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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogOpen Air Market: Best Ones In Tokyo to Visit!

Open Air Market: Best Ones In Tokyo to Visit!

James LauJames Lau
Published Time
Posted on 
January 25, 2024
An open air market with satin jackets on display.

In Tokyo, the open air market is waiting for your arrival! Each one has a unique story, culture, tradition, and food! Let’s look at the best spots where the city comes alive – from the historic Ameyoko in Ueno to the lively Sunamachi Ginza in Kitasuna. Join us on this journey through Tokyo’s top open-air markets, where the streets are packed with sellers and tradition!

Tokyo’s open-air markets offer an incredible experience and an escape for those looking to escape from modern buildings. In the heart of Tokyo’s skyscrapers, vibrant markets buzz with energy, connecting locals and visitors to the city’s rich history and charm. Ameyoko in Ueno pulses with bustling activity, while Nakamise Dori in Asakusa exudes a historic charm. Each market has its unique character and allure.

Ameyoko (Ueno)

Ameyoko, a bustling market street, is short for “Ameya Yokocho,” or candy store alley. It’s located between Okachimachi and Ueno stations along the Yamanote Line in Tokyo. Originating as a black market post-World War II, it got its name “Ameyoko” due to its history of selling sweets and affordable American products. Today, it is a lively marketplace offering diverse products, from clothes and cosmetics to fresh fish and spices.

Ameyoko in Okachimachi.
Ameyoko has a wide range of shops! Image via Shutterstock

Visitors can explore Ameyoko’s lively atmosphere and discover bargains on almost everything. The market’s distinct features include a chocolate vendor practicing tatakiuri, where chocolate is almost auctioned by adding boxes into a bag until it’s complete, all for a fixed price. The area is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic taste of Tokyo’s street market culture.

Nakamise Dori (Asakusa)

Nakamise-dori is one of Japan’s oldest shopping streets near Tokyo’s iconic Sensoji Temple. With history from the 17th century, this Japanese market offers a historical journey through old-school Tokyo. Nakamise-dori features shops run by families for generations, selling souvenirs, street food, and snacks. Ninety different stalls compete for attention, creating an exciting atmosphere visitors enjoy in traditional kimono.

Nakamise Dori during the day time.
Nakamise Dori is in Asakusa, a historical neighborhood in Tokyo! Image via Shutterstock

Eat Tokyo’s best street food here, including Ningyoyaki sponge cakes with red bean paste and toasted sembei crackers! Explore shops offering souvenirs such as maneki neko cat statuettes, elegant fans, and handmade Japanese umbrellas! While the temple and shops close in the early evening, the shutters are painted with seasonal art. Sensoji Temple’s main hall and pagoda after sunset provide an enchanting vision of old Japan.

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Tsukiji Market (Toyosu)

Near Tokyo Bay and accessible from Ginza, the Tsukiji Outer Market remains a popular destination for early risers seeking a breakfast feast. Although the inner fish market has relocated to Toyosu, the outer market continues to thrive, with around 60 shops offering a variety of culinary delights. Travelers can eat the freshest sushi at surrounding restaurants or explore unique souvenirs, from seaweed to handmade ceramics.

Tsukiji, an open air market in Toyosu.
Tsukiji Market is famous for its fish selection! Image via Shutterstock

Apart from the food, the Tsukiji area combines tranquility and fascination. Hama-rikyu Gardens, featuring seasonal flowers and ponds, offers a serene experience. Tsukiji Hongan-ji Temple contributes Buddhist architecture to Tokyo’s landscape. Old-style cafes and the delightful Tsukishima neighborhood, famous for its savory pancake specialty, monjayaki, create a blend of retro charm and downtown delights at Tsukiji Outer Market.

Farmer’s Market (Aoyama)

The farmer’s market outside the United Nations University in Aoyama is held every weekend from 10 am to 4 pm. While Tokyo is not the first city that comes to mind for fresh, seasonal produce, locals gather to enjoy the atmosphere! The market has everything from goya to local goods like honey, oils, and spices! Food trucks serve international cuisine, making it a perfect spot for lunch and leisurely chats!

Tsukiji, an open air market in Toyosu.
Tsukiji Market is famous for its fish selection! Image via Shutterstock

The United Nations University (UNU) Farmers Market has become a weekend tradition. As a result, this market promotes organic and local fare, connecting consumers and the people who grow their food. It is part of a movement in Japan to support local farmers and raise awareness about the importance of knowing where food comes from!

Sunamachi Ginza (Kitasuna)

Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street has over 180 shops offering a diverse range, from oden to kimonos and daily necessities. The street originated in the 1930s, evolving into its current form in 1963. Known as an “okazu yokocho” or “side dish side street,” Sunamachi Sunamachi Ginza’s 670 meters are filled with family-owned establishments catering to locals seeking convenient and budget-friendly dining options.

Streamers at Sunamachi in Kitasuna, Tokyo.
Sunamachi Ginza is on the east side of Tokyo. Image via Trip Advisor

Sunamachi Ginza thrives due to its historical resilience and vibrant local atmosphere despite its distance from the nearest stations. The street hosts various events, including seasonal festivals and the monthly “Bakaneichi” (ridiculous price market) with substantial discounts. Sunamachi Ginza offers an array of street food, making it a must-visit for locals and tourists seeking a genuine Tokyo open air market experience.

Why should I visit an open air market?

These open-air markets provide a glimpse into Tokyo’s soul and citizens. From the historical significance of Nakamise Dori to the food of Tsukiji Market, each spot has a unique history. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Ameyoko, savor the organic delights of Aoyama, and explore the culinary wonders of Sunamachi Ginza. Tokyo’s open-air markets symbolize diversity, tradition, and the city’s ever-evolving spirit!

An open air market in Tokyo.
Which open air market have you been to? Image via Shutterstock

An open air market in Tokyo creates an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a local explorer, these markets promise to show Tokyo’s charm. As you navigate the stalls and savor the local flavors, take in the comforting atmosphere and enjoy a Tokyo few have seen! Have you ever been to one of these markets before? Which one did you like the best? Let us know in the comments below!

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