5 Days in Tokyo: Okachimachi Crunchy

By Sol March in Travelogue

It’s not hard to find a place to shop in Tokyo’s Okachimachi district. As soon as you step out of the subway station, a tall sign signals that you have arrived at Ameyoko— Candy Shop Alley.


As you wait to cross the street into Ameyoko, a long path alive with brightly colored signs and flags stretches out before you. Red, yellow, green, and blue– this is the Tokyo you have only seen in pictures, and now you’re standing right in the middle of it.

Crosswalk to Okachimachi

Crowds of Okachimachi

By the time the traffic signal changes, a crowd has formed at the crosswalk to carry you into Ameyoko. It’s not clear what you will find on the other side, but at least you know you won’t be alone. There are a surprising number of people here for a Friday morning, but the weather is perfect, the sky is blue, and there’s shopping to be done. That’s Ameyoko in a nutshell.


The variety of shops in Ameyoko is staggering. Each shop specializes in something different, from shoes, to jewelry, to candy. There’s no apparent order to the shops either– a store selling diamond rings might be right next to a shop selling raw fish laid out on a different kind of ice.

Ameyoko Center

The one constant at every store are the salesmen. They are a boisterous bunch, doing their best to make sure you are fully aware that their shop has a special sale for “one day only!” You pass by a shop selling women’s handbags and see a salesman standing on a step ladder with hands cupped around his mouth, beckoning shoppers to enter.

Enthusiastic Salesmen of Ameyoko

Moments later you turn back to see that he now has a megaphone.

Enthusiastic Salesmen of Ameyoko II

At least the salesman doesn’t discriminate. He yells and waves his sign at shoppers passing by the shop, but then he turns around and yells at the people already inside the shop as well. You pass fruit stalls selling “American cherries” at extravagant prices and snack shops with entire sections devoted to Senbei (Japanese rice crackers).

Candy shops of Ameyoko

Further down the path you find a Buddhist temple sandwiched between a 99 yen store and yet another snack shop.

Tokudai-ji Temple in Ameyoko

It seems odd to find such a peaceful scene in the midst of these crowds and noisy salesmen, but you are only half-surprised. This is Ameyoko, after all.

Side by Side in Okachimachi

5 Days in Tokyo

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