Ueno is popularly known as a district in Tokyo with a rich historical legacy, where many tourists come each year to get a feel of Tokyo’s Edo period. Due to its popular location, throughout the decades many stores have continuously been opened, hoping to become the finest in the area. Just a few of these artisanal shops survived and stood the test of time. Here are three historical shops that have captured the hearts of the area’s inhabitants and tourists alike, and are still alive and kicking!
Are you familiar with dorayaki? It is a traditional Japanese confection which mainly consists of two mini pancakes made from castella cake wrapped around a filling of sweet red bean paste. It is not only a favorite snack of many Japanese people, but it is also a favorite of Doraemon, a popular Japanese manga character.
Usagiya shop, which is located in a peaceful place in Tokyo’s busy city district, is famous for selling fresh dorayaki that are larger than normal. The pancakes they use are moist and soft and not overly sweet. Most of the time there’s a long queue, and you can make a reservation in case you want to order something in advance and not be in line for too long.
Izuei has been around since the middle of the Edo Period and is specialized in eel cuisine (unagi). It began as a small roadside food stand, which is what most eel eateries looked like before. Currently, it is operating a number of restaurants such as the one located in Ueno, all of them benefitting from a long history of experience making the most delicious eel dishes. Over time, it has continuously enjoyed the loyalty of many customers. Should people so desire, the restaurant is also serving myriads of other dishes for special occasions.
Jusan-Ya is a renowned shop for those looking for high-quality wooden combs, which have been acknowledged as traditional crafts in Japan. They are primarily used as everyday cosmetic tools, but they have also been used to elaborate the hairdos of geisha and kabuki actors in the entertainment industry. The shop has passed on its original methods of making the combs from one generation to the next. The place is really cozy inside with an exquisite atmosphere. You can also watch how the master makes boxwood combs from scratch. The price per comb ranges from 2,500 yen (around 20 American dollars) to a whopping 25,000 yen!
Make the most of your travel by visiting these three historical shops in Ueno. Ponder on how these artisanal stores have managed to survive for such a long time!
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