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What to Do in Tokyo’s Ameyayokocho Neighborhood

By Marie Doezema

Feb 4, 2012

From the September/October 2010 issue

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Photo courtesy of Hotel Ohgaisou

Photo courtesy of Hotel Ohgaisou

Get to know this east-side neighborhood.

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On the east side of Tokyo, travelers can experience the city’s frenetic spirit. In the Ameyayokocho neighborhood, you’ll find seedy-looking love hotels, pachinko parlors, and chatty street vendors. When the chaos becomes too intense, escape to nearby Nezu and Yanaka, two historic districts where the artistry of imperial Edo culture lives on. Here are the places to visit while in Tokyo’s Ameyayokocho neighborhood.

Ameyayokocho food market

The open-air stalls underneath the train tracks were once a haven for criminal transactions. Today they’re paradise for bargain-hunters looking for such essentials as green tea and dried fish. Don’t miss the labyrinthine underground food counterse located beneath the Ameyoko Center Building. 4-7-8 Ueno, Taito-ku

Kappabashi

A well-known shopping area for local restaurateurs, Kappabashi is the place to go for kitchen utensils and plastic food displays. Located between the Ueno and Asakusa neighborhoods, northeast of Ameyayokocho.

Hifumi-an

At this 1920s-era restaurant, diners can try kaiseki—traditional multicourse meals. Chefs also teach cooking classes off-site. 4-2-18 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, 81/(0) 3-5832-8677

Scai Art Gallery

An art gallery in a former public bathhouse, Scai presents rotating exhibits of international and Japanese artists, including Anish Kapoor and Shinko Okuhara. Kashiwayu-Ato, 6-1-23 Yanaka, Taito-ku.

Suigetsu Hotel Ohgaisou

At the Suigetsu Hotel Ohgaisou—located on the site of Meiji-era novelist Mori Ogai’s home—details include Japanese-style rooms with tatami floors, cypress and marble tubs, and a garden restaurant.

>>Next: A Guide to Traditional Japanese Food: 10 Essential Dishes to Try From Japan

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