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Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!

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If you want to experience an authentic Japanese shopping street, then a trip to Ameyoko is in order! You can find amazing Japanese products of all kinds and even bargain items, too.

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A Shopping District Full of History and Vitality

Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!

Ameyoko is a historical shopping street that connects JR Ueno Station and Okachimachi Station. While it may not initially appear like an exciting place, this fantastic shopping area is where you can find incredible deals on Japanese food products, clothing, jewelry, leather goods, daily necessities, and other surprising items in one market.

The formal name of this area is Ameyoko Shopping Street, which is affectionately nicknamed "Ameyoko" by residents, shop staff, and customers alike.

In the photo above, you can see the signboard above the alleyway with “Ameyoko” written in Japanese characters. This is only a small portion of the market. There are plenty of shops to see along the street.

Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!

If you head out of the Shinobazu Exit, you will find yourself close to the market street.

Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!

In the middle of this photo, you can see the signboard indicating the entrance to Ameyoko.

The Post-War Black Market

Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!

Following the end of the Second World War, Japan experienced a massive food shortage, with many suffering from starvation as a result. Although there was a food distribution system in place, the infrastructure was severely damaged by the wartime bombing. Food could not be delivered where it was needed.

To combat this, people began buying and selling valuable food items by themselves. This initially began without any official licenses from the acting government at the time. One of the largest black markets back then was in Ueno, which marks the origin of Ameyoko.

There are several theories behind the origin of the name "Ameyoko" as well. The two with the most supporting evidence are as follows:

1. American Yokocho: the street was originally called "American Yokocho," or American shopping street, because visitors could buy American army supplies. Additionally, it was apparently the place where many Americans came to shop.

2. Ame Yokocho: The word for candy in Japanese is "ame." Following the war, candies (or any food containing sugar) were considered a luxury and were among the best-selling items in the black market. In fact, historical records reveal about 200 different candy stores were operating at the time.

While the area has ceased being a black market, the budget-friendly prices and hospitality still persist today. During preparations leading up to the New Year, roughly 500,000 people come to shop for the best deals on ingredients required to make osechi and other holiday delicacies.

A Place Where Bargaining is Encouraged!

Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!
Ameyoko: An Old Shopping Street with Amazing Discount Prices!

Several shops sell perishables, such as meat, seafood, and fresh produce. The shop staff are quite friendly and might call out for your attention as you walk by. It is a well-known fact that customers can negotiate the prices here.
So, if you're looking for something in particular, why not try bargaining for a price that fits your budget?

Ameyoko is a vibrant shopping street that has remained largely unchanged since the mid-20th century. If you’d like to see some incredible shops and find low-priced items of all kinds, then please take a trip to Ameyoko. You won’t regret it!

All pictures from PIXTA

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