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One step outdoors from Shin-Okubo Station and you will find your self in Koreatown, a bustling Tokyo district that is exploding with power. The noise and crowds is usually a bit overwhelming for first-timers, however the space is a goldmine for followers of Korean road meals and barbecue, sweets and wonder merchandise to die for. Upbeat hits by Okay-pop superstars like BTS and Blackpink play from street-facing audio system, luring you into shops promoting Korean pop-culture merchandise — from Tumblrs, paper followers and key chains to icons adorned together with your favourite band member’s face. to the pad.

High school girls looking at K-pop superstar merchandise at a Shin-Okubo station shop

A retailer promoting Okay-pop merchandise in Shin-Okubo

As a longtime lover of Okay-pop, I like to discover Shin-Okubo alone or with fellow followers. The current Hallyu wave, in any other case referred to as the rise in international reputation of Korean popular culture, has given the neighborhood an explosion of vitality regardless of strained Japan-Korea relations. Its streets are sometimes stuffed with younger individuals and it has develop into a serious sightseeing vacation spot worthy of a go to to extra well-known locations akin to Shibuya or Harajuku.

Neon signs on a road in Shin-Okubo

The worldwide reputation of Korean tradition has made Shin-Okubo a serious Tokyo vacation spot.

A woman at a street intersection in Shin-Okubo.  A train is crossing a bridge on the road

Shin-Okubo is as worthy of a go to as different fashionable districts akin to Shibuya or Harajuku.

The world is usually a lot to soak up without delay, so why not make a day of it and buy groceries and eat with ease? Listed below are 5 of my private picks that can assist you use your time properly.

Road Meals: Jongno Yataimura

NK Constructing, 1-6-15 Hyakunich, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0073

  • good for: These searching for a finances afternoon snack

  • Not so good for: take a break

  • FYI: Money solely and no huge notice

  • Web site, steering

The streets of Shin-Okubo provide loads of hole-in-the-wall takeaway meals. A couple of three-minute stroll from the station you will discover Jongno Yataimura, a famend vendor that serves genuine South Korean grub.

Street-food seller Jongno Yataimura.  A worker holding a potato mozzarella corn dog in

The Potato Mozzarella Corn Canine is the preferred merchandise on the menu. , ,

A woman passes by the counter of street-food vendor Jongno Yataimura

, , , In Jongno Yataimura, the place writers cease for a street-food snack in Shin-Okubo

The preferred merchandise on its menu is the potato mozzarella corn canine. As an alternative of sausage, this Korean staple coats a stick of cheese in selfmade batter and potato cubes. The combination is primarily created from rice flour, which provides it a chewy however fluffy texture. With melted cheese inside, deep-fried corn canine are an important afternoon snack. There are ketchup and mustard in addition to sugar bottles for many who like their corn canine candy and salty in true Korean fashion. Jongno sells about 300 of them over the weekend. There’ll in all probability be an extended queue but it surely’s transferring quick so the wait time should not be too unhealthy.

For many who don’t love corn canine, have a cheese dakgangjeongSouth Korean-style fried rooster wrapped in a sweet-spicy sticky sauce topped with cheese, or hottokPancake stuffed with honey syrup.

Magnificence: Skingarden

Okay Plaza II, 2-1-2 Hyakunicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0073

  • good for: Check out totally different merchandise to seek out out what’s greatest for you

  • Not so good for: These searching for low cost offers. Different shops have inexpensive merchandise that you may purchase in bulk.

  • FYI: Some store assistants is usually a little aggressive of their gross sales negotiations.

  • Web site, steering

The Okay-beauty development is starting to dominate the worldwide skincare business. Merchandise utilized by well-known Korean actors and stars are continuously trending on social media, usually leading to gadgets being out of inventory on-line.

Strolling the streets of Shin-Okubo, you’ll come throughout numerous shops promoting Korean cosmetics and merchandise for pores and skin and hair. For anybody concerned about enhancing their skincare routine or searching for reward concepts, I like to recommend visiting Skingarden.

Front of K-beauty destination Skingarden

Skingarden is among the neighborhood’s fundamental locations for Okay-beauty merchandise

Rows of Sheet Masks at Skingarden

A variety of cease inventory sheet masks

With the widest vary of merchandise at Okay-Magnificence shops throughout the district, it’ll in all probability take a while to totally browse Skingarden. Close to the register are sheet masks — a vital aspect of the Okay-beauty regime — from face and lips to arms and ft. I like to recommend the green-tea-essence ones, that are a every day skin-soothing. Head as much as the second ground for make-up and pores and skin merchandise which might be a bit extra high-end, together with merchandise from South Korean manufacturers akin to Tirtir, VT Cosmetics, and Moonium. You too can discover nice offers within the “Whereas Shares Final” sale nook. And so they get offered.

Gross sales assistants are educated and can ask when you need assistance searching for particular merchandise. Inform them about your skincare wants and they’ll suggest a product that fits you.

Grocery store: Seoul Ichiba

Hoseido Constructing, 1-16-15 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0072

  • good for: monitoring uncommon korean content material

  • Not so good for: Leisurely store. It will get crowded and the employees is usually busy answering questions

  • FYI: They’re going to wrap the kimchi with an ice pack to maintain it recent once you take it dwelling

  • Web site, steering

If you wish to refill on scrumptious Korean snacks and elements. , ,

, , , Grocery store Seoul Ichiba is your greatest guess

For anybody trying to refill on scrumptious Korean snacks and meals, Seoul Ichiba, a small however luxurious grocery store, boasts a various line-up. The part that draws essentially the most guests is the moment ramen aisle, which incorporates every thing from shin ramyune to spicy beef broth, to cup-noodle chapaguri, which grew to become an enormous hit after being featured within the Oscar-winning movie. parasites, There’s a nice number of condiments, sauces and different elements to recreate your favourite Korean dishes at dwelling, in addition to a set of conventional Korean spoons and metallic chopsticks.

A worker preparing kimbap with a small pile of vegetables in Seoul Ichiba
Kimbap preparation in Seoul Ichiba

Along with instantaneous meals, snacks, and condiments, Seoul Ichiba has a stand that serves recent kimbap — Korean seaweed rice rolls with scrumptious fillings like pickled radishes, cucumbers and carrots — and tetokbokkiA preferred Korean street-vendor snack: chewy rice desserts drenched in sizzling gochujang Chili paste.

Cafe: Bum Bee Espresso

1-14-26 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-0072

  • good for: a ladies time out or date

  • Not so good for: massive group or these and not using a candy tooth

  • FYI: You may need to attend in line. Queues get particularly lengthy on weekends

  • Web site, steering

For a caffeine hit, head to Bam Bee Espresso, tucked away in an alleyway off a busy fundamental road. Open since March, this small, ethereal area, with its easy wooden and white-painted decor, is a welcome addition to the realm. In line with the supervisor, about 80 p.c of the purchasers are ladies, each younger and previous. Although continuously packed on every of my journeys, this place manages to take care of a serene ambiance.

Einspener - a traditional Viennese coffee - and Korean rice cake injeolmi at Bam B on a wooden tray in Bam B

Einspener – a conventional Viennese espresso – and Korean rice cake injeolmi, bam by

white front of bam b coffee

Regardless of usually being packaged, Bam Bi Espresso has a soothing vibe

Its menu is uncommon in Tokyo. One of the vital widespread drinks is Eispener, a conventional Viennese espresso with a beneficiant quantity of whipped cream. The espresso is created from a mix of beans from Brazil and Guatemala, which lends it a slight acidity that works properly with wealthy cream. Bam Bee additionally provides uncommon drinks akin to a creamy latte created from the yomogi herb, often known as Korean wormwood, and a black sesame latte.

To go along with it, a Siad-i . orderneologicA standard Korean rice cake. is manufactured from mochigom, or glutinous rice, powdered from soybeans right into a wonderful yellowish flour. It has an exquisite bouncy consistency that goes properly with crunchy almonds and sunflower seeds sprinkled on high. High it off with the cafe’s selfmade cinnamon syrup.

Restaurant: Tomato

Worth Okubo Constructing, 1-14-18 Okubo, Shinjuku-kyu, Tokyo 169-0072

  • good for: a steamy feast

  • Not so good for: vegetarian or vegan

  • FYI: Minimal order is for 2 individuals, so go along with a buddy

  • Web site, steering

For actually genuine Korean delicacies, go to Tomato. Identified for Samgyopsal (Grilled Pork Stomach), this barbecue restaurant is widespread amongst Japanese college students in addition to overseas vacationers for its beneficiant parts (and the truth that they use recent fairly than frozen meat, which is uncommon).

Pork on the grill at a table in Tomato Restaurant, surrounded by plates of kimchi and lettuce and dipping sauce

Tomato is widespread for its genuine Korean dishes and all-you-can-eat barbecue offers.

Pork in ssamjang – a Korean dipping sauce – and wrapped in lettuce in tomatoes

Pork in ssamjang – a Korean dipping sauce – and wrapped in tomato lettuce

Order the Grilled Pork Stomach by itself or, when you’re actually hungry, you possibly can plump for a ready-to-eat deal, which incorporates three sorts of pork in addition to kimchi, inexperienced onion salad, Korean salad and Facet dishes together with spicy are included. Assign the radish grilling to the servers, who will cook dinner every thing in entrance of you on an iron hotplate.

Wrap scrumptious items of pork in lettuce and luxuriate in understanding, a Korean dipping sauce – Add uncooked garlic for additional punch. If you’re inquisitive about different choices, chijimi One other fan favourite. Skinny Korean pancakes dotted with spring onions and served with soy-sauce dip.

Tomato additionally provides a range soju, typically known as “Korean vodka”, a subtly candy liquor with quite a lot of flavors, together with blueberry and muscat. Drink it clear like a digestif.

Share your favourite locations in Tokyo’s Koreatown within the feedback

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