2015-10-03

Ameyoko (アメ横): A Sweet Tooth's Paradise

Ameyoko's North Entrance.
Source
On my first full day in Tokyo, I visited Sensõji Temple, Kappabashi, Ueno, and Tokyo Character Street. Aside from the large Ueno Park, I believe Ameyoko(アメ横)is the most well-known tourist spot in the Ueno area. From Asakusa, I walked to Ueno, then took the train from Okachimachi to Tokyo Station.

A man selling chocolate and other candies.
On day 1, I was out and about for nearly half the day. Unfortunately, somewhere between Kappabashi and Ueno, my portable charger and wi-fi device both died! As a result, I was unable to send pictures and videos on my phone to my Dropbox, and my phone was too full to take pictures. So, I was left with my cheap, nearly decade old point-and-shoot...which also ran out of batteries! Thankfully, I was able to score new ones from the Yodobashi Camera (an electronic store chain) close to Ueno Station.

Ameya-Yokochõ(アメヤ横丁)—Ameyoko for short—is situated along the metro tracks between Ueno and Okachimachi stations. It used to be a marketplace for goods from America (americaアメリカ) right after WWII; however, these days Ameyoko sells discounted clothes, street food, dried goods, and sweets. Candy is a popular item sold in the area, and I doubt you can find it cheaper in any other part of Tokyo.

Taiwanese snacks on sale.
The vendor was from Taiwan as well.
Ameyoko reminds me of Taiwanese night markets. It's noisy, crowded, and there are many snacks and other foods on sale to for you to munch on while your stroll or to take back home for friends and family. Unsurprisingly, I ran into several Taiwanese tourists at Ameyoko, and found it quite amusing that they were buying snacks from the Taiwanese vendor! Oh well, I suppose I can't fault them for going for the comfortable and familiar. 

Personally, aside from candy, I didn't buy anything at Ameyoko or sample the street food there. I suppose the night market atmosphere was simply too familiar to me. There were also stalls selling many Taiwanese favorites like radish cakes (luobogao; 蘿蔔糕) and meatballs (rouwan; 肉丸); I didn't vacation away from Taiwan to eat Taiwanese food! Nonetheless, I don't see the catering to Taiwanese tourists as a bad thing. If you have never been to Taiwan, Ameyoko is a great place to try both Taiwanese and Japanese street food.

The picture displays at the food stall make it
easier to choose.
The next time I'm in Tokyo, I'm not sure if I would visit Ameyoko again as I think once was enough for me. However, kit-kat bars are one of my guilty pleasures, and the green tea ones are sold at Ameyoko for super cheap!

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