Facing stiff competition from the new snack-selling counterparts since the 80s, dagashiyas' popularity has been on the decline. While the number of these old-fashioned shops is shrinking, they still provide tidbits of happiness that can be had for just 10 yen. The next time you are in Japan, head to a dagashiya and discover the charm of nostalgic Japan.
Founded in 1781, Kamikawaguchiya is undisputedly the most ancient dagashiya in the Greater Tokyo area. The shop is now passed down to the 13th generation. It is located in the temple of Zoshigaya Kishimojin, adjacent to the red torii.
Zoshigaya Kishimojin Temple, 3 Chome – 15-20, Zoshigaya, Toshima, Tokyo
(3 minutes walk from Zoshigaya Station, 13 minutes’ walk from Ikebukuro Station)
Have doubts on the immense variety of Japanese snacks? Head down to Funashiya if you're in Kyoto and behold a magnificent selection of over 2000 quaint nibbles and toys. The shop was established in 1938 and still spots the wooden structure and aesthetics of olden day Kyoto. Be sure not to miss the go-shiki-mame or dried bean candies, which it's famous for.
570 Nakanochō, Shimogyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu
(5 minutes walk from Tokoshimaya)
There’s more to the unassuming façade of this Osaka dagashiya. It transforms from a regular shop into an amusing snack bar every day from 6pm, serving 400 kinds of retro goodies buffet-style. Drop 500 yen and enjoy the nirvana of unlimited dagashi for two hours.
3-8-2 Sekime Joto-ku, Osaka
(3 minutes walk from Sekime Station)
The joint is nestled in a once-buzzy local market. While the flow of visitors has diminished, its sheer nostalgic atmosphere and staff's friendliness has retained its lustre. If you're feeling peckish, sample some okonomiyaki and barbecued meat for a full gastronomic experience of the area.
The southern end of Inari Market
(8 minutes’ walk from Harborland Station)
Halloween Dagashiya, Sapporo
Its classic Showa period decoration might be a mismatch but Halloween Dagashiya is still an ideal spot to shop for tricks or treats, carrying hundreds of snacks and goods related to your favourite anime characters.
1-27 Nishi 6 Chome, Minami 11 Jo, Chuou-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
(1 minute’s walk from Nakajimakoendori Station, 5 minutes’ walk from Horohira-Bashi Station)
Dagashiya at Sun Road Shopping Town, Aomori
A part of a department store, it compensates for the lack of period vibe with a large dagashi selection. You will also find snacks combined with elements of lucky draw, a special of Aomori.
2/F, Sun Road Shopping Town, Midori 3 Chome, 9-2, Aomori City
(A 15 minute trip from Aomori Station to Sun Road Aomorizen bus station via JR or local bus)
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Dagashiya Zousan, Sendai
Situated at a corner of a modern shopping mall, this dagashiya’s sense of nostalgia comes from the range of savoury and sweet bites rather than its environment. Go with an empty bag to pick up items limited to the Northeastern region.
3/F, S-PAL Sendai
(Walk via direct walkway from Sendai Station)
Unzen Toy Museum, Nagasaki
The two-floor complex divides into a snack shop below and a museum above displaying 5,000 kinds of dagashi and toys. (Entrance costing 200 yen) Also check out the hot spring, ceramic workshop and glass museum nearby for a complete Japanese experience.
310 Unzen, Kohama-cho, Unzen-shi, Nagasaki
(A 80 minute bus trip from Isahaya Station to Unzen)
A variety-cum-dagashi store of over 50 years, Iju covers the tastes of all ages, selling beer and awamori (an Okinawan rice liquor) in addition from evening. Retro fans will delight in the walk along the street with shops maintaining the feel of the Showa Period.
584 Yonabaru, Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture
(Take buses 30, 37, 38, 39 or 41 from Naha to Yonabaru Shopping Street. The bus trip takes around 30 minutes)
Your dream of treasure hunt is fulfilled in this small, 107 years old venture. With toys stuffed in cardboard boxes and packaged goodies on the shelves, be prepared for surprise at every turn of the corner.
6-4 Tsunabamachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi
(3 minutes’ walk from Gofukumachi Station)
If these shops are out of your way, look for branches of the dagashi chain Yumeya to get a fix of retro Japan.
Recommended reading: View more stories on Japan here