Hello, this is Yoojin. Cherry blossoms season has gone by in Tokyo and now the fresh green leaves have covered up the city. A Japanese allspice on my balcony have started to come out which gives me the sense of fresh spring feelings. But I need to look after the balcony carefully to avoid becoming too weedy...
What is Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street?
Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street is a shopping street in Koto Ward that is located at the eastern part of Tokyo metropolitan area. You may notice “Ginza” as an area with Kabukiza Theatre and many shopping facilities in Chuo Ward. It is said that Sunamachi Ginza was named after this “Ginza” as follows;
In 1932, then-councilor Mr. Udagawa Keisuke made a speech during the event held by the shopping street that this street should be as prosperous as that of Ginza. Right after the speech, the board member of the shopping street decided to name it Sunamachi Ginza. Back then, Ginza was already bustling with many people.
How to get to Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street?
It takes about twenty minutes to walk from the nearest train station. So if you don’t like walking too much, it is recommended to use the local bus.
This time, I took the bus from JR Kinshicho station. When you go through the ticket gate of the south exit, you will find the bus terminal like the picture below. Here, please look for Bus No.7 (都07), which will depart from the platform No.2 (のりば２).
If you have trouble finding the bus, please ask for it to the bus driver nearby. When asking, tell the driver that you want to go to Kitasuna Nichome (北砂二丁目) bus stop. You can show the following in case you see no way out.
“Which bus goes to Kitasuna Nichome bus stop?”
On the bus, you will see the name of the next bus stop at the front monitor. There is English translation by the Japanese signs, so it shouldn’t be a problem finding out the right bus stop. When you see your bus stop “Kitasuna Nichome” on the monitor, press the button on the bus. You can find it by the window or by the strap on the bus. The bus will stop at the next bus stop once the button is pressed.
Using a local bus seemed difficult for travelers at first, but English signs on the bus made it easier to use. Please note that you must pay the fare in front when boarding the bus, so have some change ready.
When you get off at the Kitasuna Nichome bus stop, walk along the street to the same direction of the bus. You will find the entrance of Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street on your left, with a delicious smell from delicatessens.
Stores along Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street
During the lunch time, there were crowd of people in front of the fish shops, vegetable shops, butcher’s shops and various delicatessens. I found the delicatessens selling tempura, yakitori, croquette, tsukemono (Japanese pickle), etc. What surprised me the most was the price of the dishes that most of those are cheaper than 100 yen. The cheapest one that I found was 60 yen yakitori!
I also found the store specializes in fruit tomatoes called “Hana-to-ma-to (花十◯十).” Luckily, there were tomatoes that have just arrived. The one called “Aiko” was so sweet that it tasted like eating grapes. Most of the stores in Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street are private stores, so there are good chance of finding unique stores that can only be seen here.
Sunamachi Ginza is not just about food. You can also find shoes, clothings or even futon mattresses. Iizuka Shoten is a general merchandise store that sells plates and utensils, cleaning tools, etc. There are tools that have been used for a long time, like the sponge for washing dishes that has been best seller for half a century. Look for the name board of Iizuka Shoten, simply designed with just four kanjis (Chinese characters) laid out on a white background that has a retro atmosphere.
Don’t miss the special sale every month
Special sale event called “Baka-ne-ichi (foolishly cheap sale)” is held on the 10th, 20th and 30th day of every month. Each of the participating stores sells bargain goods that are way cheaper than usual price. It was fun watching their foolishly priced goods.
Join guided food tour
If you want to fully appreciate the charm of Sunamachi Ginza, joining the guided food tour is highly recommended. Tokyo FooDrink Tour, operated by KNOT WORLD Co., Ltd, is the walk and eat tour guided in English, Chinese and French. Please check the following URL for those interested in experiencing the local food and communications with the local people!