A Walk Through Post-war Tokyo
Okazu Yokocho is a shopping arcade in a very quiet part of Taito-ku, in a former industrial area that used to be bustling in the Showa era (1926-1989) but which has now turned into a quiet
town as a lot of the handcraft work that was done here has gone unwanted in the modern age.
The neighborhood still has some old drinking spots and specialty shops run by local owners, and Okazu Yokocho is a street where these businesses concentrate. Okazu means “side-dish,”
something that you’d serve with rice, and the street was popular when workers with no time to
cook came here to buy food for their families. These days, most of such shops on the street have
closed down, but a few side-dish shops are still in business here, keeping alive the tradition.
This shop sells the typical household side-dishes, some of which you’ll rarely ever see served in restaurants. Tsukudani, which is different kinds of soy sauce and rice wine-stewed condiments, is a big part of the display.
The quiet nature of the neighborhood has made it attractive recently for artists,who open shops to sell their own personal crafts.Tsubame Kobo is one such shop specializing in fablicbased products.
Beyond Okazu Yokocho lies the Kuramae area, as retro a neighborhood as there is in Tokyo. Store signs and building fronts here are especially fun to look at, as they often have you wondering, who made this, and when?
You can occasionally also spot some rarities you’d have a hard time finding elsewhere in town. Here, under a storefront for a milk company few young Japanese people have probably ever heard of, is a milk-themed drink vending machine.
It sells several different milk drinks, most of them made by MEGMILK, a company whose products you can actually find in supermarkets.
The walk along the riverside from Kuramae to Asakusa is full of people around noontime, with businessmen bringing their lunch boxes over for
a relaxing break. TOKYO SKYTREE® and the famous
Asakusa skyline are visible in the distance.