Monday, February 21, 2011

MUST TO VISIT #11 : Ameya-yokocho in Ueno

Ueno "Ameya-yokocho"  is one of oldest shopping streets in Tokyo.

Once you are outside of Ueno station (central exit), you will soon see a small street with a lot of people and shops just across the road. You will see the noticeable  arch as in the picture above. This is where Ameya-yokocho starts.

Ameya-yokocho has been the central of shopping and dining in Ueno, that attracts not only tourists but also local people.

 "Ame" in Japanese stands for candies, and "yokocho" stands for an alley or a small street.
The street was named to have these names as candies were traditionally sold there.

On the other hand, "Ame" also stands for America, since there were also a lot of American products sold at the black market after the WWII. Even though black markets existed in other parts of Tokyo, the Amea-yokocho is the only market which remained today.

Even though Ameya-yokocho is rather old, and there aren't any modern features or shops, there still remains a good lively atmosphere of the traditional market.

There are a lot of stores, where you can buy a variety of thigs from fresh seafood to snacks to bags to jewellery to leather jackets to trainers. There are also restaurants and game archades. Products are sold relatively cheaper than any other areas of Tokyo.

Shops open around 8am, and close at 9pm. Some shops may close on holidays but they mostly open throughout the year.

Ueno Ameyoko (abbreviation for Ameya-yokocho) has been popular among foreigners living in Tokyo, since they can buy imported products at a reasonable price, which is not available anywhere else in Tokyo.

If you ever travel with the Yamanote Line, just jump off at Ueno station, then walk through the Ameyoko.

Explore the old market, you may find something you've never found anywhere else in Tokyo...!

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