Located in northern Tokyo, roughly between Ikebukuro and Ueno, Sugamo lies a bit off the beaten path. This quiet residential district is home to mostly the elderly and offers little in the way of 'Downtown' entertainment, aside from a Karaoke and Pachinko, which is standard in even the smallest watersheds of Japan.
But no one goes to Sugamo for the shopping or the night life, that's what Akihabara and Shinjuku are for. No, Sugamo offers a more traditional experience and what it lacks in action it makes up in charm.
One of Tokyo's better kept secrets, the Sugamo Market is an essential part of the Tokyo Experience. And although it is most frequented by and targeted at the elderly, this market still leaves much to offer for the explorer and anyone else for that matter. Included among the many shops selling geriatric clothing are:
- Traditional Japanese Snacks
- Tea shops
- Underwear shops
- Traditional Clothing
- Umbrella Shops
- Sandal Shops
- Fresh Fish & Seafood
- Street vendors selling anything from fried chicken to takoyaki
Not only are there terrible variety of shops, but there are two temples as well, one to the left of the front entrance, and one in the middle of the market on the right hand side, the market atmosphere plus the temples offers an immersing experience.
Japanese Popsicles - Tsujjya
For only 100 yen you can experience some of the most fantastic natural popsicles in existence.
- Ogura (Sweet read beans)
The Colonel better watch out. Finding quality fried chicken in Tokyo isn't exactly easy, but this place judo chops all other competition in half. It has perfectly battered skin, tender, juicy meat, and only for 250 yen for 100 grams.
Think of them as spherical pancakes about the size of a golf ball. Their taste is delicately sweet, slight crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. You can usually get a free sample of one, or otherwise buy a batch of two dozen minimally.
Exit Sugamo Station Main Exit, cross the street, walk for two blocks and it will be right on your left.
Technically in Sugamo and Komagome, the Rikugien is one of Tokyo's finest Gems and top gardens. The foliage of course varies depending on the time of year you visit. But either way count on being dazzled, be it fall, spring or summer (winter of course being out of the question for obvious reasons). The nominal 300 yen fee is more than worth the experience. Designed around a lake the garden features lush grass shores, finely trimmed pine trees, round azalea bushes and even has a... Read more
If you're in Tokyo for any length of time and have frequented the supermarkets you'll know the feeling of desperation... little or no Western foods! Well breath a sigh of relief and head on over to the Import Store where you can not only find delicious Japanese cuisine, but a preponderance of imported foods. From brie to lasagna noodles and much much more.
The store is located conveniently inside the Sugamo JR station! Just take the escalator up to the second floor. And you'll find the it as well as several shops serving up freshly cooked dishes, Western and Japanese. For your bread needs, the first floor holds a modern bakery, where you can find anything from croissants to French begets.
JR Yamanote Line to Sugamo Station.