If you’re headed for Tokyo, be sure to check out the popular Ameyoko Market in the Ueno and Okachimachi area. Here you will definitely want to try tabe-aruki, which is the act of snacking while walking, so you can explore more Ameyoko while having a bite!
Ameyoko Market is full of appetizing food that you can easily enjoy with a single coin and this includes traditional Japanese food as well as Japanese fusion food.
In this article, we will introduce four food establishments you should visit so you can grab a snack while strolling around in Ameyoko Market.
- Table of Contents
1. Kanda Daruma Ueno: Extremely Popular Taiyaki with Crispy Crusts
Its main store in Kanda Ogawamachi, “Taiyaki Kanda Daruma” is well known for selling the fish-shaped cake taiyaki with its surrounding crust intact. Even with multiple branches in Tokyo and Saitama, the store in Ueno often has a long line. This photo was taken on a weekday right after the shop opened, so there aren’t people lining up just yet, but you can definitely expect a long line as the store opens on the weekends! Since you can conveniently hold the taiyaki in one hand, it is a perfect option as a snack you have on the go.
I was allowed to step inside to take a look at their kitchen area and was surprised by the generous amount of red bean paste for each taiyaki! The paste is homemade from azuki (red bean) from Tokachi, Hokkaido using a traditional open-fire copper furnace and made to be only slightly sweet. There are two flavors available, namely tsubuan (180 yen; tax-inclusive), which is chunky red bean paste, and custard cream (200 yen; tax-inclusive). There are English translations on the menu so there is no need to worry about the language barrier.
When the taiyaki is done, it is cut up into rectangles, leaving the crispy crust surrounding the fish shape intact. The reason for leaving the crust stems from the shop’s desire to have its customers also enjoy the taste of the taiyaki skin on its own!
The savory taste of the crust and the soft texture of the taiyaki, together with the mildly sweet red bean paste, makes an amazing combination. The custard cream is popular with foreign tourists too, so how about buying one of each to try?
Taiyaki Kanda Daruma UENOたいやき神田達磨 上野店
- Address Tanaka Building, 1F, 6-12-17, Ueno, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to, 110-0005
2-minute walk from Shinobazu Gate of JR Ueno Station; 1-minute walk from Keisei Main Line Keisei Ueno Station
- Phone Number 03-6803-2122
Opening Hours: 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
2. Minatoya Shokuhin Honten: Unbelievably Affordable Kaisendon and Takoyaki
This is Ameyoko Market, where seafood products, dried goods, sweets and fine food abound. In the middle lies the shop “Minatoya Shokuhin Honten,” situated next to Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple. The exterior of the shop is decorated with a wide range of menus for kaisendon, a rice bowl topped with raw seafood, but the recommended ones by Minatoya can all be paid for with one 500-yen coin. There are seven kinds of kaisendon that cost 500 yen each, tax included, and they include a fatty salmon and tuna rice bowl, a tuna and grilled belly rice bowl, a minced tuna rice bowl and tekkadon, a rice bowl topped with thin slices of raw tuna. There are English, Korean and Mandarin Chinese translations on the menu so do not worry if you don’t understand Japanese.
I ordered the fatty salmon and tuna rice bowl and was shocked that 500 yen could get me so much tuna and salmon! I now understand why Minatoya Shokuhin Honten is so well-loved by customers in Ameyoko Market. The seats by the counter and on the open terrace are always fully occupied, so you will have to wait for a while to get seated on the weekends, but it’s worth it!
Another specialty at Minatoya Shokuhin Honten is the takoyaki (octopus balls). A minimum purchase of four pieces is required but pictured here are eight pieces for 400 yen (tax inclusive). The takoyaki are filled with large bits of octopus and topped with a generous helping of bonito flakes and seaweed!
While you can order takoyaki in-store, I recommend ordering it just by the store with your camera in hand so you can witness the staff’s impressive takoyaki-making skills. It’s quite a spectacle and a good chance to snap a few photos too. The takoyaki you order here will be served piping hot so be careful to not scald your mouth.
Minatoya Shokuhin Hontenみなとや食品 本店
- Address 4-1-9, Ueno, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to, 110-0005
3-minute walk from JR Okachimachi Station or Toei Ōedo Ueno-Okachimachi Station; 5-minute walk from Ginza Line Ueno Hirokoji Station; 6-minute walk from Hibiya Line Naka-Okachimachi Station; 9-minute walk from JR Ueno Station
- Phone Number 03-3831-4350
Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Closed: Please check at the store itself.
3. &all Ueno-ten: Sweet Baby Castella - Easy to Share, Easy to Eat on the Go!
The baby castella that so many regulars come back for are now topped with cream...
And transformed into a parfait that is also perfect for eating on the go! The one pictured here is the “Caramel Nuts” option, topped with original espuma cream, caramel sauce, nuts and cinnamon (500 yen; tax included).
When you first take a bite of the baby castella, the fragrance of cinnamon spreads throughout your mouth, followed closely by the sweetness of the caramel sauce, creating the perfect balance of flavors. You can’t help but want more!
Pictured above is the “Ueno Panda” (500 yen; tax included), which is limited to the Ueno outlet. Topped with original espuma cream, matcha sauce, black sugar syrup and a butter cookie, this parfait offers you a taste of traditional Japan and Ueno!
In addition, the “Chocolate” option (500 yen; tax included) is also available on the parfait menu. The baby castella are topped with the light-tasting espuma cream and drizzled with thick dark chocolate sauce. Chocolate lovers should definitely check this one out!
The baby castella at &all are baked using just soymilk and eggs with no water at all. Furthermore, the ingredients are free from trans-fatty acids. The baby castella are prepared carefully in-store but not all of them of the same shape – there is just one heart-shaped baby castella mixed in. If you’re sharing a parfait, how about competing to see who can find the heart-shaped one first?
All the staff at &all Ueno-ten are female and many of them speak English well. Let them know your taste preferences and they will recommend something that suits your taste buds!
&all Ueno-ten&all 上野店 （アンドオール）
- Address Ameyokokōkaka Building B-84, 6-10-7, Ueno, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to, 110-0005
5-minute walk from JR Ueno or Okachimachi Station
- Phone Number 03-5817-8677
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Every second Wednesday of the month
4. Beard Papa Ueno ABAB-ten: Irresistibly Crispy Cream Puffs!
If the sweet aroma of fragrant custard cream wafts through the air as you walk along Ameyoko Market, you can almost be absolutely sure that “Beard Papa Ueno ABAB-ten” is just around the corner.
Known as shū kurīmu from choux à la crème, the cream puffs from Beard Papa are always fresh from the oven and much attention and care in poured into making crispy, savory dough and sourcing for the best ingredients like domestically produced eggs and milk, that are used to create the custard cream filling, and vanilla beans from Madagascar.
Much of Beard Papa’s concept revolves around serving the cream puffs in their best condition, when they are fresh from the oven. Because of that, the custard cream filling is always kept in the refrigerator and only used to fill the puffs after an order is placed.
The most highly recommended is the “Pie Cream Puff” (170 yen; tax included). This is one of Beard Papa’s classic cream puffs, made using a special method that involves wrapping cream puff shell with pie dough. You can have it on the go or bring it back to your hotel to enjoy. (*As there are zero preservatives added to the cream puffs, please make sure to consume them within the day of purchase.)
The “Cookie Cream Puff” (190 yen; tax included) is next in popularity. It is also filled with custard cream but is baked by adding a layer of cookie dough on top of pie cream puff dough. As a result, it tastes sweeter than the pie cream puff and very fragrant too.
Beard Papa puts out seasonal cream puffs at times too so be sure to check out the menu at the official homepage (https://www.beardpapa.jp/).
In addition, there are English and Mandarin Chinese translated added to the menus in-store. Do give these Japanese cream puffs a try!
*The information listed here is accurate at the time of writing this article.
*Sale periods and product names are subject to change.
Beard Papa Ueno ABABビアードパパ 上野ABAB店
- Address Ueno ABAB, 1F, 4-8-4, Ueno, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to, 110-0005
3-minute walk from JR Ueno Station; 2-minute walk from Toei Ōedo Line Ueno-Okachimachi Station
- Phone Number 03-3837-4648
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Please check at the store itself.
The number of Japanese people who now eat while strolling around in Ameyoko Market has been increasing. It is fun to go around exploring various shops with your snack in hand but do take note that there are areas within the shopping street that do not allow tabe-aruki. Let us remember to abide by these rules as we enjoy what Ameyoko Market has to offer!
Written by Kotakeshi Nagata, Dali Corporation
*The above article is based on information from April 2020
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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