Japan is a home to world class shopping. From fashions that won't be trends anywhere else for another year, to the most futuristic technologies for sale today, shopping in Tokyo has something for everyone, at great prices too. You can shop till you drop from the super cheap to the ultra chic.
A true shopaholic knows that Tokyo is one of the shopping capitals of the world. It should come as no surprise that Japanese people love style and fashion as designers from around the globe know that Tokyo is a hot spot for their labels to be featured. However there is so much more than just high end fashion that the 99% could never afford. Lets take a look at the big shopping spots in Tokyo from the markets of Ueno to the high end streets of Ginza.
Lets take a look at shopping in Tokyo
This area of Tokyo dates back to the Edo period, however in the 20th century, this region has been modernised and became the upscale fashion mecca of Tokyo and Japan. In Ginza, you'll find high end stores, exclusive brands and restaurants featuring delicacies from all regions of the world. You're going to find all the big european names here - Hermes, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace, and many more. In a unique move, on the weekend, Ginza actually closes off many streets to motor traffic, so that you, the shopper, can browse the finest boutiques without having to worry about traffic!
With it’s high fashion boutiques and branded shops, Harajuku is a hot spot for pop culture. Many of the word’s trends for the young begin on these streets. Here you will find all of the biggest names in youth fashion, at affordable prices. American Forever 21, British H&M, Swedish Zara and Japanese Uniqlo all have flagship stores in Harajuku. Along with all the known brands are plenty of small boutiques with varying range of fashion: from the extreme "out there", to the conservative "every-day-wear". Be sure to check out Harajuku on Sundays when the cos-players come out in force, in their intricately detailed & homemade costumes that will amaze you.
Roppongi is almost like a new mini city, built in Tokyo’s heart. It’s part business and offices and part shopping, entertainment and dining. Since there are numerous embassies in the vicinity, many of the shops, bars and restaurants have international flavours, and cater to people from other countries. Roppongi Hills, one of Japan’s newest commercial developments, has over 200 shops and restaurants, making it a great place to spend the day exploring local Japanese culture, Check out more about them at their official site, here.
Shinjuku is one of the busiest districts in Japan, with its train station handling the largest number of passengers per day in the world. Department stores, electrical appliance megastores and huge book stores are scattered around the station and are bustling with customers. Shinjuku station's underground shopping centre is where you will find dozens of shops for everyone's tastes, so check them out as you might find an unexpected bargain. The Don Quixote discount store is located not too far from the station's east exit, It's 8 stories are filled with everything from onesies to high end bags and everything in between. It's also open 24 hours, just incase you remember you forgot something before that early morning flight. To the north of Don Quixote is the Kabuki-cho district, crowded with restaurants, arcades and theaters.
Akihabara, is the mecca for all things geek, tech, manga and maid cafés. It’s clear once you exit the station just why Akihabara is known as "Electric City". Hundreds of electronics shops, from tiny stalls, to the big 10-story retailers line the main street, Chuo Dori, and the busy side streets around Akihabara. Whats on offer ranges from parts and wires, to the latest gaming consoles and gadgets, to new experimental devices we may never see in our home countries. So test out some great product, and be sure to have your passport handy, anything over 30,000 yen is tax free!
Be sure to find Super Potato, a must see shop to relive your childhood video game urges. Just listen for the Mario sounds. Another niche market that has a huge market is represented here. Manga is huge in Akihabara, and the place to go to find dozens of stores specialising in anime, figurines, card games and other collectibles; these stores have popped up over the last decade, and fill the gaps between the electrical stores. Are you travelling alone and feeling lonely? You can pick up yourself a pillow girlfriend, or boyfriend right here.
Shibuya is extremely popular with the younger crowd. There are department stores, restaurants and specialty shops. Each street has its own defined look. On Center Gai (or, Center Street), the street extending from the station, there is a constant stream of young people strolling past the fast food shops, shoe stores, and accessory and cosmetics shops. Fashion shops have begun to start opening up on Meiji Dori, so you can enjoy window shopping while walking to Harajuku or Omotesando. Be sure to check out the dozens of department stores all around Shibuya. They have an amazing array of fashion and mini stores throughout their floors. Hungry? Check out the basement food halls of any of these department halls for some amazing fresh foods and small cafés.
Ueno is know as old Tokyo. It's north of Tokyo Station, and filled with beautiful parks and museums. However, Uneo also has some amazing shopping. Between Okachimachi and Ueno stations on the Yamamote line is the Ameyoko street market. This large market is filled with fresh produce, amazing food and market stalls selling clothes and accessories dirt cheap. Ameyoko is a great place to do some souvenir shopping, with amazing crafts and traditional Japanese trinkets for your loved ones back home.
Not far from Uneo, in Askausa, is Kappabashi Street. Take a stroll along this street to grab anything you need for your own kitchen back home: This is the street where you'll find stores that can supply you a Japanese-made kitchen knife. The specialists will help you find the perfect knife for all your cooking needs back home, and then hand sharpen it and put a japanese inscription on it for you. While you're down Kappabashi Street, you can pick up your own plastic food models; the same ones you will see in countless restaurant windows in Japan.
Tokyo Bay is not too far from the heart of Tokyo, and is home to the large shopping mall LaLaport. This mall houses hundreds of stores and entertainment facilities, which are perfect for all types of shoppers. Visitors can spend the day roaming the grounds and discovering new shops, movies, and several gourmet restaurants and cafés. LaLaport is not to be missed for anyone looking for a day of shopping fun for the whole family. For more information, check out their official site, here.
With the Yen exchanging so well with most major currencies at the moment, it's the perfect time for a shopping holiday to Tokyo!