Ameyoko: Street Market Shopping in Tokyo

Tokyo is a mix of all different kinds. When it comes to shopping, there are department stores, supermarkets, big electronics stores, and little shops all intermingling together in some kind of strange cosmic balance. There are even a few street markets to be found in the major cities.

Ameyoko is found just south of Ueno Station, on either side of and under the tracks leading to nearby Okachimachi Station. It's a busy place any day of the week, certainly helped by the large number of tourists who want a glimpse at Japanese goods.
 On the west side, the street splits soon after leaving Ueno Station.
 It is around this area that the best "photo-able" stalls are found: those selling food items.
 Jumbo shrimp!
 Even more seafood!
 There are a few of these Turkish Kebab locations up and down the market. There are three different stalls within a stone's throw of each other! While there are plenty of other places to eat, nothing beats a fresh wrap with your choice of sauce. The flavors can be seen on the sign above the bench, and you might be able to read it if you click on the photo to enlarge it. Not all stalls serve the XX-Hot flavor, so if you like good heat to your sauce, be sure to shop around.
 Back to the food.
 There are fruit and vegetable stalls and other grocery items - usually packaged goods.
 There are a ton of backpack/suitcase stores here. Gigantic backpacks start at 1000 yen. You get what you pay for, usually, though my current shoulder bag thing (it's kind of like a photographer's bag, with lots of pockets) was only 1000 yen and it's holding up extremely well.
 More fish?!
 Under the tracks are additional stores. These seem to be tourist-oriented, and I've never found anything worth buying. Though in this photo, you can see there are several clothing shops. I bought a couple new belts here a couple months ago.
 As you get near Okachimachi Station, you'll see several stores selling athletics goods. There are name brands (Adidas was in pretty heavy supply last time I checked) and generic goods, and you can find some fantastic deals on a lot of styles. Golf, swimming, running, and soccer goods (apparel, mostly) are easily available. Some stores sell equipment, too - baseball gloves and bats, golf clubs, sports balls, etc. Be sure to shop around, as some stores sell the same goods at much lower prices, and some stores seem to specialize in one sport. Other stores have four or five floors with different sports on each floor.
 More packaged food.
 And yes, those are squid.
 Hip hop culture is alive and kicking in Japan. Get your bling bling here, and your excessively baggy jeans and hoodies nearby. Black men stand outside the stores to attract shoppers. Seriously, that's all they do.
In addition to the sports stores selling sneakers, there are several stores selling regular shoes too. You can find all sorts of ankle-snappingly-high heels for the ladies, and the latest trendy loafers or whatever guys are wearing this month too.

I'm not sure why I don't have any pictures of the clothing stores, of which there are many. There aren't many actual souvenir stores (check underneath the tracks?). The west-side road closest to the tracks seems to have the most interesting browsing available, though the other west-side street and the east-side street can be explored as well. There is at least one 100-yen shop, drug stores, suit stores, and plenty of western wear stores with way-too-high-priced goods imported from America and possibly made in China.

Ameyoko is easy to find by following the tracks south from Ueno Station. As soon as you cross the main street just outside Ueno Station (while you're under the tracks) you're there. Go to the right for the west side. Just remember: those western clothes you see in the stores can be had for much less back home, so just focus on the Japanese stuff. Engrish t-shirts aren't tough to find.

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