A rest-stop on your journey.
The Uguisudani (Negishi, Iriya) area is known as the “elegant land,” where famous literary people including Shiki Masaoka gathered during the Edo and Meiji eras.
In the Showa era, it prospered as a ryokan town for those who came to Tokyo near Ueno Station, the terminal station. Due to this bustling atmosphere, back alley where people enjoy their nightlife began to flourish.
In modern times, a trend to use older buildings as cafes and guesthouses has begun.
Surrounded by Ueno Park, as well as the Asakusa and Yanesen areas, this part of Japan is seen as a town that combines the good old days of Edo with Tokyo’s modern novelty. Part of its allure is that it is becoming known as a town where people from all over the world gather and talk.
MORNING GLORY MARKET
TOKYO NATIONAL MUSEUM
A shop right next to the Toshogu entrance.<br>
There used to be many shops in Ueno Park, but this is the only one that still stands. The storefront is decorated with cute pastel-coloured signboards and narrow banners, which gives it a retro vibe. As this colourful image suggests, they serve refreshing drinks and foods like ramune soda, tokoroten, and Showa-style ice cream. One of their specialty is the “Curry Somen”, which was born from the idea that if you were to top cold “somen” noodles usually eaten in the summer, with hot curry, you would get a dish that could be enjoyed in any season. Definitely worth a try!
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURE
YOU CAN FIND
Western-style restaurant in downtown.
As you climb up the staircase with a distinctive orange sign overhead, you’ll notice hand-written menu items listed on the wall as a friendly “mama” comes out to welcome you. Although it is a western restaurant, Japanese meals such as mackerel miso, and izakaya-style drinks are also available.
Among these, the most popular ones are the gratin or the cream croquettes both made with a homemade cream sauce that takes 6 hours to prepare. Whether for lunch, dinner or for a few drinks, whatever the occasion Restaurant Q will satisfy your stomach and your soul.
MUNEMITSU MUTSU HOUSE
In 1953, the current company president of Chikuryuan-okano, who had trained at a Japanese confectionery store, started a shop from a room in a rented house. Now it is a long-established store with 10 locations around Tokyo Ueno and is widely loved by locals. Their signature product, the “Kogome Daifuku”, is reminiscent of the sweets rooted in this area during the Edo period. Made with mildly sweet anko (sweet red bean paste) wrapped in mochigome (sticky rice) cooked for 7 minutes, Kogome Daifuku is a symbol of the local culture, and is best eaten in one big mouthful.
If you get off the main street near Uguisudani Station, and walk for a little bit, a yellow storefront with the letters “Den” will come into view. This coffee shop founded 48 years ago, run by a second-generation owner, offers a traditional Japanese cafe menu, unchanged since its debut. Pudding, cream soda, “grapan” (gratin + bread), a symphony of homey fragrances wafts through the air and makes the heart dance. One of the featured dishes is the demi-glace Grapan, a dish consisting of beef tendons and bread. Prepared with carefully selected ingredients from several suppliers, it’s a dish that “could not have been made by our shop alone” says the owner with a warm and inviting smile.
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL HOUSE
cafe & kitchen ayacoya
A renovated old style Japanese restaurant.
Inside a residential area, walk a few minutes to find this old house hidden amongst several others, slide the door open, take off your shoes at the entrance and get in. Large wooden tables surround the open kitchen where you can sit comfortably and witness the owner making your food, such as Vietnamese-style banh mi or delicious curry that will make you come back for more. If you are tired of walking around the city, you can catch a breath here with an affordable coffee.
THERE ARE MANY TEMPLES
“Feel like going for a drink?” is the simple thought this izakaya seeks to inspire. Run by a couple from Okinawa and downtown Tokyo, this izakaya gives the same warm feel as if you were visiting a friend’s house. You cannot go wrong with any of the Okinawa-based dishes served here. Choose from several nifty menu items that pair well with any kind of alcohol, and you’ll just want to try every single kind of “Obanzai” (traditional home-cooked food) specials that change every day. Well then, how about going for some Okinawa Yambaru chicken with island veggies and a glass of Orion beer?