Okachimachi is a station on the JR Yamanote Line and not precisely a tourist destination. But, there are many gems hidden in this southern area of Ueno!
It’s a great find. Especially for those of you who want to try different vibes of Tokyo, out of the business and metropolitan areas for an hour or two. Here, you can explore some interesting alleys offering local shops for clothes, unique stuff and street food!
If you want to see how traditional markets keep going in the middle of Tokyo, providing you with some unique buys not to found anywhere else, Okachimachi is the place to go!
The Famous Alley, “Ameya-Yokocho”
This is the most famous alley around Okachimachi. In the past, this street was the traditional black market epicenter after the war, aimed at selling foreign goods that were still difficult to find in Japan at that time.
The arrangement of shops on this street remains the same as when originally built, which is traditional, bustling, and modest.
Even today, this alley is always lively during the day and night because the shops are unique, and there are a lot of izakayas along the way.
In this alley, there are many types of goods hard to find anywhere else, like imported Asian food, antiques, American military-themed clothes, medicines, and traditional street foods available midway.
Another unique point of this alley is, it is popular with the elderly! This is thanks to the traditional market atmosphere, and because of the culture of bargaining, haggling is actually encouraged here.
A Jewelry District, Full of Shops Offering at a Discounted Price
This area is another one of Okachimachi’s alleys, which offers a bunch of jewellery stores along the way.
The jewellery shops in the area are different from what you usually find in the mall because it is usually sold directly by the shop owner with skills and specialties in jewellery, but sold at a more affordable price.
Generally speaking, these shops are typically the kind of shop in which they value trustworthiness, expertise and always serve with an impressive traditional approach.
Along the road, you will find lots of jewellery shops, and for the most part, you will be able to barter in this area!
You can also order your own customized jewellery according to your preferences at a discount price.
Bliss for Sport Lovers
Besides its inherent traditional vibe, Okachimachi also has many sports-related stores that mainly sell local or discounted products.
Usually, the shops are in the form of large department stores that sell various combinations of sportswear and sport equipment brands.
Once you step out from Okachimachi station, many sports department stores are right in front of the gate.
You can find treasures such as The North Face or Columbia products sold at a discounted price, hiding between the other products.
If you are truly a bargain-hunter, you can spend hours strolling around the neighborhood to find your intended hidden gems!
Traditional Food Culture
Besides being a shopping destination, Okachimachi is also famous for its izakayas, stop-and-go restaurants, and traditional street food!
As you may know, in Tokyo, street food is not something easy to find, unless it’s at a festival. Here in Okachimachi, some alleys still provide an impressive line-up of street food. From a local Japanese grilled mochi to sweetened frozen strawberries! You will always be able to find it around Okachimachi station.
Many seafood markets sell fresh products and always accept haggling from their customers. The seafood market in Okachimachi is a small area, easy to spot from the fish displayed in front of the stores. Nevertheless, the size doesn’t reduce its value, taste and freshness!
After they reopen, if you are looking for a spot to have a drink and late-night snack, you should definitely go to Okachimachi. You will see many choices of Japanese izakayas right from the first step of the station!
Let’s Bring Back the Lively Atmosphere of Okachimachi
As you can see, there are many reasons for you to visit Okachimachi and put it on your Tokyo bucket list.
It is important to realize that even though some districts in Okachimachi can still survive this pandemic, many small-medium enterprises have had to close and leave their businesses. Shops in Okachimachi are struggling to survive due to the lack of visitors and tourists. Passersby no longer stop at small shops, and the sellers are getting more and more despondent due to the pandemic.
For this reason, why not visit and experience the local areas to recover this historic traditional market.
Don’t forget always to put on your mask, keep on social distances, and use hand sanitizers while traveling.
Let’s revive Okachimachi and save one of the unique spots in Tokyo!
Read about the hidden gems of Ikebukuro here: