Ameya Yokocho - Ameyoko, Tokyo
Unless you own a bank, forget about shopping in feashionable districts like Shinjuku and Roponggi. Since I am not too keen on belting out the song ," HEY BIG SPENDER" and filing for early bankruptcy, I looked around for flea markets and found this interesting place.
Nice thing about here is that you'll see lots of little shops selling food, clothing and groceries, most of which are 30-40% off of regular prices.
For more pictures, check out my travelogue.
What to buy: Freshly cooked rice topped with delicious fatty salmon roe! Delicious !
What to pay: You shouldn't spend more than $10 on this.
There are some very cool stores in Ameyoko. It litterally means: American Alley. Dates back from the Post WWII days when lots of black market goods could be found.
I found some very cool shirts and souvenirs. It's not the best place for electronics though.
What to buy: Not much black market but more cool clothes, accessories bargain on luury goods.
What to pay: Less than average
An entire street filled with shops. There are shops that sell food, but also shops that golfclubs.
Japanese people come here to buy cheap ingredients for festive dinners.
What to buy: Many shopkeepers were shooting 1000 Yen, 100 Yen. Depending on what they sold per piece or kilo.
It is the shopping street that you can't miss. Everything here is cheap and you can find all the different kinds of things you wish to get in Japan. From food, rice crackers, seafood, souvenir, clothes, etc... you can't miss it when you pass the whole street area.
What to buy: Be sure to look out for a special kind of food, hotatebei. A type of preserved clam, delicious and juicy. Other are the rice crackers at the stop near the end of the street, they sell a big bag around Yen 500.
What to pay: I bought quite a number of stuffs and I only spend less than Yen 5000. Fully worth the trip.
For shopping of a different type (i.e. traditional and not in a typical shopping mall), take the train to Ameyoko area. This street market lies between the JR UENO station and Okachimachi JR station. You can start your walk from one station, walk through the whole market & catch a return train from the other station/.
At stalls you will find an interesting display fresh seafood - white & brown cuttlefish, white scallops still on their shells, small and large prawns, slabs of fresh tuna and salmon (thinking of sashimi yet?), orangey pink crab claws which are extraordinarily long (check my pics). You will also find many stalls which sell dried cuttlefish, seaweed (local and Korean), salt dried anchovies, varieties of cuttlefish snacks and more.
If seafood is not your thing, you might enjoy having a look at the fruit stalls selling varieties of fresh local and imported fruits. In the lanes close by, there are stalls selling military style pants & tunics for adults, second hand Rolex watches & other jewellery, children's clothing. If all this shopping tires you out, you can rest your feet by dropping by at the nearby sushi and ramen noodle shops for a little bite. For sushi, look for the sign which says "138 Yen" - this means that all sushi coming off the conveyor belt are at a fixed price of 138 Yen. I managed to polish off 6 plates in one seating. :-)
Nearby here, there are a number of large department stores as well.
What to buy:
seaweed & dried seafood snacks is always a popular choice as souvenirs for your friends back home.
They have deals, such as buy 5, get 1 free, etc.
You can usually have a taste before you buy.
The Ameyoko Market in Tokyo, located along and under the Yamanote Line tracks, is one of the city's busiest and more traditional markets. Its original name was "Ameya Yokocho," meaning candy store alley, are area's original specialty. This market was also one of the city's black markets following World War II.
Today the area is well known for its clothing shops (specializing in leather, outerwear, hats, and shoes) as well as food, including meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs.
Also in the area of the market, visitors will find many inexpensive hotels, even some of the tiny capsule hotels for which Japan is famous, numerous Japanese restaurants, and even a traditional Buddhist temple.
The first and second pics shows a reasonable shopping crowd along the eastern side of the railway viaduct.
The west side is overcrowded on a weekday on 30-Dec (which is the golden holidays week) and it is impossible to shop for anyway except to keep watch that you don't get pick-pocket.
On the east side, we managed to buy of couple of Converse shoes which is much cheaper then it is in my own home country.