SHOPPING in Taito
"Omiyage" are souvenirs that Japanese visitors buy for friends, family, and colleagues back home. Sweets and other foods are popular omiyage from Taito, a main hub for Tokyo travel. Check the specialties at local stores. Ueno Zoo has inspired many panda-themed goods and sweets. For something with a more traditional design browse craft shops and galleries in Yanaka or Asakusa. You can also pick up an “omamori” lucky charm from one of the many temples and shrines in Taito. Other excellent places to shop for souvenirs are museum stores and “shotengai” shopping streets like Ameyoko market, 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan, Yanaka Ginza, Kappabashi, and Nakamise.
Do you like to cook? Treat yourself to some quality Japanese kitchen tools and utensils. Imagine cooking with a beautiful knife that a sushi chef might use. At the specialty stores in Kappabashi you can find the sharpest cleavers, vegetables knives, and sashimi slicers. Professional chefs also come here to buy their tools.
"Zakka" means all sorts of things to use, from toys and decorative items to everyday tools and housewares. You can find cute, modern, and also traditional designs. Browse the zakka section at department stores or visit smaller shops and galleries.
"Shokuhin sanpuru" are the fake food samples that restaurants use to display their menu. Fake sushi, tempura, and desserts are made so well that they not only look realistic but actually tasty. You can see them at restaurants everywhere and buy them at specialty stores in Kappabashi.
There are many kinds of Japanese sweets. Some are made for a specific season and shaped like tiny pieces of art or flowers. Check the many specialty shops. You should try sweet steamed "manju" or deep-fried "agemanju" cakes, "yokan" jelly, filled "dorayaki" pancakes, or "dango"
Traditional Japanese clothing ranges from affordable second-hand to luxury items. Have a new kimono custom-made, or shop for clothes and accessories at second-hand and recycle stores. There are pieces for every budget, including silk "obi" belts, formal men's "hakama", and light cotton summer "yukata"
Making dolls is a traditional Japanese craft and famous shops have been selling dolls in the Asakusabashi area since the Edo period. Some dolls are toys and others are made for display. If you visit in time for the doll festival "Hana-Matsuri" in March, you can see big displays of dolls dressed in colorful formal kimono.
"Ningyo-yaki" are small cakes filled with "anko" (sweet red bean paste). Near Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa you can see them being made by hand. "Ningyo" means doll and many cakes are shaped like animals or anime characters. Other shapes include the big lantern at Senso-ji's Kaminarimon Gate.
"Senbei" are Japanese rice crackers. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and mostly savory flavors. Every maker has their own version and traditional flavors include soy sauce, sesame, and nori seaweed. At some shops you can eat a fresh senbei hot off the grill.
"Kaminari-okoshi" sweets are among the most popular souvenirs from Asakusa. See them being made near the Kaminarimon Gate at Senso-ji Temple. Crispy rice is mixed with sugar syrup and flavored by adding ingredients like peanuts, almonds, sesame, or green tea. "Kaminari" means thunder.