By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Ameyoko Market feels like an outdoor market, but it is a collection of shops located next to the JR Yamanote Line tracks between Ueno and Okachimachi Station. And although all kinds of things from clothing to souvenirs are sold, food really is the main theme here. It’s a place that is fun to explore. Shops are also hiding in the side streets off to both sides, some literally under the train tracks. Ameyoko Center Building for example hides an Asian food market in its basement.
Did you spend your allowance on candy, chocolate, and snacks as a child? Then a visit to Niki no Kashi will be confectionery paradise for you. Every shelf and corner of the shop is filled with chocolates, cookies, and candy in all kinds of flavors, plus savory snacks like crispy Japanese senbei (rice crackers). Niki no Kashi usually stocks over 5,000 items and is located near the Okachimachi end of Ameyoko. It has two sections across the street from each other. Just in case you do not have enough space in your suitcase for your newly acquired stash, staff will help you box up all your treats.
Niki no Kashi (二木の菓子): 4-1-8 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo & 4-6-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo - http://www.nikinokashi.co.jp
Fun detour: The brightly colored Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple basically sits on top of one of the Niki no Kashi stores in a creative space-saving architectural solution that seems so typical for Tokyo. Walk up the stairs to the temple for a quick visit.
Do you want to cook authentic Japanese food like a real chef? Then check out Iseoto, a shop that sells everything that you need to make the perfect dashi stock, the key step of many Japanese preparations. Dashi stock will add that delicious umami flavor to your dishes that Japanese cuisine is famous for. This long-established specialist offers a wide choice of high quality dashi ingredients like bonito flakes, kelp, shiitake mushrooms, or dried niboshi fish.
Iseoto (伊勢音): 6-4-10 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo - https://www.iseoto.com
Getting tired or hungry? Explore the small eateries and bars among the shops serving sweets, fruit, seafood, and Japanese, Chinese, Korean and international dishes. More restaurants and izakaya (Japanese pubs) are hiding in the surrounding streets.