We’re sure you know all about Harajuku and Shibuya 109, perennial favourites of tourists, but there’s more to shopping in Tokyo than these two places though. In this list, we hope to introduce you to some lesser known spots!
Ginza is the world famous luxury shopping district of Tokyo. Not only is it home to fancy department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Matsuya, there are a number of posh flagship stores of international designer brands, including Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. The impressive facades of the Bvlgari and Mikimoto buildings add to the extravagant air of affluence as you stroll down the main street of Chuo-Dori, which is restricted to pedestrians on weekend afternoons.
Compared to Ginza, the incredibly sophisticated area of Minami Aoyama is relatively quieter, oozing an understated elegance. The flagship stores of Prada, Miu Miu, and Issey Miyake, just to name a few, are architectural sights in their own right. If you want to escape the ever crowded Ginza, this area is ideal for some peaceful shopping.
The newly opened Ginza Six shopping mall boasts 13 floors, replete with 241 stores, of which 121 are flagships. There’s also a traditional Noh theatre in the basement if you want to get in touch with your cultural side. When you’re worn out from all that shopping, take a breather at the rooftop’s green space, where you can enjoy the view of Tokyo Tower and Skytree. The spacious central atrium was built with the intention to host expansive collaborations with renowned artists; 14 magnificent red and white polka dot pumpkins from Yayoi Kusama were commissioned for their grand opening earlier this year.
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
You’re bound to spot the kaleidoscopic mirrored entrance of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku as you approach the Jingumae crossing, where Harajuku and Omotesando intersect. Tourists enjoy duty free shopping here, where you can find cute girly brand Jill Stuart, lifestyle store Tokyu Hands, and more. Take a break at the roof garden, where you’ll feel as though you’re in a completely different world from the throng of shoppers just six floors below.
A few stops away from hectic Shibuya, you’ll find the up and coming district of Shimokitazawa, affectionately known as “Shimokita”. Perfect for the discerning but thrifty shopper, Shimokita is full of trendy vintage shops and indie fashion boutiques where you can find one of a kind items. Quirky cafes and izakayas abound, which means you won’t go hungry after your shopping jaunts. Perhaps the best feature of Shimokita is its maze of narrow and winding alleys, full of mysterious stores with alluring facades that beckon you to investigate further.
The uber stylish and upscale Jiyugaoka is only 15 minutes away from Shibuya, and oozes cool weekend vibes every day of the week. You’ll come across chic fashion boutiques, frilly pet accessory shops, and unique homeware and lifestyle stores selling a vast array of useful and adorable bric-a-brac. Our favourite place to browse is Today’s Special, where you may spot utensils with adorable sumo wrestlers printed on them, or French Milk Tea from Nagoya. You never know what you’ll find at Today’s Special as they update their stock and rearrange their display every few weeks! There is also a Little Venice area a short walk away from Jiyugaoka Station, complete with gondola, venetian bridge, and clock tower – you’ll forget that you’re even in Japan.
Farmers Market @ UNU
The United Nations University in Aoyama hosts a farmer’s market every weekend, and you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the local and organic seasonal produce on display. Browse through the pop up stores featuring vintage clothes, jewelry, and books, or check out the delicate and charming pottery pieces. The food, coffee, and fresh fruit juice carts scattered around ensure you won’t be peckish as you peruse the market with other locals!
Ueno’s Ameyoko Shopping Street
The labyrinthine streets and alleys of Ameyoko, short for “Ameya Yokocho” (candy store alley), hosts hundreds of stores selling an extensive range of products, from kitschy clothes and bags, to fresh and dried food. You’re bound to pick up some classic Japanese souvenirs that just shout, “Japan!” here.
Located on the main stretch of Omotesando, Kiddyland’s four storey flagship store features dedicated sections to favourites like Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Miffy, and Pompompurin. There are also a host of Disney items, and even non-Japanese cartoon merchandise from shows such as Adventure Time and We Bare Bears. Don’t expect to only find soft toys and action figures; there’s stationery, cooking utensils, and even bath products! Pop in during the festive season and you may be lucky enough to nab yourself some special holiday themed items!
Tokyo Station Character Street
Near the basement of JR Tokyo Station’s Yaesu North Exit is a seemingly endless stretch of official character shops selling all things kawaii, making it a perfect one stop shop to pick up some adorable souvenirs. Drop by the Pokemon Store for a special Station Master Pikachu that can’t be found anywhere else, or visit the Shonen Jump Store to get your hands on merchandise from One Piece or Dragon Ball Z. Studio Ghibli’s Official Store, Donguri Republic, also has an enticing assortment of items on display, including quaint dioramas of scenes straight out of your favourite Ghibli movies. Sometimes, there are also pop-up carts selling merchandise featuring new characters!