecca for homemade croquettes that you can sample in almost 20 different establishments, as well as for having a varied selection of gourmet food shops, and a number of restaurants owned by young people with excellent taste. Finally, it’s also home to the Togoshi Ginza Onsen, natural black water thermal baths with very pleasant modern facilities.
Sunamachi Ginza Shotengai
This popular shopping street is also known as Suganin and is visited by around 15,000 people each day. This street is also a shotengai, with the same smell of food from various vendors and authentic Tokyo atmosphere that you’d expect from one of the most traditional neighbourhoods in the city.
Any traveller has an unmissable appointment with the Bakane-ichi market. It has a sale on the 10th of each month with discounts on all its products. Traditional dishes are on sale for just 100 yen, and this is where you’ll find oden (hotpot), cooked rice, tempura, and nikuman (savoury buns), among other food stalls and, of course, some great places to pick up a souvenir to bring home.