Where are the high-quality, specialty markets in Tokyo?

Ame Yoko Cho

Ame Yoko Cho is the name of a shopping district located between Ueno and Okachimachi Stations. It's name is a Japanese acronym which has two meanings. The original name is said to mean Candy Store Alley, because the area had many candy and snack stores. The area still has some stores that sell chocolate and candies, as well as dried fruits and other snacks. In addition, it is an area where, after World War II, poor Japanese could buy American products from US occupation supplies that were sold on the black market. Most people today associate the name with America.

The Ame Yoko Cho area is now a varied mix of shoes, clothing, military, sporting goods, cosmetics, handbags, fish, foreign food supplies, dried sundries, toys, jewelry, and fast food stalls. While some of the items found there are counterfeit "brand" goods, the area has become more like other shopping areas such as Harajuku or Kanda/Jimbocho, with most of the discounted items being older and discontinued items from major manufacturers.

While it is harder to find true bargains, the area is extremely crowded and full of energy, much like an open bazaar or flea market is in many parts of the world. The area shares a lot of atmosphere with the open shopping areas in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, including the many languages spoken by the many tourists flocking the area. Part of this is because the area is so close to Akihabara, the electronic and otaku capital of Japan.

If you are looking for sportswear or shoes, you might find some real bargains in Ame Yoko Cho.

by mikekato

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