We were clueless about where to go. Figured that we’d just explore the areas nearby. Just minutes away from the Ueno Station, the bustling market, Ameyoko.
I’ve been to Ameyoko five years ago. Back then, I was young and not appreciative of what it had to offer, so I only had a brief walk at the market. This time, Reza and I spent close to two hours exploring it!
As put by Japan Guide:
Ameyoko (アメ横) is a busy market street along the Yamanote Line tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno Stations. The name “Ameyoko” is a short form for “Ameya Yokocho” (candy store alley), as candies were traditionally sold there. Alternatively, “Ame” also stands for “America”, because a lot of American products used to be available there when the street was the site of a black market in the years following World War Two.
Today, Ameyoko is a lively (as well as legal!) market, where you’d find hundreds of shops selling different things — from fresh produce, dried food, meats, fishes, seafood, clothing, accessories, cosmetics, toys and random items like massage chairs and golf clubs and balls.
[heading h=”h3″]Shopping at Ameyoko[/heading]
In front of the stores, you’ll see salespeople standing on stools, holding up cards and promoting their shops by yelling out loud. Unlike the men we see at our local pasar malam, here, the salespeople are likely men in workwear (think shirts, pants and formal black shoes) with hair neatly combed.
Generally, bargaining is non-existent in Tokyo, but here, it is apparently possible when shopping for produce, meats and fishes just before shops close down.
[heading h=”h3″]Things you can find at Ameyoko[/heading]
Fruits aren’t easily attainable in the city (unless you find a supermarket), so this is a great place to head if you want to buy some.
There were also various shops selling different types of dried food, from ingredients for cooking like seeds and spices to snacks like sweets and crackers.
I managed to get fresh green tea leaves from a store selling all kinds of green tea. The staff were all very willing to help and let me taste the different teas and once I’ve decided on the leaves that I wanted, the ojisan at the back packaged the leaves and sealed the bags. Didn’t know how cheap they were until I went to proper stores in malls later on.
At Ameyoko, you can find fresh seafood from the Tsukiji market. There were gigantic fishes, prawns and octopuses all at prices lower than we’d expected. Prices can be even lower before stores close down in the evening.
As for clothing items and accessories, there are things for the young and old — tops, dresses, pants, skirts, scarves, mink coats, socks, shoes — you name it.
We also noticed a lot of shops selling off-season sportswear at a bargain — you can expect to find pieces selling at one third of its retail prices. Looking at the tags, the clothes seem like the real deal …but when it comes to sports shoes, you may want to be extra careful when it comes to verifying its authenticity.
Ooh. There are plenty of shops selling cosmetics, supposedly for cheap. However, despite being discounted, the prices of cosmetics at Ameyoko are generally almost equivalent to the prices we pay in KL. I’m sure you’ll find good deals if you look thoroughly.
[heading h=”h3″]Final thoughts[/heading]
If you have time to spare, head on to Ameyoko. It’s the place to go to if you want to buy cheaper than average produce and dried food or if you want to have a try at bargain hunting. I’d likely return for more green tea leaves and seaweed!
Shops at Ameyoko usually open at 10:00AM and close at 7:00PM. Most of the shops close on Wednesdays. To reach Ameyoko, you can exit the Shinobazu Exit of Ueno Station and walk straight. Here’s how you get there: