A Quick Guide to Ameyoko Market, Tokyo

Ameyoko Market and shopping street
Wedged in between JR Okachimachi Station or JR Ueno Station

 

Tokyo’s Ameyoko Market is a rabbit warren of streets that are home to 500-odd stalls, selling everything from dried fish to nail polish. It was originally opened as a black market post-war, but it’s visited by what seemed like everyone in the city now.

Where is it?
The area it’s located in can get a little confusing, so hopefully this map makes it a bit easier to navigate. I’ve marked on it where I took the photo above, standing at that Y-shaped intersection where the road diverges into two. Those are your two main shopping streets, with others intersecting and cutting across them.

 

How do you get there?
Via subway – it’ll depend where you’re coming from, and you can use this nifty map to work it out, but the closest stations are Ueno-Hirokoji on the Ginza line, and Ueno-Okachimachi (literally across the road) on the Oedo line.

What should I shop for?
There’s not much you won’t find there, but there are a few things that are particularly popular:
– Golf gear: there are more than a dozen multi-level golf shops, selling clothes, shoes, clubs, bags, and even lessons.
Athletic wear and shoes: they’re an active bunch, so probably no surprise that you can find a lot of stores selling training gear (gym shoes, clothes, etc).
– Fish: fresh fish and dried fish, they’ve got it all. If you’re looking at taking some of the packaged, dried stuff home, best check if you’re actually allowed to take it through customs before you stock up!
– Packaged snacks: there are a couple of mega-stores absolutely full of snack foods. Chips chocolate and crackers and lollies in flavours you never imagined could exist.

Do you barter?
Honestly, I didn’t bother, for a few reasons:
a) The prices are marked and already very reasonable.
b) Language barrier.
c) The Japanese are just so damn polite and likeable that I didn’t want to rip them off!

When is the best time to go?
Around 12pm is a good time to go – most of the stores should be open by then, but it’s not so hectic yet that you can’t walk around comfortably. Most casual eateries are already open and the restaurants are still getting ready for the lunch rush which is good, because you’ll want to have eat there.

What should I eat?
A sashimi bowl from the place in the photo above. It’s cheap, it’s market fresh and it is delicious. My bowl of fresh tuna, fatty tuna and salmon on sushi rice cost about AUD$10.00, and it was magnificent. If raw fish isn’t your jam, they cook up gyoza and tempura, too. Next door is an Osaka-style takoyaki stand if you fancy something a bit different. And then head back for a matcha soft serve. Just try to get a seat outside if it’s a hot day – the tiny little kitchen gets pretty warm…

Normally I’d say anywhere at the market is good for eating, but there are actually some really touristy places here I’d highly recommend steering clear of. General rule of thumb is if you walk past and someone walks after you waving a menu in your face and telling you that you must try their blah blah blah, don’t bother. If the food is good, they won’t chase you down to eat there because there will already be a line at the door.

If you have room for dessert, look for the taiyaki stand. Creamy smooth vanilla custard inside a golden crisp fish-shaped waffle. The perfect hand held market food.

How do I pay for stuff?
It’s a market – cash is king. If you’ve forgotten to bring some with you, just look for the green and blue Family Mart sign (they’re on every second corner), which should have an ATM inside.

 

When I’m done shopping, what else is there to do?
Head up to the Ueno Imperial Grant Park to walk off all that sashimi – it’s a short walk away, and the grounds are gorgeous. There are several pagodas and shrines on the grounds, museums, and even a zoo. And, if you time it right, cherry blossoms.

 

Shop here: Faulkner House Books, New Orleans

Faulkner House Books
624 Pirates Alley, New Orleans
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faulkner-House-Books/213477855446762

2015/01/img_6077.jpg

How incredible, to be standing in the former home of literary giant William Faulkner in the middle of New Orleans’ French Quarter… The winner of a Nobel Prize for Literature, as well as two Pulitzers, is one of America’s most celebrated writers, and his former home in the French Quarter, lovingly and carefully restored by Rosemary James and Joe DeSalvo (who also live on the floor above the book store) is one of the most beautiful tributes a writer could hope to have.

It’s tucked well away and easy to miss, but if you have the address, just follow the map (or ask for directions!) and enter wonderland. It’s tightly packed with as many books as the little room can hold, with an unsurprisingly great section on Mr Faulkner himself and poetic works from a range of writers. I was pretty happy to pick up a copy of Gumbo Ya-Ya there, and spent a solid 30 minutes browsing the books, lost in the perfectly chandelier-lit happy place.

Faulkner House Books embodied everything I love – old houses with soul, creaky floorboards that tell a story, floor to ceiling shelves of books, history, and the smell of gumbo wafting from down the street. When you’re in New Orleans, make sure you drop in and pick yourself up some new reading material, and enjoy walking into a gorgeous little world away from the mayhem of Bourbon Street for a while.

The Rose St. Artists’ Market, Melbourne

The Rose St. Artists’ Market, Fitzroy, Melbourne
http://www.rosestmarket.com.au/

IMG_3409.JPG

Celebrating it’s 10th birthday this year, The Rose St. Artists’ Market is a Fitzroy institution, as is the slightly eccentric, bearded, black leather clad gentleman who stands on the corner of Brunswick and Rose Streets directing foot traffic the right direction. If you haven’t been before and aren’t familiar with this guy, don’t be put off by first impressions – he’s really lovely!

IMG_3433.JPG

Open every weekend (both Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 5pm), I stop in every time I’m in the area, which is pretty often! What started back in 2003 is now an iconic hub for some of Melbourne’s best creative talent, and one of the best places in the city to support local talent by purchasing one-of-a-kind pieces, with everything from clothing and baby accessories, jewellery to homewares, trinkets to art work.

IMG_3432.JPG

Another great thing about this market is that the people selling the goods are the people who are actually making them, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and speak to some seriously talented craftsmen and women.

IMG_3413.JPG

This is my favourite small market in Melbourne – the talent is phenomenal, and I’ve bought so many amazing pieces here over the years. If you haven’t been in a while, it’s definitely time to get reacquainted, and if you’ve never been before, this weekend might be a good time to make a visit!