In Tokyo, while many areas have that metropolitan city feel, there are areas that have a traditional-style, a traditional-feel which the term “shitamachi” is used.
Yanaka in Taito Ward is one of those areas where people can get away from the metropolitan areas and immerse themselves with culture.
The location was spared of bombings during World War II and it’s one of the few traditional-style areas in Tokyo.
As Yanaka is known for its plethora of temples, in Yanaka is a shopping strip known as “Yanaka Ginza”.
Going through Yanaka Ginza, one can compare it to one’s downtown location in the United States, especially in smaller cities with a mix of mom and pop stores with commercial stores or businesses included.
You will find an ice cream shop right next door to a pottery store right next to a kitten cafe, a tea shop or a grocery store, a pharmacy, a 100 yen store, a croquette shop and barbershop next door to each other.
No, you are not going to see big billboards, big advertisements or corporations with huge neon signs in the area. Well, there is the commercial 100 yen shop but with its cheap prices, its presence makes sense in the area.
But Yanaka Ginza is an area that keeps things traditional and that’s why people love visiting the location.
And it’s a great place to shop for friends and family back home because a lot of things in this area are inexpensive.
For the most part, this shopping is not about glitz. In fact, it’s not about clothes shopping or purchasing the latest fashion or tech trend, its a shopping district that serves people in the area and people who are coming to Yanaka.
Traditional food, merchandise sold at great prices.
So popular of an area that it’s often featured on television, as celebrities go there to try inexpensive, delicious food (especially Suzuki, which I will write in a blog post in the near future).
But if you are heading out to Yanaka, definitely make your way to Yanaka Ginza. It’s worth the walk and the visit!