Shōtengai (shopping streets) are to communities what department shops are to wealthy housewives. There are almost 2,400 of these bustling centers of activity in Tokyo alone. Tokyo Weekender has been to several and has chosen its favorite streets and arcades for vintage shopping. On our list, every Shōtengai has over 100 shops, making it worthwhile to visit.
MUSASHI KOYAMA shopping street palm
Palm Shōtengai, the crowning glory of Musashi Koyama, is Tokyo's longest covered shopping boulevard at 800 meters. It was given an intriguing name in 1956, but it has nothing to do with an abundance of ferns; rather, it was chosen as the winner of a contest among residents to give the street a name.
Chain retailers have gradually migrated into The Palm, but you shouldn't let that deter you from going because there are still a ton of locally owned stores and restaurants. There is truly something for everyone, from adorable small parfait shops with handwritten signs to businesses for older people that only stock huge, comfy underpants to vintage bakeries and mochi vendors.
A sensory overload at TOGOSHI GINZA
Togoshi Ginza, a mile-long street, is well-known locally for its plethora of food stalls and sellers. It is the longest street in Tokyo and features over 400 companies jammed into a 1.2 kilometer long street. Local railroad runs through the midst of it, providing access and making for excellent shooting opportunities.
Whatever the weather, the busy retail strip is a hive of activity, with vendors vying for customers' attention and elderly women riding alarmingly fast on their bicycles. All ages love Togoshi Ginza's attractions, including its ice cream parlors, tachi-nomiya (little kiosks where patrons can stand and drink), and even its artisan ramen.
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