Ueno, one of Tokyo's main downtown areas, is a well-known and highly frequented leisure spot amongst not just the Japanese, but foreign visitors as well. With both a zoo and various museums in Ueno Park, it’s popular as a place where you can see both the best of nature and culture.
Between the discount stores lining Ameyoko thronged with visitors all year round, and others who come to watch the sakura bloom during sakura season, Ueno is a place that has something for everyone, regardless of age or gender.
With that, we’ll be introducing several must-visit places when you come to Ueno!
1. Ueno Chuo Dori street: Where both old and new shops stand together!
From Marui and ABAB department stores near JR Ueno Station, Ueno Chuo Dori street runs all the way down to Matsuzakaya, and is a vibrant shopping street that dates back to the Edo era. When the street first started up, there were shops selling Buddhist figures and religious garments, as well as textiles and traditional Japanese socks, called tabi, reminiscent of a temple town. Besides these, other shops selling clothes, tobacco, udon, candy, inns, and more continued to line the street, giving rise to Ueno Chuo Dori street.
With shops that started over 200 years ago from the Edo period, all the way to the newest of shops that just started up today, Ueno Chuo Dori continues to be one of the most vibrant and prosperous shopping streets in Japan. With both sides of this 1000 meter long stretch lined with colorful shops, it’s a joy to just stroll down and window shop. Definitely a must visit!
Ueno Chuo Dori street (Ueno Chuo Dori Shop Association)
88 birr 9F, 2-1-3, Ueno, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
2. Niki-no-Kashi No. 1 store: Where you can shop like a king!
There are many people familiar with the advertisement jingle for Niki-no-Kashi, going “Niki, Niki, Niki, Niki-no-Kashi, next to Ueno Ameyoko Station”. Started in 1947 in Ueno Ameyoko as a candy wholesaler, Niki-no-Kashi No. 1 store sells everything from nostalgic sweets from your childhood, popular and commonly found sweets, to even rare and hard to find sweets.
There are also many people who come here to fulfill their childhood dream of buying candy by the carton. From candy from your childhood days to region limited souvenir snacks, the sweets on sale are rotated with the seasons, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.
Niki no Kashi in Ameyoko (The first Store)
4-1-8, Ueno, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
3. Okano Eisen Sōhonke: Making traditional Japanese sweets since 1873!
Started in 1873 before Ueno Station was even built, Okano Eisen Sōhonke is a maker and seller of traditional Japanese sweets. At the heart of the sweets they make is the desire to make you smile without a thought once you take a bite. Their mame daifuku, sweet bean paste covered in sticky rice, is made with specially chosen ingredients and traditional techniques, and is popular as a specialty of Ueno.
Besides that, their kintsuba, sweet red bean paste covered in flour, made with Japanese black beans and red beans, and candied chestnut filled pancakes, known as dorayaki, bring you on a tasty trip to the past. Be sure to try out their exquisite-tasting sweets, made with 145 years of tender love.
4. Champ de Herbe Ueno Store: A Heaven of Makeup Products!
Champ de Herbe Ueno Store is a lifestyle store, catering to every lady’s health and beauty needs. Every girl wishes for everyday care and makeup to be enjoyable and fun, and this shop fulfills this wish as a beauty care and makeup shop with a wide variety of products available.
With bright interiors and clear displays lined with featured products, you get excited just looking inside! Besides cosmetics, there are also budget-sized products that you can buy as gifts. Whatever product you’re interested in, you can surely find it here!
Champ de Herbe Ueno
7-1-1, Ueno, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
5. Urban Comfort Ueno Store: Beauty Products for the Busy Office Lady!
Aimed at adult women, Urban Comfort Ueno Store is a store specializing in select beauty products, curated to bring out their inner charm and beauty. Whether it be the wish to have fun and freely choose makeup, or to try new products as soon as possible, with more than 5000 varieties of cosmetics and other goods on sale, it can satisfy any lady.
On top of that, they sell many products that use only natural ingredients, and is a shop we recommend to those who prefer to take care of their skin guilt-free. For ladies worrying about skincare and makeup, do give this store a go. This is a spot with the latest information and news about skincare and beauty as well.
Urban Comfort Ueno Store
Address: PARCO_ya 4F, 3-24-6, Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo-to, 110-0005
Nearest station: Ueno-Hirokoji Station (Tokyo Metro), 1 minute by foot
Phone number: 03-3837-5557
6. World Currency Shop Atre Ueno Shop: Change any Currency at this Money Exchanger!
World Currency Shop Atre Ueno Shop is a convenient money exchanger which provides speedy money exchange services for foreign currencies. Open on weekends and public holidays as well, the shop is open until 7.00 p.m. Besides this, the shop is also part of the Mitsubushi UFJ Financial Group, so you can make your exchanges with peace of mind.
With abundant experience in handling exchange in various currencies, World Currency Shop Atre Ueno Shop allows the exchange of 21 currencies, including the US Dollar, Euro, British Sterling Pound, Swiss Franc, Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone, Swedish Krona, Pacific Franc, Korean Won, Chinese RMB, Indonesian Rupiah, Thai Baht, Malaysian Ringgit, Vietnamese Dong, and Filipino Peso.
World currency shop atre' Ueno
Atre Ueno EAST 2F, 7-1-1, Ueno, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
7. Kanekichien: A Japanese Tea Shop with a Long History from Yanaka Ginza
Though a bit of a ways from Ueno, the Japanese tea shop Kanekichien can be found in the downtown shopping street Yanaka Ginza, where you can get a feel of the good old times. With over 80 years of history, Kanekichien sells sencha, matcha, kukicha, genmaicha, houjicha, and many other types of tea.
The shop also carries tea accessories such as teapots and teacups for a more enjoyable tea experience, and they have brilliant pottery pieces from all throughout Japan on display. Besides equipment used in tea ceremonies, or sadō, such as tea incense burners and single-flower vases, they also sell traditional Japanese goods such as tenugui towels. All the products on display make browsing the shop a real joy!
With great access by public transport, Ueno is an excellent sightseeing spot. While strolling Ueno Park, you can drop by the zoo or museums, and visit the shops we introduced here for a satisfying finish to your day.
Written by: Yoko