Tokyo Travel Guide

Tokyo Sights

Ame-ya Yoko-cho Market

  • Market/Bazaar

Published 12/20/2010

Fodor's Review

The sprawling stalls are famous for the traditional prepared foods of the New Year celebrations; during the last few days of December, as many as half a million people crowd into the narrow alleys under the railroad tracks to stock up for the holiday. The market dates to World War II, when not much besides Ueno Station survived the bombings. People would travel from the countryside to sell rice at black-market prices. Before long, there were hundreds of stalls in the black market selling various kinds of ame (confections), most made from sweet potatoes, earning the market its name, Ame-ya Yoko-cho (Ameyoko, locally), or "Confectioners' Alley." Shortly before the Korean War, the market was legalized, and soon the stalls were carrying watches, chocolate, ballpoint pens, blue jeans, and T-shirts that had somehow been "liberated" from American PXs. In years to come you'd find Swiss timepieces and fake designer luggage, cosmetics, jewelry, fresh fruit, and fish. Try the raw slices of tuna over rice (maguro-don) in one of the small restaurants—cheap, quick, and very good.

Sight Information


Ueno 4-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Tokyo-to, 110-0007, Japan

Published 12/20/2010


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