7 Places to Buy Souvenirs in the Culturally Diverse Town of Ueno
Ueno is one of Tokyo's primary tourist neighborhoods. In addition to the many art museums inside the spacious Ueno Park, guests will find shopping areas with items unique to Japan, the Ame Yokocho shopping district, and other ideal sightseeing spots. It's also within walking distance of Asakusa, Nezu, and Akihabara, making it a convenient place to start a day's trip. Ueno is easily accessed from Tokyo Station and is also the gateway to the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions of Japan. Visitors will find many items on sale that are perfect for souvenirs and in this post, we offer some of our suggestions.
Sep 22 2017 (Feb 19 2021)
1. Japanese Rusk and Kawaii Panda Cookies at Waraku Beniya (Ueno Station)
Located in the shopping plaza "Ecute" inside Ueno Station, Waraku Beniya is a confectionery shop run by Hironobu Tsujiguchi, one of Japan's most famous patisseries. The store is particularly popular for their rusk biscuits, made with seasonal ingredients that reflect the passing of the year with an elegant flavor.
Another notable item is their "Kawaii Panda Cookies", decorated with the image of Ueno Zoo's most popular resident, the giant panda. These crispy cookies have cream sandwiched in-between, allowing you to enjoy two contrasting textures at once. They are available in plain, chocolate, and strawberry varieties, each one unique in its own right and highly recommended.
2. Anpan Cubes at Wholesome Ueno Shop (Ueno Station)
Wholesome is a bakery in the L'Ueno food court, found inside the Ueno3153 shopping facility between JR and Keisei Ueno Station. In part due to its proximity to Ueno Zoo, many of its breads are baked in the shape of adorable animals. All the breads are made in-store and served fresh and warm for you to enjoy.
Their flagship product are their "anpan cubes", which are made with sweet bean paste and imprinted with the image of a panda. Each has a well-baked outer surface and gooey inside, resulting in an impressive contrast in texture. Their bean paste is subtly sweet and fills the cube from end to end.
3. Cigars and Gelée from Yoku Moku (Ueno Station)
Yoku Moku is a Japanese confectionery shop located in Ueno Station's Ecute shopping plaza. Their "cigars" are cat tongue cookies baked in the shape of a rolled cigarette and are notable for their delicious buttery flavor. The items on sale in the Ueno store are packed in special packages with panda artwork and make for great souvenirs.
Another recommended item is their Gelée desserts. They are available in many different flavors and colors. Buying several might weigh you down, but they are sure to make a pleasing gift.
4. Panda Macarons from Boul'mich (Ueno Station)
Boul'mich is a confectionery store that specializes in sweets made as surprise gifts for adults. The panda macaron pictured above is a limited item that is sold only at the Ueno branch. Their cute appearance and affordable price make them perfect souvenirs. The panda itself is known as "Uekyun", an original character developed by Ueno's Ecute shopping center. The panda character is emblazoned on the special packaging, meaning it is sure to be popular with children and ladies who like "kawaii" (cute) goods.
The cream sandwiched inside the macaron is especially delicious. It is soft enough to melt in your mouth and no one can eat just one. They also offer seasonal macarons, with decorations themed after yearly events like July's Tanabata (Star Festival).
5. Panda Daruma from Yu Nakagawa (Ueno Station)
Located next to the park exit of JR Ueno Station, Yu Nakagawa offers lifestyle goods designed with typical Japanese flair and utility. Guests will find everything from vibrantly decorated dish cloths dyed in traditional Japanese colors to kitchen goods and other tools that look great and are convenient to have around the house. They also have clothing with subtle designs that are well worth checking out.
These "panda daruma" give a new take on traditional daruma by portraying them as adorable, round-bellied pandas. Along with the original daruma, they can be enjoyed as house decorations.
6. Snow Domes and Okiagari-Koboshi from Ueno Land (Ueno Station)
Ueno Land is a store inside Ueno Station specializing in souvenirs. Items include capsule toys with an Ueno theme, panda goods you won't find anywhere else, and other goods that capture the charm of the area. With so much variety, you're sure to have trouble choosing just one. A particular selling point is the store's rich selection of snow domes. Each one is a unique piece, so take your time and select the one that suits you best.
Another cute recommendation is this Okiagari-Koboshi with a panda design. It's a panda arrangement of a well-known folk craft from Iwate Prefecture and has a charmingly round shape and innocent expression.
7. Cubes from Kakitane Kitchen (Ueno Station)
Kaki-no-Tane is one of Japan's most ubiquitous snacks. Small pieces of senbei crackers are cut into the shape of brown persimmon seeds. They go great with beer and can be found at any convenience store. "Kakitane Kitchen" is Japan's first shop dedicated solely to different varieties of Kaki-no-Tane, including flavors that can't be found anywhere else like bacon, butter, salty sauce, and more.
The store's colorful "Kaki-no-Tane Cubes" feature a distinct array of flavored nuts and are sold inside cube-shaped boxes with a pop touch. The Kaki-no-Tane themselves also come in different unique flavors, such as azumi wasabi and luxurious cheese. Each box is light-weight and they make for great bulk-buy souvenirs.
Ueno is a neighborhood of great diversity and as the area's mascot, panda-themed items make for great souvenirs. Of course, there are lots of other gifts that can't be found elsewhere, so a visit is well-worth your time.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.