If you are looking for anything Korean from food, to cosmetics, to souvenirs, to anything related to K-pop or your favorite Korean idols, head to Shin-Okubo! It is located north of Shinjuku with Shin-Okubo station on the Yamanote line as the best access to the area. After exiting the station head to the right and start to explore Korea Town.
You will be greeted by shops with Hangul signage everywhere, giving the area a more authentic feel. It has been said that Shin-Okubo used to be more lively and attracted more people in the past, but due to some demonstrations, the area’s popularity has declined. Nonetheless, if you want a taste of Korea, Shin-Okubo is just a train ride away.
The area has a wide array of shops offering different Korean goods. Most prominent are the cosmetic shops if you are into Korean brand cosmetics. There are also shops that cater to K-pop fans with CD’s, DVD’s and all items related to K-pop. These stores are usually the ones with speakers blasting current Korean music from different idols. There are also smaller alleys with food stands and small boutiques, usually selling anything from handmade accessories to bargain clothing.
There are numerous Korean restaurants in Tokyo but undoubtedly, Shin-Okubo has the most number of restaurants serving Korean food in Tokyo, if not the whole of Japan. These restaurants mostly offer similar menu so just take your time and check which fits your taste and budget. They also offer different eat-all-you-can or 食べ放題 and drink-all-you-can or 飲み放題 sets to choose from.
You can also taste some of Korea’s famed street food popularised by Korean dramas like hotteok and tteokbokki. Hotteok is a Korean style dessert pancake with different fillings. You can sample fillings like honey, red bean or cheese. Tteokbokki is Korean comfort food which are essentially rice cakes in spicy red pepper sauce. You can buy them from small stalls along the street. These stalls are easy to spot as they are usually crowded, and the proprietor entices you to check what they have in store.
If you would like to create your own Korean food, there are places like Seoul Ichiba that sells just about anything that a Korean grocery store has. They have an array of different kimchi that you didn’t ever think existed and just about most of the popular Korean drinks available. Here you can also buy Korean style spoons, rice bowls or the ramen pots popularised by Korean dramas. You can also check out the local Don Quixote Store or Donki that sells some Korean goods.