Tokyo Area Guide: Ameyayokocho アメ屋横丁
Ameyayokocho, often abbreviated to "Ameyoko," is a brash, bustling, loud, busy, cheap and colorful market district in the Ueno area of Tokyo, and is the main focus of Ueno and Okachimachi shopping. Ameyoko is where hawking aspires to street entertainment. The air rings to the cries of sellers of clothes, used golfing goods, fruit, sneakers, vegetables, fresh fish, tofu, confectionery and used brand watches. The conversations of passers by are not just in Japanese but almost every other Asian language.
Ameyoko began life as a black market mainly for sugary, sweet potatoes after World War II. Now it is a multi-cultural mix of cut-price open-air food stores, supermarkets, bars, restaurants and shops selling everything from rock-bottom anime DVDs, to cheap golf clubs and golf balls, trainers, suitcases, jewelry, and rock-bottom priced clothes. Ameyoko is one place in Tokyo where you can bargain.
Ameyoko is especially lively at dusk as shoppers seek discount vegetables, fruit, fish and sushi before heading home for dinner. Prices for fish and farm produce can be up to half those of supermarkets. Most stores close at around 7 pm.
Visit Ameyoko to capture the lively atmosphere of old Tokyo, as vendors entice prospective buyers with their gabbled sales patter and loud cries.
Ameyoko Center Building
The Asian foodstuffs floor on the B1 floor of the Ameyoko Center Building is famous, catering to the culinary needs of nearly all Asian countries, including China and South-East Asia. The shops here not only stock off-the-shelf foods, but there are fishmongers and butchers, too, selling distinctly non-Japanese-style fish, poultry and meat. Floors 1, 2 and 3 of the Ameyoko Center Building feature mainly small footwear and clothing shops.
Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple 摩利支天徳大寺
Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple is a small Nichiren Buddhist temple located amid the hubbub of Ameyoko, squeezed between adjacent branches of the huge Niki no Kashi confectionery store. Tokudaiji was probably founded around the mid-17th century and is fittingly dedicated to Marici, a bodhisattva of light and sunshine that in the Edo period came to be worshiped by merchants as a bringer of wealth and prosperity. The temple is an oasis of comparative calm in this raucous district. Open daily 9am-6pm. Read more about Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple.
Google Map to Tokudaiji Temple
There are a lot of street stalls and restaurants in and around Ameyoko featuring various Japanese styles such as izakaya, sushi, ramen, gyudon, okonomiyaki and teishoku. There are also ready-to-eat snacks like takoyaki, yakitori (chicken skewers) and pineapple pieces on sticks. Food from all over the world can also be found here, too, including Indian, Thai and Korean. Remember: the busier the restaurant, the more likely it is to be good.
South of Ameyoko, across the main Kasuga-dori Street, and a little west is the Ueno branch of the Matsuzakaya Department Store, and a little east—on the other side of Okachimachi Station—is a concentration of jewelry and gem retailers, large and small.
Hotels near Ameyayokocho
There are a few hotels in the surrounding Ueno district that are close to Ameyayokocho. Ueno is something of a down-market area, meaning that the hotels here are generally budget.
Hotel Parkside Tokyo is a minimal but comfortable mid-range hotel about 300 meters west of Ameyoko, overlooking the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park.
Hotel Marutani Annex is a budget annex of the Hotel Marutani, just a few minutes walk east of Ameyoko.
R&B Hotel Ueno-Hirokoji is another budget hotel about 300 meters south-west of Ameyoko.
Access to Yokoame is from Okachimachi station on both the JR Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku lines.
Naka-Okachimachi and Ueno-Hirokoji stations, on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya and Ginza lines respectively, are nearby.
Ueno-Okachimachi subway station on the Toei subway line is also nearby.
See a Google Map of the Ameyayokocho ("Ameyoko") area. Use the search box in the larger map to locate specific attractions.