A Tour of Tokyo's 10 Most Unique Shopping Streets



A Tour of Tokyo's 10 Most Unique Shopping Streets


Shopping in Japan can be a real treat. Being a big metropolis, Tokyo comes with plenty of options for a fun day out. My personal recommendation is to skip the big chain department stores. Instead, why not visit a shotengai for a more traditional experience? A shotengai is a street in Japan filled with shops and restaurants. Each one is unique, so come along with me as I show you some of the best shopping arcades in Tokyo!

Togoshi Ginza

Togoshi Ginza

First on our list is Togoshi Ginza, famous for being the longest shopping street in Tokyo at 1.3km long. The atmosphere here is laid back and residential. You'll meet all kinds of people going about their everyday life and chatting with the friendly shopkeepers. Here you can enjoy some of the tastiest street food Tokyo has to offer.  

Togoshi Ginza Shotengai

Keep an eye out for Gin-Chan, the official mascot of Togoshi Ginza. You'll see statues of him welcoming you along with merchandise everywhere. 

Togoshi Ginza Shotengai

Croquettes are a popular food in Japan and here in Togoshi, they are the signature treat. Many shops have their own version so try a few while on your walk.

Togoshi Ginza Shotengai

Don't be afraid to explore. There are so many little shops offering a variety of sweets and treats. I found these adorable animal donuts. They were so cute I didn't want to eat them!

Togoshi Ginza Shotengai

Just off the main road you will find Togoshi Hachiman Shrine. It is a peaceful oasis of nature where you can take a break and enjoy the tranquility. 


Togoshi Ginza | 戸越銀座
Access: short walk from Togoshi Ginza Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line. 2 min. walk form Togoshi Station on the Toei Asakusa Line.
Street Food Adventure at Togoshi Ginza, Tokyo's Longest Shopping Road ■Read more about Togoshi Ginza on DiGJAPAN!
Street Food Adventure at Togoshi Ginza, Tokyo's Longest Shopping Road

Asagaya Pearl Center

Asagaya Pearl Center

Next, we dive into a more local street. Asagaya Pearl Center is just a stone's throw from the bustling Shinjuku. You'll find everything from sweets shops to butchers to clothing shops and everything else in between. Along with the shotengai, Asagaya is known for its abundance of jazz bars, music events and festivals. 

Asagaya Pearl Center taiyaki

Definitely stop for a sweet treat at Tomoean, where you can see the making process of these red bean-filled sweets.

Asagaya Pearl Center oden

Check out Kamajyuu Kamabokoten and enjoy some oden. Normally a winter dish, here it is served all year. The owner loves to chat and is just as warm and welcoming as the oden he serves.

Asagaya Pearl Center yakitori

Grab some delicious meat skewers on the go at Inageya. I recommend the chicken tenderloin and bell pepper ones.

Asagaya Pearl Center Tanabata

In August Asagaya Pearl Center hosts the Tanabata festival. Huge papier-mâché puppets are exhibited along the street by the shop owners. Truly a unique sight.


Asagaya Pearl Center | 阿佐ヶ谷パールセンター
Access: short walk from Asagaya Station on the JR Chuo and Sobu lines.
Experience the Neighborhood Culture in Tokyo: Mingle with the Locals at Asagaya Pearl Center ■Read more about Asagaya Pearl Center on DiGJAPAN!
◇Experience the Neighborhood Culture in Tokyo: Mingle with the Locals at Asagaya Pearl Center

Sugamo Jizo-Dori

Sugamo Jizo-dori Shopping Street

Time to slow things down a bit at what is affectionately called 'Grandma's Harajuku'. This shopping street in Sugamo is particularly hip with the elderly. Here you'll find a lot of more traditional shops in a lively retro atmosphere. The local temple holds a small festival on the 4th, 14th and 24th of each month where the street fills with vendors. Don't be intimidated, there is much to see for all ages.

Togenuki jizo(Arai Kanon)

A lot of people visit the local temple to perform Arai Kannon, a ritual where you wash a statue of the goddess in the parts of the body that you wish to heal. 

Sugamo Jizo-dori Shopping Street red underwear

A hot item in the shops here is red underwear! The color red is associated with energy in Japan and red items are a popular gift to the elderly.

Sugamo Jizo-dori Shopping Street  shio daifuku

Try shio daifuku, a traditional sweet that originated here. This pounded rice cake filled with sweet bean paste is perfectly balanced with just a dash of salt.

Sugamo Jizo-dori Shopping Street  Senbei

The local shopkeepers are friendly and energetic, willing to speak slowly and chat with the clients. It feels like life goes at a slower pace here.


Sugamo Jizo-dori Shopping Street | 巣鴨地蔵通り商店街
Access: 5 min. walk from Sugamo Station on the JR Yamanote Line. 2 min. walk from Koshinzuka Station on the Toden Arakawa Line.
Discover Grandma's Harajuku! 9 Things to Do in Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street ■Read more about Jizo-dori on DiGJAPAN!
◇Discover Grandma's Harajuku! 9 Things to Do in Sugamo Jizo-Dori Shopping Street 

Tateishi Shotengai and Nakamise

Tateishi Shotengai and Nakamise

I think we're ready to dig a little deeper into the old Tokyo. Next stop is Tateishi, a semi-unknown gem. Retaining an atmosphere from the old shitamachi, this charmingly old district hosts two shopping streets right next to the station.

*Shitamachi is the area of Tokyo where the common people, merchants and artisans lived during the Edo period (1603-1868).

Tateishi Shotengai and Nakamise2

Get some cheap fried dumplings or grilled skewers on the go and watch the locals still haggling for the price at the grocery store.

Tateishi Shotengai and Nakamise3

The whole area has a retro feel that makes you wonder what year it is. The local toy shop has old mechanical games outside.

Tateishi Shotengai and Nakamise4

The local specialty is motsuyaki (roast giblets). Squeeze into one of the tiny restaurants and enjoy this delicacy elbow to elbow with the chatty locals.

Tateishi Shotengai and Nakamise5

The author of the manga series Captain Tsubasa was born here. You will find statues of the characters scattered around the area.


Tateishi Eki-dori Shotengai | 立石駅通り商店街
Access: short walk from Keisei Tateishi Station on the Keisei Oshiage Line.

Tateishi Nakamise | 立石仲見世
Access: short walk from Keisei Tateishi Station on the Keisei Oshiage Line.
Digging Deep Into The Old Tokyo: Tateishi ■Read more about Tateishi on DiGJAPAN!
◇Digging Deep Into The Old Tokyo: Tateishi


Ueon Ameyoko

Since we're now experts at navigating Tokyo's shotengai, let's hop over to Ueno and stroll down one of the most lively shopping streets, Ameyoko. Here you'll see people digging for bargains, shopkeepers screaming for attention, and the Yamanote line cruising over your head.  


Popular with both locals and visitors, you can find some great deals here on clothing, fresh foods, and imported goods.


There are many food stalls that let you get a quick bite to go. Recharge and get back to shopping!


Looking for something a bit healthier? Stop by New Fruit. This popular stall sells fresh fruit on a stick. Simple snacks are the best!


If you need something a bit more filling I recommend grabbing some takoyaki (octopus in fried dough balls) from Minatoya.


Ameyoko | アメ横
Access: short walk from JR Ueno Station

Yanaka Ginza

Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street

Now, lets change our pace and take a stroll down Yanaka Ginza. A short walk from Nippori Station, this shotengai has a nostalgic atmosphere that takes you back to the Edo period. The shops here offer unique souvenirs and are on the cheaper side. During your trip be sure to socialize with the many cats that roam the street!

Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street 2

The feline residents are very popular and many shops sell cat-themed goods. Unique and cute, a perfect gift to represent Yanaka Ginza. 

Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street 3

Oh, and you can also find cat-themed sweets! Aside from being delicious, they are also great for pictures.

Ueno Sakuragi Atari

At Ueno Sakuragi Atari you can take a trip back in time. The buildings were built in the Showa Era (1926–1989) and include a beer hall, bakery, event space, and even a shop specializing in olive oil.

Yanaka reien

The close by Yanaka Cemetery is a popular spot for strolls. It is particularly beautiful in spring and autumn and the surrounding temples are also worth a visit. 


Yanaka Ginza Shopping Street | 谷中銀座商店街
Access: 5 min. walk from Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line. 3 min. walk from Sendagi Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.
Take a trip back in time at Ueno Sakuragi Atari ■Read more about Yanaka on DiGJAPAN!
◇Take a trip back in time at Ueno Sakuragi Atari
◇Turn the Town into Your Hotel When You Stay at hanare in Yanesen

Azabu-Juban Shotengai

Azabu-Juban Shotengai Imagawa-yaki

While we're exploring the Edo period, let's move on to Azabu-juban. This stylish district is a mix of old and new shops with a refined classic feel. Close to Roppongi, you'll find the neighborhood to be more upscale hosting traditional shops. There are also many events and festivals in the area so be on the lookout. 


Give Imagawa-yaki a try for sweet cakes filled with a variety of fillings. If you're visiting on the weekend expect a line. This is a popular stop! 

Dumbo Doughnuts and Coffee

Loved by Japanese girls,  Dumbo Doughnuts and Coffee is tucked away in a back street. The Arabica coffee is from Kyoto and the doughnuts are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Nico Donuts

Speaking of doughnuts, Nico Donuts are healthy and simple Made with a high quality soy paste. They are a must try!

Naniwaya Taiyaki

If you like taiyaki (fish-shaped sweets filled with bean paste) then don't forget to pay a visit to Naniwaya. They are said to be the original maker of this popular dessert. 


Azabu-Juban Shotengai | 麻布十番商店街
Access: 1 min. walk from Azabu-juban Station (Exit 7) on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line and the Toei Oedo Line.
Website (Japanese-only):

Nakano Sun Mall

Nakano Sun Mall

Again, a quick hop from Shinjuku and we find ourselves in Nakano Sun Mall and out of the Edo period. Filled to the brim with shops and restaurants, you'll find some good deals in this lively street. Despite its name, Nakano Sun Mall is completely covered so even on rainy days you can enjoy this shotengai!

Nakano Sun Mall Shotengai Bonjour Bon

You can't come to Nakano Sun Mall without trying Bonjour Bon's legendary maple melon pan. The crunchy crust and the sweet, creamy filling are just incredible. 

Nakano Sun Mall Shotengai oyaki

This oyaki stand at the entrance of the shopping street is another favorite. You won't be able to resist the smell - and the price! These pancake-like sweets are packed with sweet and salty fillings from only 120 yen a piece.

Nakano Broadway

The shopping street ends right into Nakano Broadway, the popular mecca for anime, manga and game lovers. Don't miss the retro underground mall!

Nakano Sun Mall Shotengai2

Nakano has a lot to offer. Be sure you explore the surrounding alleys as they are packed with restaurants, bars and entertainment. There is also a nice park nearby if you need a break. 


Nakano Sun Mall Shotengai | 中野サンモール商店街
Access: Short walk from Nakano Station on the JR Chuo Line, JR Sobu Line and Tokyo Metro Tozai Line.
Nakano Broadway, a Charmingly Retro Subculture Mecca in Tokyo ■Read more about Nakano on DiGJAPAN!
◇Nakano Broadway, a Charmingly Retro Subculture Mecca in Tokyo
◇Order a Cocktail from a Monk at Vow's Bar in Nakano


Tenjin-Dori Shotengai

Tenjin-Dori Shotengai

We're almost finished with our tour but first we have check out Tenjin-dori. This is the hometown of the creator behind the popular anime and manga GeGeGe no Kitaro, Mizuki Shigeru. You'll see his characters line the streets along with about 50 shops and a cute little shrine along the street. Together they give this shotengai a countryside feel.

Tenjin-Dori Shotengai GeGeGe no Kitaro

Find all the statues of Kitaro and his friends! They are scattered along the main street. 

Tenjin-Dori Shotengai GeGeGe no Kitaro2

You'll find a lot of GeGeGe no Kitaro souvenirs and sweets. They are unique to Tenjin-dori so be sure to pick some up if you're a fan!


Try the unusual fillings of Seifudo's daifuku. The pounded rice sweets come in flavors like coffee and strawberry milk.

Fuda Tenjin Shrine

At the end of the shopping street is the vast Fuda Tenjin Shrine. You can get GeGeGe no Kitaro fortune-telling papers here (I got 'excellent luck'!). 


Tenjin-dori Shotengai | 天神通り商店街
Access: 2 min. walk from Chofu Station on the Keio Line

Asakusa Chika Shotengai

Asakusa Chika Shotengai 1

Finally, we end our trip with a wondrous gem hiding in plain sight in the touristy Asakusa. Here we find Japan's oldest underground shopping street. Surrounded by a retro Showa Era feel, you'll be browsing under old stained ceilings and a maze of pipes. Vintage signs cover the walls in this 50+ year old underground street. The place might look intimidating, but don't worry! The atmosphere is very warm and friendly.

Asakusa Chika Shotengai 2

One of the entrances to the underground shopping street is right inside one of the touristy arcades by Sensoji Temple. You'd never think of going in! 

Asakusa Chika Shotengai 3

The nostalgic Showa-style restaurants will take you back to the past. Expect to see some locals laughing and joking enjoying food and drink.

Asakusa Chika Shotengai 4

They say that the prices here have also stopped in the Showa Era. You can find many haircut places for 1000 yen in Tokyo, but this one is only 700 yen!

Asakusa Chika Shotengai  Fuku-chan

The top must-try food is Fuku-chan's yakisoba. The noodles are grilled by the owner right in front of you and they are unmatched in their delicious texture and taste. 


Asakusa Chika Shotengai | 浅草地下商店街
Access: directly connected to the underground exit of Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. Short walk from Asakusa Station on the Tobu Skytree Line, Toei Asakusa Line and Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.

From sweets to red panties, Edo period to present, shopping streets in Tokyo have it all. I hope you had fun joining me on our trip to the capital's many shopping streets. There is something for everyone and so much more waiting to be discovered!

About the author
Laura is an Italian living and working in Tokyo. She loves exploring hidden and unknown places, taking pictures and listening to Punk Rock music. When she’s not busy doing the above, she might enjoy a craft beer or play the sanshin (an Okinawan instrument similar to a shamisen).

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