These things are everywhere! Introducing Japan’s Antenna Shops!
If you want to buy goods from one of the various locales of Japan but you rarely leave the city you are the exact kind of person to which we’d like to introduce “Antenna Shops”!
So, what is an “antenna shop”?
You’re probably curious because of the odd name, right? Originally, the term referred to small shops set up by local governments or companies to measure demand for their products. Nowadays, the term refers to shops in large cities that promote regional goods, and there are tons of these “antenna shops” in Tokyo.
There are many of these shops located in places like Ginza, Ueno, and around Tokyo Station, or any location where a large number of people (including foreign tourists) are likely to congregate. The shop’s appearance varies, but in addition to edible souvenirs for one’s coworkers, the shops also sell small knick-knacks and T-shirts. The number of things you can get from remote locations without leaving the city is very surprising. While of course the main reason for their existence is to sell their goods, just window shopping and seeing all the wares can be fun. Try going inside the next time you see one!
Things you can buy in Antenna Shops
The list is too large to fit in one article, but the main things you can find are as follows:
Of course, you can find rice crackers and candies that are perfect as souvenirs, but you can also find pickled vegetables, okonomiyaki-making kits, and spices in infinite number. About 70 percent of an antenna shop is dedicated to food.
Locally-made juices and teas are common, but there are also high-quality sake brews from locations known for their sake. Many shops also let you sample the wares, too, so be sure to ask!
Key holders and stationery, or other small articles sold as souvenirs, as well as T-shirts. Useful when you need to pick up a bunch of Japanese souvenirs to take home as gifts.
There are also many shops that have spaces to eat so you can sit down and try out meals made with local ingredients. Some are even now adding spaces where you can take lessons with local artisans and take home the finished product. As you can see, an antenna shop isn’t just meant for buying things, but experiencing the various parts of Japan without ever leaving Tokyo.
Recommended Antenna Shops:
Here are some great antenna shops in the city you should check out:
This shop in Ginza carries the famous Okinawan sweet known as “Chinsuko”, as well as awamori liquor and other Okinawan goods. It’s always packed with sight-seers!
This shop near the Yaesu exit of Tokyo Station features many foods from the sea, in addition to some amazingly good soft-serve ice cream made with milk from Hokkaido.
This shop is located in Ginza. Ishikawa prefecture is known for its sake, so this shop has many types of the high-quality, locally-made Junmai Ginmeishu. It also has an eating space where you can enjoy Noto-raised beef steaks or sashimi bowls from that famed peninsula.
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