Ameyokos top ten shops

New Year’s shopping means a trip to Ameyoko

Ameyoko’s top ten shops

Get all your New Year’s shopping over in one hit at Ameyoko Shopping Street, which stretches between JR Ueno and Okachimachi stations. Ameyoko, which first operated as a black market after the Second World War, is comprised of around 430 stores selling products ranging from food such as seafood and dried and cured foodstuffs, to clothing, shoes, sporting goods, jewellery and brand items. From around December 20 each year, shops in Ameyoko stock essential items for New Year celebrations. Regardless of whether you have shopping to do, Ameyoko is just a fun place to hang out and soak up the atmosphere. Shops are open every day until the end of December.

This year at Ameyoko, osechi (traditional New Year’s foods) such as kamaboko (fish cakes) and crab are about the same price as other years, while salmon, prawn and salmon roe are a little cheaper than usual. However, be prepared to pay a little more for herring roe, or kazunoko, which has a long history as an osechi food. Kazunoko is regarded as an auspicious food, so if you can’t do without you are best off buying several items at the one shop and negotiating a better price. Another trick is to wait until later in the evening just before the stores close when the shopkeepers will be practically begging you to take it home at a steal. Above all, in Ameyoko, the important thing is to enjoy your bargaining and the festive atmosphere while getting your shopping done.

The crowds peak between December 28 and December 31, with as many as 400,000 people passing through in one day. On New Year’s Day, only about 40 percent of stores will be open, returning to full trading hours by January 3.

Here are Time Out Tokyo’s picks for don’t-miss shops in Ameyoko.

For seafood try:

Kanejo Sanko Shoten. Inc

This store was founded by Yoshikazu Segami, the godfather of Ameyoko, known his role in helping to get the Tohoku and Jyoetsu shinkansen high-speed train lines to pass through Ueno. Ameko Sanko selection includes Hokkaido taraba King crabs, salmon, dried fish and fish eggs. From December 28, 2009 to December 31 Kanejo Sanko Shoten will be open every day from 5am, and will stay open until sold out on New Year’s Eve. Cash or credit cards are accepted.

Address: 6-10-4 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3831 2394

Ishiyama Shoten No. 3 Store

You can find this store at the entrance to Ameyoko Shopping Street, coming from the direction of Ueno station. Drop in here for tarako (salted cod roe), sujiko (salted salmon roe), and other kinds of fish eggs as well as blocks of salmon and tuna. The main store is located next to Ameyoko Sanko, while the No. 2 store is located inside Ameyoko Plaza and stocks crab and other delicacies. Cash only.

Address: 4-7-8 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3833 6668

For dried foodstuffs try:

Matsubaya Shoten

Celebrating 60 years in the business of selling beans, this store has an excellent selection including black beans, kurakake, adzuki red beans, soy and purple beans. You can’t go wrong with black beans at Japanese New Year as the word for bean, mame, also means health or strength. In fact, the word mame is used frequently in kabuki plays for example in the lines ‘mame ni kurase yo’ (Take care of yourself) and ‘anato mo mame ne’ (You’re a busy bee). Also available are other items such as shiitake mushrooms, dried konbu and wakame seaweed and dried fruit.

Address: 6-10-1 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3833 7577


This store specializes in katsuo bushi (dried bonito), often used to flavour broths and sauces, and as a topping on food. The number one selling item is hongare katsuo honbushi made from bonito caught in Japanese waters using hook and line fishing. This katsuo bushi is made using specially selected early season bonito hatsu gatsuo, which is best for making katsuo bushi. Seven or eight applications of a natural fungus are applied to the fish to help dry it out. Iseoto also sells bonito flakes and a range to sizes of flakes to meet your New Year’s cooking needs.

Address: 6-4-10 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (0120)10 8888

For sweets try:

Wagashi tukasa Okanoeisen souhonke Ueno ekimae store

With a shop record of selling 3000 daifuku sweets in one day, this the place to come for these popular rice cakes filled with bean paste. The shop artisans, practising a 130-year tradition, pound the rice, and adjust the sweet or savoury flavours of the bean paste filling depending on the weather or season. The daifuku here are made from silky smooth mochi with just the right amount of savoury flavour to compliment sweetness of the adzuki.

Address: Veritas Okanoeisen Bldg, 6-14-7 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3834 3331

For shoes try:

Yamaotoko Foot Gear-B

Sneakers are the go-to item at this shoe store. Browse the selection of hard to find Nike, Air Jordan and adidas sneakers, as well as other international and domestic shoes including basketball shoes such as AND1, Patricks and Onitsuka Tigers.

Address: Ameyoko Plaza No. 23, 6-10-7 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3833 5282

For army surplus items try:

Nakata Shoten

Stocking army surplus clothes and goods, leather jackets and other items, this has made a name for itself due to its wide selection and quality.

Address: 6-4-10 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3831 5154

For sporting goods try:

London Sports Ameyoko Store

You can’t go wrong with sportswear sold here at 60 to 80 percent off the original price. Have some fun rummaging through the mountains of clothing and shoes, in the cardboard boxes at the front of the store.

Address: Ameyoko Welcome Mall Green, 6-4-8 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3831 6849

For jewellery try:

Horiuchi Watch Shop

Watches, jewellery and lighters abound at this specialty store. Check out the large and reasonably priced selection of watches including domestic and international luxury brand watches such as Vacheron Constantin, Suunto and Seiko, as well as casual watches. With a watch repair service also available, you can’t go wrong.

Address: 6-4-7 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3831 9733

For a snack try:


Be prepared to wait for your gyoza dumplings at this shop located underneath the train tracks. Try the large size gyoza selling for four at 450 yen. Only counter seating is available, and the somewhat unfriendly atmosphere may discourage you from staying long, however, it is the perfect pit stop to fill a hungry stomach in the midst of a shopping expedition. Gyoza are also available for take-away orders.

Address: Ueno 6-10-14, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3832 0487

By Akiko Toya
Translated by E. Kavanagh
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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