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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Shopping

Ameya Yokocho (Ameyoko) アメヤ横丁

Tokyo's former black market, still a bargain haven

Tokyo is expensive, but in the Ameya Yokocho—or Ameyoko, as the locals call it—you can find bargains on almost everything. This makes for plenty of lively interactions not typical of most retail in Japan, so enjoy.

Tips

  • The chocolate vendor doing tatakiuri
  • Mountains of sports supplies
  • Fruit-on-a-stick

How to Get There

This area is accessible by train.

Ameya Yokocho is conveniently found right on the circular JR Yamanote Line. It runs right next to and underneath the tracks between Ueno and Okachimachi stations.

Getting to know the neighborhood

You can start on either end. Get off at either Ueno Station or Okachimachi Station. Walk parallel to the elevated JR Yamanote Line tracks. Ameya Yokocho is actually on the inner side of the tracks, but the market has grown and is also underneath the tracks, in an arcade, as well as on the other side.

Just call it Ameyoko

People in Tokyo don't call the area by its official name. Everyone just says Ameyoko.

Ameyoko became a huge marketplace after World War II. It started as a black market, selling many things that people who worked for the Occupation forces would get from the soldiers. It's uncertain how it came to be called Ameyoko, but some people say that it comes from the Japanese word for candy, ame, while others say that it's just short for American.

There are still a lot of candies sold here.

The intersection near Ueno Station

What is tatakiuri?

There is a chocolate shop near the Ueno end of Ameyoko that sells in an unusual manner, almost like an auction. Tatakiuri literally means bang-selling. Vendors will often hit something, like boxes, with a stick, as they sell.

Here, the seller will add boxes of chocolate into the bag. He'll keep adding them until the bag is full. No matter how many he adds, the bag sells for 1,000 yen.

10% off of 20% off of 30%

If it sounds confusing, it is. There are several stores that sell items at multiple discounts. There will be one sign saying 30% off. Then, another, saying that there is a special sale. Finally, a hawker will say that today is another special discount. The result is that often the mountains of stuff sold in front of stores are discounted up to 60 or 70 percent off the price on the label.

Sporting goods are often sold this way, and the brands are real, not knock-offs, although they may be from two or three seasons past. It's a true bargain.

Look for the fruit vendors

There are many fruit vendors that sell fruit on a stick. Melons, strawberries and pineapple are common, but the fruits are whatever is in season and ripe.

There is so much more to see and do. If you're visiting friends, the crab, salmon roe, and other seafood are always appreciated as gifts. Or the matsutake mushrooms. These are always about half the price of most shops and a third of the price at department stores.

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