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Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/23 09:45
I am interested in buying a bunch of dagashi for friends and such...I like the idea of buying a truly absurd amount of candy both in quantity and variety...I will get weird kit kats and such in Tokyo...but I am looking for the kind of weird penny candy where I can get a million varieties that I'd never see anywhere else (and certainly not at home)...Kawagoe seems to have a neat candy alley but that's the only thing I am really interested in and that makes it a less than optimal use of a half day just to buy some sweets. I know there is, for example, a dagashi shop in Nakano Broadway but I assume the variety is much much smaller.

What would be my best in Tokyo alternative, if any, to going to Kawagoe just for candy shopping?
by thatguyalex  

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/23 11:18
Follow Norm and Kelly in this video episode shot around Ueno, Tokyo. Norm loves dagashi and he has one episode, at least, on his channel dedicated to dagashi.
https://youtu.be/7H0FqhKVk4I
by Amato (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/23 13:02
Ameyoko has always been famous for its modern dagashi, both in variety and quantity.

Nakamise at Sensoji in Asakusa also carries a variety of more traditional dagashi. Generally speaking, tourist spots carry a lot of cheap sweets.

Also note that kids in Japan would go to a dagashi-ya (dagashi shop) to play games to win cheap traditional snacks. You might enjoy the experience. Here is a list of dagashi shops throughout Japan.
http://www.carayoko.com/map/map1-2.html
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/23 18:17
Hello!

I really like the "Ewatary Candy Shop" near Kinshicho Station.
http://ewatari.jp/

But it depends on the time you would like to visit, because it has closed due the golden week holiday
(April 27 (Saturday)-30 (Tuesday) and May 2 (Thu) -6 (Monday)
It will be open again from May 7 (Tuesday).

As in one of the other posts say, the "Niki no Kashi" Candy shop at the Ameyoko Market Street is really great too.
by Vio (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/23 20:20
I found "Candy Alley" in Kawagoe to be underwhelming, although I'm not particularly interested in dagashi. I tend to agree that it's not your best bet. I really liked Kawagoe from the standpoint of architecture (period buildings), and I enjoyed the shrine there. But not the shopping, really.

I used to bring home enormous hauls of okashi (not the dagashi type, more like Kit-Kats, Pretz, candy, all sorts of rice crackers...), although I basically don't do it anymore. In my okashi-hauling days, though, I found the Aeon Laketown Mall in Saitama (Koshigaya Laketown) to be a treasure trove. For starters, there are two large supermarkets, each with a pretty good selection of okashi (including an aisle full of "modern" dagashi). Selection in each supermarket is slightly different and it's worth going to both although it is a serious hike to get to the farthest one. Then there are numerous other stores that carry interesting snacks and treats.

For dagashi specifically, there are a number of shops that have some, and two that are devoted to dagashi, the best one probably being icchoume ichibangai:
https://laketownkaze-aeonmall.com/shop/detail/152
The other store devoted to dagashi is Dagashi Yumeya
https://www.aeon-laketown.jp/mori/shop/store/food-foo_347.html
I am not personally familiar with either of these shops (or any other of the stores at Laketown that have dagashi), but you can probably get a pretty good haul just from those two.

Whether it's worth it to go all the way out to Laketown is debatable. It takes roughly an hour to get there from central Tokyo (depending on where you're coming from), and the tickets to get there cost money unless you have a JR pass. Furthermore, the place is so enormous that it takes a great deal of time to cover on foot, even if you know where you are going. If you just want to amble around and explore, count on at least half a day there. (And be aware that only a small percentage of the hundreds of stores there carry food items, let alone dagashi. But a few percent of 700 is still quite a number.) On the other hand, JR will take you right to the doorstep of the store. In comparison, it can take 30 minutes or more to get to say, Shinjuku Station from some other part of Tokyo, and then you have to walk all over the place to get to whatever part of Shinjuku you want to be in, sometimes in bad weather. So I find Laketown to be very efficient in a sense. The climate control is great, and so are the bathrooms, and other infrastructure. Lots of good places to get a meal or a snack to keep you fueled for the chase. And the supermarkets are definitely very good. Both are larger than nearly any supermarket in Tokyo. Anyway, I still go there on nearly every trip to Tokyo, to buy grocery items and a few other things. It saves me time and money, even factoring in the hit it makes on my Suica card (because the prices in the supermarkets are good). But I can only speak for myself.

If you decide to go out there, maybe bring a duffle bag or something to bring stuff back in, as supermarket "regi-bukuro" just aren't good enough to hold everything and can be tricky to manage on train coming back. There are free (coin-return) lockers at various places that can come in handy as you start to accumulate booty. (I usually buy a bunch of stuff at the supermarket closest to the entrance leave that in a nearby locker, and then hike out to the Aeon supermarket at the far other end of the mall, stopping here and there in between, and then consolidate everything before I head back to the train.) To save yourself some time, I suggest that you go to one of the information desks and ask the ladies there for the best stores for dagashi. Also, maybe pick up some cardboard boxes to pack your haul in. They have them at the Aeon supermarket, at least, and maybe at the other one. Use these as packing cases inside your suitcase and you can get a lot more in there, with no breakage. I always use cardboard boxes to bring back okashi. Wrapping them in clothing and such just doesn't cut it.

Finally, regarding Kit-Kats, they can be somewhat of a treasure hunt. Some of the regional ones are hard to find in Tokyo. There is a store in the Tokyo Station complex that carries a modest selection but I forgot the name (it has come up in numerous threads on this forum and also on TripAdvisor). It isn't bad but don't expect too much. To be honest, I've usually seen the best selection of Kit-Kats at the airport. It is a bit risky to wait until the very end to find specific ones, and you have to save room in your bags for them, plus still have some money left at the end of the trip. But I have never failed to see a few kinds at the airport that I didn't see anywhere on my travels around the country.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/23 21:04
That place in Tokyo Station that I was thinking of is Shokoku Gotochi Plaza. It carries regional specialty items (including some Kit-Kats) from all over Japan. It is certainly worth a look, although I was never too impressed with it.
https://www.tokyoeki-1bangai.co.jp/shop/66

Of course, there are Kit-Kat Chocolatory stores, but those are really expensive!
https://nestle.jp/brand/kit/inbound/en/chocolatory/store.html

By the way, unless you are shopping for young children, most recipients will generally appreciate standard okashi more than dagashi, aside from a few really cute or interesting items you might find. Kit Kats always seem to be well received, but other regular crackers, cookies, and candy really do taste better to most people over the age of five. As for the old-fashioned stuff, some of it does taste pretty good, but a lot of it doesn't, really. Just my own experience.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/24 00:07
Lovely to check and see so many thoughtful responses! Thanks!

I have bookmarked every suggestion and will figure out which works best with our other travels (I like the idea of Ueno as we're staying in Asakusa and we're going to be going through Ueno on the regular on the subway and a quickish pit stop is always preferable :)

by thatguyalex rate this post as useful

Re: Kawagoe (alternatives) 2019/4/24 00:57
Niki is really quite good for a huge selection of standard okashi. It's closer to the Okachimachi stations than to Ueno Station, but not a long walk. If you're a serious okashi hunter, then it's a place you should become familiar with.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

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