Tasty Tripping Around Japan Without Leaving Tokyo
Written for GaijinPot, Tokyo. I’m obsessed with these regional shops and visited around 40 last year! They’re extremely popular with the Japanese but I didn’t see any other foreign customers. So if you want to see what the locals are currently lovin’…
Dreaming of eating and travelling around Japan but short on time or money? Check out some of Tokyo‘s “antenna shops,” created by local governments to promote their regions through food, souvenirs and tourist information.
Tokyo’s antenna shops are mostly in Yurakucho and Ginza, so you can experience a virtual tour of far-flung Japan in a small convenient area. Get inspired for your next trip while guzzling free food samples. Many shops have takeout or sit-down eateries using regional ingredients, from casual counters to full-service restaurants.
Gourmands can hunt for treats not sold elsewhere, like rare, artisanal miso bean paste or limited-edition sake. These items make for unique gifts.
Kotsu Kaikan antenna shop hub
Yurakucho’s Kotsu Kaikan centre is antenna shop heaven, featuring delicacies from the northern part to the southern edge of Japan. Go to Hokkaido Dosanka Plaza for rich seafood and dairy. People queue for the Yubari melon soft serve. Osaka Hyakkaten sells takoyaki and pork buns. For the tea seekers, pick up a quality brew from Shizuoka Mt. Fuji Green Tea Plaza.
Other shops highlight Akita in the Tohoku region or more southern prefectures like Wakayama, Hyogo, Toyama, Fukuoka, Oita, Tokushima/Kagawa combined and Shiga. Also popular are Biei town and Toyooka city. Murukara Machi Karakan is a multi-region shop with curry and alcohol selections from all over Japan. Take your snacks to the terrace garden and watch bullet trains zoom by.
Nearby Ginza antenna shops
Ishikawa prefecture’s Hyakuman-goku Monogatari is across the road on Ginza’s Sotobori-dori. Specialties include lacquerware, gold crafts and gold-leaf wrapped soft serve. Ginza Washita celebrates tropical Okinawa. Stock up on fiery awamori liquor or pretty Ryukyu glassware. American influence shows on the Spam-stocked shelves and U.S.-Japan dish, taco rice.
Ibaraki, Kochi, Oita and Fukui prefectural shops are also clustered here. Walk south on Ginza-Yanagi-dori to Oishii Yamagata Plaza for wagyu beef and Hiroshima Brand Shop TAU for four dine-in options including an okonomiyaki bar.
Kanazawa city and Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Nagano, Gunma, Iwate, Tottori/Okayama and Kagawa/Ehime prefectural shops are nearby. Neighbour district Yaesu/Nihonbashi harbours Kyoto, Nagasaki, Fukushima, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi and Hokkaido outlets.
Antenna shops are booming among Japanese people. While largely undiscovered by foreigners, they increasingly offer tax-free shopping and English-speaking staff. If you’re fascinated by Japanese regional culture get ready to be addicted.
Things To Know
Opening times vary – around 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.