While most tourists stick to Tokyo‘s central and west areas, the eastern side of the city also has much to offer. In terms of sightseeing, there’s plenty for those who are interested in neighborhoods with a more ‘local’ feel to them. Sunamachi Ginza is a relatively unknown street in Koto-ku where you can eat some amazing street food. This ‘Ginza’ is not to be confused with the Ginza area in central Tokyo. The word ‘ginza’ literally means ‘silver seat’, and it is often used in Japan to name the main street near a station where many shops and restaurants are concentrated.
There are similar areas in Tokyo, such as the Yanaka Ginza during the day and Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku. But especially the latter has been discovered by international tourists and can get crowded. If you are a bit adventurous, the Sunamachi Ginza is a great alternative to get your local street food fix.
It is best to go for lunch or an early dinner. Shops here tend to close around 5-6 pm which is normal for the more local areas as opposed to the central, tourist-heavy areas. A big advantage of the Sunamachi Ginza as opposed to street food that you can, for example, get in Asakusa, is that it is a lot cheaper.
Most businesses here are family-run businesses that have been run by the same family for multiple generations. This also means that their recipes have been honed and perfected for many years. This is a typical trait that is admired about Japanese crafts and craftsmen in general, including cooking.
Japanese Street Food
So what is it that you should definitely try during your visit to Sunamachi Ginza? Here is a list of our personal favorite foods:
- Maguro Katsu, this crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside tuna cutlet is a real treat
- Yakitori, and then especially the fatty thigh version, is delicious here
- Oden, this is a food typically eaten in Japan during winter but served throughout the year. It is one of those dishes that you can’t find outside of Japan and therefore have to try while here.
- Unakuri, made of eel and barbequed to perfection
- Shapin, this is strictly speaking a Chinese snack, but Japanese people love it too. It is like a delicious, crispy large dumpling that you just have to try. To help you find it, it is pictured above in the bag on the right.
Other Interesting Places near Sunamachi
You can easily spend around 1-1.5 hours eating your way through the Sunamachi Ginza, but it is a good idea to plan something else in that area as well as you are not likely to end up here again as it is a bit out of the way. A visit to Monzennakacho to watch the temple ceremony that is held multiple times per day would make for a great combination, and the Edo Tokyo Museum in the sumo neighborhood Ryogoku is also in the same direction. If you are a coffee lover, you might want to stop over in Kiyosumi Shirakawa, a neighborhood boasting many little hip cafes.
Your Japan Tour
If you are thinking about making a trip to Japan, as seasoned Japan experts we can help you create your perfect Japan tour, including destinations like the Sunamachi Ginza. Experienced guides can help you get the most out of your limited time in Tokyo. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!