A random read from an In-flight magazine featuring this part of Tokyo left a lasting impression. And a mental note was made to check it out when possible.
Ningyocho— Ueno and Asakusa’s lesser known cousin– is what Tokyoites refer to as a Shitamachi, or old downtown Tokyo during the Edo period.
Home to many traditional craft stores and eateries older than our great great grandparents, the narrow streets and back alleyways that characterize Ningyocho convey a nostalgic mood. The Amazake Yokocho Street, in particular, is chock-full of interesting shops and delightful finds. Just as well that the guy’s at work so I was able ramble and explore to my heart’s content.
CHIDORIYA-SAN. A great little gem of a shop for handmade tenugui, or thin Japanese hand towel made of cotton. You can think of it as decorative Japanese “utility towels” for lack of a better word, though there are no fixed way to utilising one. A dishcloth, hand towel, headband, or decorative purposes, anything goes. There are other tenugui specialty shops as well, but Chidoriya’s immense variety is hard to beat. These dainty little piece of cloths come in all sorts of designs and patterns to match the different seasons and occasions. Very pretty, very neat.
Too pretty to use. Don’t you just love these?
First it was Naniwaya at Azabu Juban; then the chance meeting with TAMAHIDE— the birthplace of Oyakodon. Established in 1760, there is a perpectual queue outside the restaurant. It took me a good 20 minutes to place my order and land myself a snug spot in the corner (yes, I am a Singaporean who queues for my food!). At ¥1,500, that afternoon, I had my most expensive bowl of Oyakodon ever. And even though I’ve not tasted that many Oyakodons in my life, it is perhaps safe to announce that it’s pretty darn good. Well it’d better be since it’s almost S$20 a bowl! OMG.
Next, a 172 years old Japanese dessert shop HATSUNE. History comes with a price. This humble little bowl of Anmitsu, a colourful concoction of agar, fruits, glutinous rice flour balls, red bean paste and scoop of ice cream, is a hefty ¥900. A once in a lifetime treat.
Ningyo-yaki, the eponymous Japanese red bean filled snacks/cakes in the shape of a doll, from which this place got its name.