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Built in the middle of the Tokyo, it has an old-fashioned, retro scenery
In your country, is there small, cheap candy meant for children?
In Japan, this is called “dagashi” (cheap sweets). Cheap sweets are sold at a specialty “cheap sweets-store”, and as a kid, I had fun going shopping there with friends on the way home from school, gripping coins in my hand.
Now, there are less and less cheap sweets-stores, and it has an “old-fashioned” image, but even so, in Tokyo is Japan’s oldest cheap sweets-store.
It’s about a 15 minute walk from Ikebukuro station, in a place called Zoshigaya.
Here is a shrine called “Kishimojin shrine”, where deities for childbirth and rearing children are enshrined. Next to this is the cheap sweets-store “Kamigawaguchi-ya”, going strong for 230 years.
It’s said to have been the model for the cheap sweets-store that is seen in the 1960’s anime movie “Only Yesterday”. The current store owner seems to be the 13th generation.
The building itself, too, was built over 100 years ago, so the atmosphere is beyond retro.
The kids open the pots by themselves and take out the candy that they like. There are countless kinds of candy, like candy drops and gum, rice crackers and mochi cakes, and candy you can get from an instant lottery. It’s hard to choose.
Surely any Japanese person who comes here will get a nostalgic feeling. Maybe now, as an adult, you can buy all the candy you want to eat. An unattainable dream as a kid.
You can also get cheap sweets at the convenience store or supermarket, but you don’t get that exciting feeling you get when you go to the cheap sweets-store, and you can’t enjoy a nice conversation with the lady at the store. Definitely visit this small cheap sweets-store when you decide to revert to a childlike mind.
Kamigawaguchi-ya is open from 10 am to 5 pm, except for days with adverse weather like heavy rainfall.
Japan’s cheap sweets might also be nice as a souvenir of sorts.