10 MUST SHOP in Tokyo, Japan
By Wilbur Suen
I walked around every major district in Tokyo in search for an in-depth answer as I refused to accept that the only place to shop is at Shibuya 109. I’m glad I did and here’s the 10 MUST SHOP in Tokyo!
#1 Shibuya 109
Shibuya 109 is probably the most popular place since it’s a 10 storey building housing different fashion brands and labels.
Shibuya 109 might be most popular in Shibuya, but it’s not the only one. You can also find PARCO departmental stall, Tokyo Hands, Shibuya Mark City and Shibuya Hikarie. You just need to have the time and patience to venture around the other buildings to find more hidden gems.
#2 Sunshine City
Located in Ikebukuro, Sunshine City is a mega complex opened in 1978. It’s also called “City within a City”! It’s one of the few places in Tokyo where you can get “budget buys”.
The complex is not only a shopping centre. You can also find indoor theme parks, an aquarium, museum, observatory and hotel.
#3 Harajuku (Takeshita Street & Ura Harajuku)
For street shopping in Tokyo, Harajuku is the place to be! It’s where fashion and culture meets. It is also a popular hangout for Japanese teenagers and on weekends, you can even find them in cosplay costumes. The fashion sense here is considered more “kawaii”.
Other than shopping, you can find cafes and lots of street food! Don’t leave without trying the crepes here.
If you walk through the whole Takeshita Street, you will see a traffic light and once you cross to another street also known as Ura-Harajuku, you will find that the fashion here slowly blending to street fashion to suit the Omotesando style.
#4 Cat Street
Cat street in located in the midst of Harajuku and Shibuya. If you start walking from Harajuku, you would have reached Shibuya once you are at the end of this street. Cat Street sells more hipster styles and you can find many sports brands such as Adidas here. There are also several designer boutiques selling fashion and accessories.
#5 Nakamise Shopping Street
Nakamise Shopping Street is located in between Kaminari-mon gate and Senso-ji temple, one of the oldest temples in Tokyo. Over here, you can be prepared to skip your lunch because there is such a variety of street foods to eat.
Asakusa being a traditional area, means you can also find many Japanese souvenirs, traditional snacks made from rice and also glutinous rice balls. Once in a while, you will also find people wearing Kimono walking around.
Akihabara is not your typical shopping place. It’s not the place if you are looking for fashion. But if electronics, games, manga and anime is your thing, then you have to check this place out!
If you are looking to purchase anything related to electronics, check out the mega complex “Yodobashi Akiba”. Or else, the number of games shops you can find is just unbelievable. If you are into games, you had better set aside half a day at least.
As you walk along the streets of Akihabara, you will also see many girls dressed in maid costumes giving out flyers to promote their maid cafe around the area.
#7 First Avenue Tokyo Station Underground
There are 2 main reasons to visit this place! Firstly, if you are into characters such as (Pokemon, Hello Kitty, Miffy, Rilakkuma). At First Avenue Tokyo Station Underground, you will find a character street with the various character stores and all are authentic merchandise.
Secondly, if you’re a snacker! There are a ton of snacks here for you to buy home! You will find Tokyo Akashi Land (Japan’s first confectionary-themed retail zone). Over here, you can find snacks from all over Japan. Don’t forget to get some fresh Calbee Potato Chips too! Although I would prefer buying snacks from the airport, if your flight is at night or during midnight, this is the next best place to get them!
#8 Ameya Yokocho
If you are looking for something like Bangkok’s Chatuchak style of shopping, look no further than Ameya Yokocho. It is a shopping street with lots of cheap shopping and street food located in Ueno.
Along the shopping street, you can also find several food stalls with ample seating for you to enjoy your food in comfort. Ameya Yokocho is definitely a must visit market in Tokyo because it’s not easy to find such markets around in Tokyo. Do note that it is better to avoid coming here on Wednesday because some stalls are not open on that day.
Ginza offers you up-market shopping and this is where you will get to find all the luxury brands. There are also affordable brands around such as Uniqlo and GU. GU is under the same company of Uniqlo and they offer very affordable trendy buys.
On weekends from 12-5pm, the main road in Ginza is closed to traffic and it becomes a pedestrian street for people to walk freely.
#10 Fa So La Akihabara (Narita Airport) / Tokyo Souvenir Shop (Haneda Airport)
You can’t leave Japan without buying any snacks home. All the snacks are packed so nicely and all of them look like presents! I strongly recommend getting them in the airport because you won’t need to count all these buys into your baggage. They will pack it nicely in a strong plastic bag for you and you can just hand carry them on board the plane.
However, if you flight is at night or after midnight, you might want to get your purchases done in the city since these shops at airport are not opened 24 hours.
These are our recommended 10 MUST SHOP areas in Tokyo. If you think we have missed out somewhere, feel free to comment below.