Tokyo is a gigantic shopping hub. From high-end luxury brands to the thriftiest hole-in-the-wall shops, there’s something for everyone in Tokyo. The best shopping areas are scattered around the vast city, so make sure you have an itinerary or list ready so you know where to go, and what to get there.
Luckily, there’s free Wi-Fi available in the Tokyo Metro so you don’t get lost and can stay connected while you shop. You can find which stations have free wifi by using the “Tokyo Subway Navigation For Tourists” app.
It’s available in all Tokyo Metro stations (Ginza Line/Marunouchi Line/Hibiya Line/Tozai Line/Chiyoda Line/Yurakucho Line/Hanzomon Line/Namboku Line/Fukutoshin Line). *Except Kita-senju Station of Hibiya Line, Wakoshi Station of Yurakucho Line, Meguro Station of Namboku Line, and Shibuya Station of Fukutoshin Line.
This is invaluable, that way you can figure out what stops are the closest to the shops you want to go to. We know those bags can get quite heavy.
One thing I like to do, is once I get to the my metro stop, I connect to the wifi and load the map of the area I’m in to pin point the places I want to go to. That way, you have a pre loaded map with all the important stops. You can also make some quick last minute searches of what else is around.
You can also look for the Welcome Boards, which are located in stations near popular tourist spots, assist visitors with using the Tokyo Metro subway and to provide directions to tourist attractions. Welcome Boards are available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese so first-time visitors to Tokyo can get around with peace of mind.
The sheer amount of shops and department stores in the city can be overwhelming, so here’s a varied list of stores that you must visit while venturing Tokyo.
Mix-use Shops and Department Stores
- Tokyu Hands (Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya): This is your one-stop shop in Tokyo. Tokyu Hands sells everything from quirky costumes to kitchenware, stationeries, cosmetics, and select stores feature specialties from their respective areas. They focus on practical products and have a great travel section for anything you might have missed while packing, or need for future adventures.
- BEAMS (Flagship store in Shinjuku): For all things Japan, head over to BEAMS. They have the latest and loudest streetwear, skating gear decked with traditional Japanese art, as well as authentic Japanese crafts and pottery. Most of the brands found here are made locally, save for the curated selection of sneakers from international names like Nike, Converse, and Vans.
- Found MUJI (Shibuya): Muji may be a familiar name with branches all over the world, but Found Muji is a specially curated version of home décor, clothes, furniture, and stationary. You won’t find any of the things here at your run-of-the-mill Muji back home, so stock up!
- KITTE (next to Tokyo Station): Once an old post office, KITTE is now a huge, shiny department store with multiple shops and restaurants. It also features a rooftop garden for a dose of outdoor beauty. Shop at small, unique boutiques or grab a bite to eat from one of the many restaurants in the building.
- Village Vanguard (branches around Tokyo): Shoppers unite in this small but busy bookstore that sells a bit more than books. You can buy the most obscure manga (most from the 80’s!) or character themed shirts and dishes. All these quirky objects go easy on your wallet, with prices ranging mainly from 100-500 yen.
- Daiso (Harajuku): Bargain seekers rejoice in Japan’s 100 yen stores. One of the biggest ones in Tokyo, Daiso Harajuku, sells everything from clothes to food at just 105 yen.
- Takeshita Dori: A street in Harajuku that’s line with shops and stalls that mostly attract the younger crowd of Japan. You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice with the latest trends and the tastiest treats all on one street.
- Itoya (Ginza): All your stationary needs will be satisfied in Itoya. It’s got twelve floors of everything stationeryand organization, from files for meetings and offices, to personalized notebooks, papers, and pens.
- KINJI (Harajuku): Get ready to get thrifty in KINJI. This used clothes store isn’t your typical thrift shop, with most items unused or unworn. Just dig around and you may find a diamond in the rough!
- Awesome Store (Shibuya and Harajuku): You can’t go wrong with a store that has “awesome” in its name. This lifestyle store offers quality at a budget, with products ranging from mainly 200-400 yen. If you want cheap “Japan Quality” items, this is the place to go.
- RagTag: Higher end second hand fashion store
- Laforet Harjuku: Quirky department store
- Takashiyama/Isetan/Mitsukoshi/marui/Tokyu: Your traditional large department stores with everything you may need from food to fashion
- Kappabashi Dori: Kitchen stuff
- Shibuya: Young Market, lots of smaller boutiques
- Harajuku: Quirky finds, next to luxury stores and international and local boutiques
- Omotesando: mostly luxury boutiques
- Ginza: High End Shopping
- Nihonbashi: Older established, department stores
- Ropponging: Higher end shopping
- Akihabara: Electronics, games and otaku related stuff
- Asakusa: Souvenirs
- Shinjuku: Large department stores, 2nd hand stores
Specialty Clothing/Streetwear/Up and Coming and Sneakers
Having one of the largest street fashion games worldwide, have a look through this list and decide where you want to spend your time, trying on things you don’t end up buying in bulk, but you might find that one piece you’ve been looking for.
- White Mountaineering
- Dover Street Market
- Sunday’s Best
- New York Joe Exchange
- United Arrows & Sons
- GIP Store
- Cold Coffee
- The Real McCoy’s
- Bounty Hunter
- A Bathing Ape
The Second Hand Market
One of the things I love about Tokyo is their pristine second hand market. No, I’m not talking about the old and forgotten, more like old and still hip. More importantly, being in Japan, the condition of the second hand items are usually great and there is not much need to bargain prices down, since the prices are already quite fair (asking never hurts though). From eyewear, to camera gear, old school lenses, clothes and watches, you could spend days jumping from store to store. Have a wonder around and enjoy yourself.
Where are you favorite shopping areas in Japan? Comment below and let me know!