Yanaka Ginza (Tokyo), View on the street from the top of Yuyake Dandan stairway

Yanaka Ginza

Delightful Retro Shopping Street In Tokyo

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Yanaka Ginza is the main shopping street of the Yanaka area located near Nippori station in Taito ward, in the north-east of Tokyo. The roughly 170 meters long street, is lined up with about 60 small independent shops and is a popular address for locals and tourists alike when looking for the quiet and nostalgic atmosphere of the Showa era (1926 - 1989).

Yanaka Ginza shopping street, easily accessible from Nippori JR station in the north-east of Tokyo, should not be confused with Ginza and its large and luxurious avenues. It is indeed quite the opposite: a human-sized and plebeian street that managed to preserve an old-times atmosphere, with small independent shops and the low-rise architecture typical of post-war Tokyo (1950s).

The best time to visit is probably the end of the afternoon, at sunset. The top of the Yuyake Dandan stairway offers a view on the street’s entrance marked by a gate, with the last rays of sun illuminating the shops. Then, go down the stairs to discover the area’s shops and their home-made products.

Yanaka Ginza (Tokyo), Shopping street in autumn

Ambling through small artisans shops

In the 60 shops open every day, you’ll find everything for daily shopping, such as:

  • Fresh grocery products: fruits, vegetables, meat and flowers;
  • Typical sweets and Japanese delicatessen like senbei crackers, fritters or menchi katsu deep-fried minced beef croquettes; and,
  • Clothing, various accessories and traditional objects like ceramic wares and geta wooden clogs.

We particularly recommend the 2 following historical addresses:

  • Kanechiki-en (金吉園) a shop selling all kinds of green tea, as well as beautiful ceramics (cups, small plates and tea pots);
  • Sake and beer shop Echigoya Honten (越後屋本店): the store’s forefront is laid out with a few plastic bottle cases on which to sit and drink, for example, a nihonshu 🍶 glass or another fresh drink.

The place is also laddered with small restaurants and cafés. The street is full of originality and small daily pleasures, and one can indulge in taking a break and observe the surroundings. Yanaka Ginza is particularly lively at lunch hour and on the weekend when all its inhabitants gather. Bicycle is then the best way for moving around and carrying shopped items.

Yanaka Ginza (Tokyo), Echigoya Honten liquor store

A place of living for the locals

Cats 🐈 are one of the symbols of the shopping street, and their statues can be spotted in many places. Over time, shops in Yanaka Ginza have developed a characteristic identity, they frequently hold events to thank their regular customers and to continue enlivening this human-sized residential area. Travelers can partake in 2 specific events:

  • Yanaka Seven Lucky Gods Tour in January, to look for the area’s Seven Lucky Gods images (Shichifukujin Meguri), and;
  • Yanaka Hyakkoi Matsuri in August, Yanaka Ginza’s yearly summer festival.

Yanaka Ginza is a must-see in the old-fashioned district of Yanaka in the north-east of Tokyo. People discovering the street can share a few moments of Tokyo’s inhabitants daily lives.

⬇️ Further down this page, discover our visit guide in Yanaka Ginza and around.
By Kanpai Updated on June 28, 2024 Yanaka Ginza