“Yokocho” Tokyo Alleys & Side Streets

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Space is a premium in Tokyo, alleys and side streets are prime real estate and I’ve discovered that they are hidden communities where locals convene to go to the market.  Yokocho means “alleys to the side of the main street.” One of my favorite side streets is Togoshiginza in Gotanda. I usually take a stroll there to relieve tension after the teacher training on Saturday or Sunday evenings; or to get my favorite fish sandwich for lunch at the bakery; shop for vegetables; or stop at the 100Y shop.  There are other neighborhoods interesting “side streets” as well, Sangenjaya is a maze of rustic and colorful venues; bargains can be found in Kichijojoi; and the narrow streets in Shimokitzawa make up a lively bohemian village.  Next to Ueno Park is the popular “Ameyayokocho,”  an exotic, sprawling mix of food stalls, shops and even a  gorgeous shrine. If you ever visit Tokyo, remember to be adventurous and look around the corner, you never know what you may find.

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