Yearning to see a more “local” side of Tokyo, but still want the novelty thrills and a healthy dose of chill? Keep reading. At 1.3km (0.7miles), Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street is said to be one of the longest shopping streets in all of Japan and frankly, we don’t know why it’s not more well-known. Having sprung up after the devastating Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, it’s a bustling working-class shōtengai featuring hundreds of shops where you can pick up thrifted treasures, indulge in local street food, hit up your favourite large chain shops, and even take a soak in a public bath. What’s not to like?

Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street

Togoshi Ginza: A Brief History

After the popular shopping areas of Tsukiji and Ginza were decimated by the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, many merchants began to set up shop in the Togoshi area. Along with the merchants, Togoshi also inherited a massive supply of red bricks from the rubble of Ginza which were used to pave the streets. Because of this physical link, Ginza’s name was added and it became known as Togoshi Ginza. 

Another interesting thing to note about this neighbourhood is that the utility cables are all underground, which creates a nicer aesthetic without electricity poles and wires. Makes for a much better photo, we think!  

As can be expected for a roughly 100-year old shopping district, Togoshi Ginza has had its ups and downs, but thankfully, the shōtengai association works tirelessly to promote the area and make it a desirable place to visit to this day.  

A working-class foodie paradise 

The food of Togoshi Ginza is the biggest draw for visitors, with many labelling it as a mecca for working-class food and street food. It’s not a fine dining destination — although there is a Bib Gourmand tonkatsu restaurant nearby — but rather relaxed local spots for the shopper on the go. You’ll find all your favourites from gyoza, karaage, and onigiri to cute little donuts with animal faces.  

Many of these snacks can be enjoyed while walking, and because the streets are closed to traffic in the afternoon (3:00pm-6:00pm Monday to Saturday, and 2:00pm-7:00pm on Sundays and holidays), you can stroll without fear of a collision. Pro tip: watch out for bikes, though. 

The Togoshi Croquettes 

You can’t go to Togoshi Ginza without eating a croquette. Thanks to a brilliant “croquette promotion” idea by the shōtengai association, there are now around twenty stores and restaurants selling their own unique croquette flavours. Keep an eye out for a free korokke guide map while you’re in the area to help you navigate. 

Togoshi Ginza Croquettes

One of our favourites is the oden croquette from Kamaboko Shop Gotō which features a beautifully soft morsel of oden (simmered vegetable and fish cake dish) in the centre, surrounded by deliciously seasoned mash and a crunchy crumb coating. 

Other foods to look out for

We could go on about the delicious foods of Togoshi, but we’d much prefer you follow your own nose when you’re there. To give you a little head start, here are a few tried and true faves: 

Fried chicken at Kei. Indicate how many 100g of breast or thigh you want and take a number. The staff will fry it up, weigh it and let you know the final price. The standing tables outside are the perfect place to devour it. Warning: it will be hot!

Food in Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street

Dumplings at Ryuuki. Another popular street-food on Togoshi Ginza, these tasty soup dumplings can be ordered and eaten in a flash at the standing table out front. Try not to squirt any passers-by!   

Street food in Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street
Togoshi Ginza Dumplings

Handmade onigiri at Onigiri Togoshiya. Forget convenience stores, this place has around 40 flavours of hand-made onigiri to choose from. You can order from tablets with English descriptions and can even get a set with soup and fried chicken. Fun fact: there’s another branch in Dōgenzaka, Shibuya.

Take a dip at Togoshi Ginza Onsen 

If you really want to get cosy with the locals, head to Togoshi Ginza Onsen. With steamy hot spring water, an open air bath, and murals of Mount Fuji, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a day on your feet. The ¥500 price tag is a perk, too. If you want a sauna, that’s an extra ¥300, plus you can hire towels and buy soap to save you bringing your own.  

Togoshi Ginza Onsen
Togoshi Ginza Onsen

Keep an eye out for lucky Gin-chan 

Because it’s Japan, Togoshi Ginza has its own kawaii mascot appearing throughout the street. The stray cat character named Togoshi Ginjiro, or Gin-chan for short, can be found printed on merchandise and foods and even immortalised in a number of statues. The idea is to rub the coloured balls for luck, so keep an eye out for them on your journey. 

Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street

This is just a sample of the fun things you’ll encounter on Togoshi Ginza. If you’re into thrifting, retro coffee shops, local grocers, and people-watching, you’re in for a great day. 

Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street

How to get to Togoshi Ginza 

You can access Togoshi Ginza from Togoshi Ginza station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line or from Togoshi Station on the Toei Asakusa Line. 

Name: Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street 
Address: 1 Chome-15-16 Togoshi, Shinagawa City, Tokyo 142-0041 (map link)

Post by Japan Journeys.

Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street