One of those market streets mazes one can get lost in and never come back, either in a shopping spree, or really because of getting lost. Located in between Ueno and Okachimachi stations in Taito district, the old market of Ameyoko stands still through time.
Story of Ameyoko
It’s incredible the way Japanese make use of it names. First time I saw the name of Ameyoko I learned it is a short name for “Ameya Yokocho” in English “candy store alley”. Candies flodded the shops of the area, hence it was given the name. Alternatively, after WWII, it became a black market area for American products, and “Ame” became the short for America. That’s the word game at use in here. Now it’s still known for being a local market to buy food, and arcade areas packed with discount American-like products, cosmetics and clothes.
To me, “Ame” could perfectly mean “rain” in Japanese, as every time I’ve been there, either has been cloudy-rainy or downpour like day. See, I can also play the word game. That’s not really a problem, as most of the area is covered. Avoid visiting on Wednesdays, as is the closing day for many shops.
My surprise at one of the walks I took to Ameyoko streets. I found the stairs to this temple, and I couldn’t come to believe it was in the middle of the area. Midway high, over the market, and under the buildings. A weird sight for a city temple. As I was standing in the temple grounds, the silence surrounded the area, but still, my eyes were staring at the lively streets and the Yamanote rails. It represents a stronghold of the area and symbol of good luck, as it was unharmed during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, and resisted the bombing of Tokyo in 1945. Blissed by the goddess of good luck.
How to get there
To access the area of Ameyoko and Tokudaiji, the easiest way is from Yamanote Line. Either Ueno Station or Okachimachi Station leaves you at one of the entrances to the area. Spend your time searching for that item you need or try any of the local food stalls in the area.