By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
If you only visit Tokyo’s most popular spots, you are likely to miss out on some hidden gems. So when you visit Ueno Park, go a little further than only a museum visit (although Ueno’s museums are excellent). Walk through Ameyoko Market from Ueno to Okachimachi Station and then keep going along the JR Yamanote Line tracks. After a few minutes you will reach 2k540 Aki-OKA ARTISAN.
2k540 Aki-OKA ARTISAN is the space under the tracks - 2k540 is a rail term showing the distance from Tokyo Station. The workshops and boutiques here are a great place to look for Japanese “zakka” items, handcrafted goods, and cute accessories. There are about 50 stores, all with a similar focus on well-made and often handmade goods. You can find textiles, leather bags and wallets, furniture made to order, hats, toys, umbrellas, and ceramics.
This is a fun place to explore on any day. Under the tracks, you are out of the sun or rain. Here are just a few of the fun shops to check out.
Nippon Hyakkaten (日本百貨店)
This shop’s name translates as Japan Department Store. It is not such a big shop, but it has a great selection of cute items from different regions of Japan. You can find toys, decorative items, bags, accessories, and selected foods in different designs and styles, all made based on traditional crafts. Browse the shelves. This store always has an interesting selection of items.
A-griffé (@-griffé 東京)
Here you can find one-of-a-kind handbags and wallets, some made from leather and others from paper. This line is made using pages from vintage magazines, books, and newspaper from France and Germany. The paper is coated and used instead of textiles to make bags, business card cases, and backpacks in a number of styles. Find your own unique one.
This store is all about umbrellas. If you always wanted an umbrella in a specific color, design, or size, this is the place to go. And the selection here goes far beyond just foldable models. One of Tokyo noble’s design is the Vegetabrella. This green umbrella comes in a cardboard box and folded up looks like like a head of lettuce sold at a fancy Japanese supermarket.
Besides the shops, there are also a few cafes here where you can rest. If you get hungry for more food, walk back towards Okachimachi. Under the tracks are ramen shops, restaurants, and bars. And a lot more places to eat are in Ameyoko Market on the other side of Okachimachi Station.
2k540 AKI-OKA ARTISAN
Open 10:00 - 20:30, with most shops open between 11:00 - 19:00. Opening hours differ between stores.
Located between AKIhabara and OKAchimachi Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
I will introduce more places for shopping in Tokyo over the next weeks. Click the link below to read this related article you might like: “Japan souvenirs - Shopping for Japanese tableware and knives in Tokyo” https://authentic-tokyo.com/news/detail?news_id=633