Shopping At A Shotengai - Enjoy Local Food And Looking For Souvenirs!
  • Shopping At A Shotengai - Enjoy Local Food And Looking For Souvenirs!
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Shopping At A Shotengai - Enjoy Local Food And Looking For Souvenirs!

2017.04.10

A shotengai is a shopping spot that caters to the needs of the nearby local residents. From vegetables, meat and fish to daily use items, you can find almost anything in a shotengai. There are unique foods and souvenirs that can only be found here!

Translated byMATCHA_En

MATCHA's English language editorial board. We are bringing you the latest travel information on Japan. Yoroshiku!

Written by MATCHA-PR

Table Of Contents

1. What Kind of Place Is a Shotengai?
2. Various Shops - From Food to Miscellaneous Goods
3. Visiting a Shotengai with an Exchange Student
4. Shopping in A Shotengai - Rules and Things to Be Careful About
5. Japanese Phrases You Can Use in a Shotengai

What Kind of Place Is a Shotengai?

ローカルフードやおみやげ探しも楽しめる!日本の商店街・完全ガイド

A shotengai is a pedestrian mall, side road or small area lined with many retail shops. Shotengai shopping streets are often located near train stations, and among those, many are covered with roofs and called arcade shotengai.

Somewhat different from the so called shopping streets, shotengai mostly have shops carrying goods that residents in the local community need for their daily lives. For example, there are shops that sell vegetables and fruit, meat, fish and other fresh and perishable foods. There are also shops that sell Japanese sweets, green tea and other little luxuries, as well as shops selling footwear and Japanese clothing, western-style clothing, household items and daily necessities. All these shops support the daily lives of the local citizens and are clustered together in one place, the shotengai.

ローカルフードやおみやげ探しも楽しめる!日本の商店街・完全ガイド
ローカルフードやおみやげ探しも楽しめる!日本の商店街・完全ガイド

The Japanese shotengai also differs from a typical supermarket and shopping mall in terms of the sense of distance between shop owner and customer.
At a shotengai shop, customers can enjoy chatting with the shop owner as they do their shopping. There are even some regular customers who stop in and have a cup of tea while conversing with the shop owners. The shotengai has an atmosphere similar to the public markets found in many cities outside Japan, where the locals can enjoy their shopping.

In addition to featuring the most common types of shops found at a shotengai, this article will explain some rules for enhancing your shopping experience, and also introduce a handful of useful Japanese language expressions to help make your shopping go more smoothly.

Next PageOn the next page, see what you can buy in a shotengai!
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