While Tokyo simply doesn’t have the same kind of night markets or street markets common to other parts of Asia — don’t panic — the city does have markets that are distinctly its own. Traditional yokocho alleyways lined with cheap stalls and eateries, hipster farmers markets selling all things artisanal, souvenir-laden tourist traps, these markets come in many forms. Some are well-known, some not so, but all are definitely worth a look. Below, find an introduction to some of the best markets in Tokyo.
There’s a charm to shopping in outdoor markets that you just don’t get from malls. Luckily, Tokyo has some great markets that will please locals and visitors alike. When you’re on the hunt for souvenirs, cute souvenirs or just in the mood for window shopping, these are the markets for you.
Nakamise Market, or the Nakamise Shopping Street, is the narrow stretch between the outer and inner gates of Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. As far as souvenir markets go, it’s up there with the best of them, with over 90 stalls and a history dating back to the 17th century.
Shopping at Nakamise Market isn’t without its difficulties, however. You’re going to need patience; this place is choked with enthusiastic tourists almost constantly, meaning even catching a glimpse of what’s on offer at the stalls that line the way is somewhat of a challenge. Surmount the throng and you’ll be rewarded with a great selection of traditional souvenirs, from replica samurai swords and kimonos to delicate confectionery and wooden toys. As always with these type of spots, there’s a fair amount of junk to sift through, but shop around and you’re sure to find that perfect memento.
Need help deciding on the perfect souvenir? Check out our article on great Japanese souvenirs.
Getting there: Two minute walk from Asakusa Station.
Best for: Souvenir shopping in a yukata or kimono
You’ll find Ameya-Yokocho between Ueno and Okachimachi stations, running parallel with the tracks of the Yamanote Line. It’s an old and always busy street market, once famous for selling candy, and later as a den for the post-war black market. Today, the market is good for cheap clothes and accessories, fresh fish and vegetables, electronics, comic books and much more, all sold from the street-side stalls and small stores. There’s also a number of great izakaya dotted around the market, all very authentic and generally pretty cheap. It’s frantic and exciting, a world away from the calm of nearby Ueno Park, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Getting there: Two minutes from Ueno Station.
Best for: Anything you can dream of.
You’ve probably heard of Takeshita Street Harajuku‘s main strip and the spiritual home of all things kawaii. Again, this isn’t a market in the strictest sense of the word, but neither is it your average “main street” — the stores here spill out onto the road and smiling sales reps try to coax you inside, music blares from unseen speakers and the thick crowd fizzes with excitement.
The street is famous for its crepes and there’s a mammoth branch of Daiso (100 yen store), but the main draw is the clothes and accessories. Cheap knock-offs, t-shirts with indecipherable slogans, sunglasses by the dozen — rest assured that there’s plenty to browse.
Getting there: Just across the road from Harajuku Station.
Best for: Kawaii accessories and clothes.
Who doesn’t love a good bite to eat? While Tokyo’s food market scene is different to that of food markets in Asian countries, there’s still plenty to enjoy. From street stalls to wholesale markets, here are some of Tokyo’s best food markets.
Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane)
Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho, widely known as Memory Lane or — less appetizingly — Piss Alley, is located right next to Shinjuku Station on the west side. It’s not a market in the traditional sense, but it definitely feels like one, with its small stores, restaurants and izakaya forming a warren that comes alive at night.
Getting there: Shinjuku Station West Exit.
Best for: Quick bites like yakitori.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Good old Tsukiji Fish Market. One of Tokyo’s most famous markets, except that the main attraction – the inner market where all the wholesalers and tuna auctions were – has relocated to Toyosu Fish Market. No matter though, the outer market with its sushi joints and lively stalls is also well worth a wander.
Getting there: Five minute walk from Tsujiki Station.
Best for: Delicious sashimi.
Toyosu Fish Market
New home to Tokyo’s seafood wholesale market Toyosu Fish Market doesn’t quite have the charm of its predecessor. That being said if you want to catch a tuna auction, this is where you have to come. Access to the best viewing platform for the tuna auction is by application, but don’t worry this article will tell you everything you need to know before you go.
Getting there: Five minute walk from Shijo-Mae Station.
Best for: The tuna auction.
It’s hard to imagine a farmers’ market taking place in the huge metropolis that is Tokyo, but that’s part of what makes these markets great. Meet local(ish) producers and small business owners in these charming farmers’ markets. For even more farmers’ market in Tokyo, check out this article.
Market of the Sun
Held on the second Saturday and Sunday of each month at Tsukishima Second Children’s Park, the grandly named Market of the Sun is Tokyo’s largest regularly held farmers market. Featuring close to 100 stalls and food vendors, it’s the place to pick up all kinds of food you won’t find in your local convenience store. Unsurprisingly, prices are pretty high, but we’re all allowed to treat ourselves every now and then.
Getting there: Take exit 4a or 4b from Kachidoki Station.
Best for: A huge range of fresh food, some of which might be difficult to get your hands on otherwise.
United Nations University Farmers’ Market
The tiled plaza in front of Aoyama’s United Nations University plays host to one of Tokyo’s best attended farmers markets each and every weekend. Over 70 stalls and food trucks set up shop, offering up delights such as freshly baked sourdough bread, locally produced honey, organic fruit and vegetables, artisan jams and much, much more. The vibe is always relaxed and friendly but given the salubrious setting it’ll be no surprise to hear that prices are hardly budget-friendly. Two words that may cheer you up though: free samples.
Getting there: 5-10 minute walk from either Omotesando or Shibuya Station.
Best for: Speciality food products.
You didn’t think we’d go through this whole article on markets and not mention fleamarkets, did you? Well, truth be told the fleamarket scene in Tokyo is so hopping that we just can’t pack everything into a few recommendations. That’s why we have a whole guide to Tokyo fleamarkets.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post is regularly updated. Last updated in August 2022 by Maria Danuco