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The 15 Best Shopping Experiences in Tokyo

From cute mascot shops to Japanese couture, here’s where to find the fiercest fashion throughout Tokyo.

As a fashion blogger, I’m often asked what the best city in the world is for shopping—and my answer is invariably Tokyo. Japan’s capital is full of enticing fashion for every budget or personal style, whether you’re lusting over vintage purses in Shimokitazawa or cute-meets-eccentric accessories in Harajuku.

Japan’s yen remains low, so you’ll get a great bang for your buck in Tokyo. Tourists can also enjoy tax-free shopping at many venues: simply bring your passport to show the visa page and spend at least 5000 yen ($36 US). Carry lots of cash, as a surprising number of shops will only accept yen.

I recommend focusing on artisan and indie boutiques that sell original items—I’ve found folk demon rings and fuzzy monster scarves from Tokyo designers. Keep in mind that many Japanese clothing brands are lower-priced here, from Uniqlo to Issey Miyake and Comme des Garcons. You can also find limited edition treasures, such as a special Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon collaboration. Here are 15 of the most fabulous fashion destinations in Tokyo to get you started on your shopping spree.   

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WHERE: Harajuku

Since its opening in 1978, the Laforet department store has reigned as Harajuku’s hub of alternative fashion. Wander six floors filled with “kawaii” (cute) and J-pop-influenced designs, such as deconstructed shirts with Osamu Tezuka characters like Astroboy. The basement levels are a wonderland of Goth, Lolita, and alternative boutiques: you can find Victorian dolly garments by Hangry and Angry, Alice and the Pirates, and Angelic Pretty. Be sure to visit the Sailor Moon Store and the artsy first-floor gallery that highlights emerging young designers.

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Ginza Six

WHERE: Ginza

Ginza Six’s futuristic architecture is the perfect setting for a modern, high-end retail experience. The spacious atrium, which brings together light sculptures and Japanese design elements, is surrounded by international designer boutiques like Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. Be inspired by thousands of art books at Tsutaya bookstore, and gaze at contemporary art such as dreamscapes by Brazilian-Japanese artist Oscar Oiwa.

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Shibuya 109

WHERE: Shibuya

Shibuya 109 is a tubular landmark that towers over one end of the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. As soon as you step inside the department store, you’ll experience sensory overload: each shop blasts energetic J-pop music, and the staff welcomes customers in high-pitched voices. Go up the escalators to see the latest young women’s fashion by romantic meets subculture brands like Liz Lisa, Ank Rouge, and Mitsumaru. On my last visit, I picked up oversized scrunchies and a long silver skirt and took purikura (photo booth) pictures on the top floor.

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Nakano Broadway

WHERE: Nakano

Nakano’s main draw is Broadway, a sprawling shopping complex dedicated to geekdom. It’s easy to get lost in the maze-like structure, which is packed with little shops that sell everything from creepy dolls to Doraemon lunchboxes and 1970s robots. Look for the red torii gates at the entrance of Mandarake, a premier spot for collectible toys, anime (animation), and manga (comics). Whether you’re passionate about retro watches or original framed anime cells, there’s something in Nakano Broadway for your inner nerd.

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Vintage Shops

WHERE: Shimokitazawa

With its coffeehouses, music shops, and enormous vintage selection, it’s no surprise that Shimokitazawa is a favorite hangout for Japanese youths. Climb the three floors of Flamingo, a love letter to fashion and homewares from the 1960s to the 1980s. If you’re fond of bohemian lace and antique aesthetics, visit the dollhouse-like Haight & Ashbury. Take your time to pop into the many retro stores in “Shimokita”—some are on the pricier side, but others sell clothing by weight, which can result in great deals.

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Closet Child

WHERE: Ikebukuro

Closet Child is a second-hand store dedicated to alternative fashion, particularly Goth, punk, and Lolita styles. While the shop also has locations in Shinjuku and Harajuku, Closet Child’s Ikebukuro location tends to have the best and largest selection. Go through the racks for edgy-meets-cute garments like bunny-eared jackets and plaid schoolgirl skirts. You can also find classic Vivienne Westwood, J-rock and Visual Kei music memorabilia, and funky accessories like panda bear rings for as low as $5 US.

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Character Street

WHERE: Tokyo Station

Located in the basement of Tokyo Station, First Avenue Character Street is the number one destination for anything cute or “kawaii.” The shopping area contains about 30 stores, each dedicated to a beloved doe-eyed mascot like Hello Kitty, Pikachu, Kirby, Rilakkuma, Totoro, and Moomin. From pastel stationery to life-sized plush toys, Tokyo Station Character Street has it all. Look out for Tokyo Station-themed goods found only here, such as Miffy the bunny dressed as a Japanese train conductor.

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Marui Annex

WHERE: Shinjuku

Marui Annex, also known as 0101, is a one-stop department store for high-quality Japanese items that span elegant modern to edgy pop culture aesthetics. Case in point: the first floor has Godzilla merch, a Sanrio Cinnamon roll café, and a boutique where everything is themed after bunnies. On the upper levels, you’ll find twee dresses by Milk, and used clothing at Ragtag. My personal favorite is the top floor, which has Gothic and Sweet Lolita labels (Alice and the Pirates, Baby the Stars Shine Bright) as well as darker, spooky designs (like Moi-meme-Moitie at Kera Shop).

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100 Yen Stores

WHERE: Various

Tokyo’s 100 Yen stores are a step above Western dollar stores. All over the city, you can pop into chains like Daiso, Can*Do, Seria, and Watts to find every doo-dad imaginable. Whether you’re looking for party decor, home goods, slippers, or stickers, Tokyo’s 100 Yen stores will have you covered. Despite the low prices, these Japanese items tend to be of excellent, durable quality and have appealing designs. To this day, I use the Miffy coin purse and Rilakkuma hand sanitizer that I found at Daiso.

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WHERE: Asakusa

Nakamise is a traditional shopping street that leads to the entrance to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Both sides of the street are lined with eye-catching arts and crafts stores, as well as snack vendors. Nakamise-Dori is one of the finest places in Tokyo to find old-school Japanese goods like geta wood thong sandals and one folk demon masks. Look for one-of-a-kind artisan products: I once nabbed a hand-dyed bunny noren, or fabric divider that’s hung above doorways. 

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Geeky Shops

WHERE: Akihabara

Also known as “Electric Town,” Akihabara is a neon-lit neighborhood for all things nerdy. Collectors flock to multi-level stores like Animate, AmiAmi, and Mandarake to hunt for rare anime, manga, figurines, DVDs, and cheeky cosplay outfits. AStop lets fans rent out space to sell items, making it one of the best spots in “Akiba” to find reasonably priced, gently used goods.

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WHERE: Harajuku

Japan’s famous fashion center, Harajuku, remains a thrilling place to people-watch and shop for eccentric and avant-garde clothing. When you exit Harajuku Station, you’ll find yourself at the start of Takeshita-Dori, a long and narrow pedestrian-only road with multiple side streets. While this shopping district has become more commercialized over the years, you can still find indie stores dedicated to punk, metal, and Goth subcultures. Find drag queen corsets at Takenoko, pierced and chained jackets at Yellow House, and affordable dark-meets-cute looks at ACDC Rag.

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Vintage Stores

WHERE: Koenji

If you’re not fond of crowds, head to Koenji for a laid-back, grungier retail experience. The streets south of the station are scattered with tiny second-hand stores with a focus on streetwear and bohemian hippie styles. Allow time to browse, as Koenji’s vintage tends to be less organized and selective but better priced. You can also find niche boutiques like Reverie Emporium, which is dedicated to steampunk designs like retro futuristic top hats and brass goggles.

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Don Quixote

WHERE: Various

With locations in every major Tokyo district, Don Quixote is much more than a “general store.” Each shop is packed to the brim with thousands of beauty, home, food, kawaii, and tech products—there’s even a curtained area for adult toys like Tenga. I can spend hours in the makeup section, testing the latest products like glitter eyeshadows. I always stock up on Japanese skincare, oddities like cooling gel eye masks, and gifts for friends like colored contact lenses. Frenetic music blasts as you eye the seemingly endless shelves, adding to the overwhelming experience of shopping at “Donki.”

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WHERE: Asakusa

Known as Kitchen Town, Kappabashi is a street between Asakusa and Ueno with the largest selection of kitchen and home goods. Amateur and pro chefs alike come here for Japanese knives, which are known for their sharp single-edged blades and durability. Kappabashi is also the top spot for beautiful utensils like chopsticks, glazed ceramics, tea sets, and even plastic food displays that look just like the real thing.

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manishpuniya3596 March 31, 2024

Thank you for compiling this list of the best places to shop in Tokyo! The photos accompanying each recommendation provide a visual feast for the eyes and showcase the diversity of shopping options available in the city. From the iconic department stores of Ginza to the trendy boutiques of Shibuya, there's something for every taste and budget. I'm curious to know if there are any seasonal events or sales that readers should be aware of when planning their shopping itinerary in Tokyo. Additionally, mentioning nearby foreign currency exchange services for international visitors could be helpful for those looking to shop in Tokyo's bustling districts.

beritsund4010 March 29, 2024

Great tips to be prepared :-) Also, travelers' tummy can ruin the best of trips, and even here some preparations and tips for the journey can go a long way. Boosting beneficial bacteria in your gut can help you feel well throughout the trip, e.g. add probiotic drinks such as kefir/kombucha to your breakfast routine, or even probiotic supplements such as 'OptiBac Travel Abroad Probiotic', Viridian Travel Biotic or BioGaia's Immune Active! Some more background here if of interest