Must-see shopping in Japan

  • Akomeya

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Rice ('kome') is at the heart of Japanese cuisine. This stylish store sells not only many types of the grain but also products made from it (such as sake)…

  • Beams Japan

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Beams, a national chain of trendsetting boutiques, is a Japanese cultural institution and this multistorey Shinjuku branch has a particular audience in…

  • Komehyō

    Nagoya

    Enjoy the genius of Komehyō, Japan's largest discounter of secondhand, well…everything. Housed over seven floors in the main building, clothes, jewellery…

  • Yoshitoku Dolls

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Founded in 1711, this traditional Japanese doll manufacturer is the place to come to see the exquisite craftsmanship of these ornamental figurines,…

  • Tokyu Hands

    Downtown Kyoto

    While the Kyoto branch of Tokyu Hands doesn't have the selection of bigger branches in places like Tokyo, it's still well worth a browse for fans of…

  • Maruzen

    Downtown Kyoto

    Occupying two basement floors of the BAL department store, this excellent bookshop has a massive range of English-language books across all subjects,…

  • Ink Stand

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    If the basic black or navy blue ink of pens is too common for you, let Ink Stand help you create your own personalised colour. For ¥2700 for a 33ml bottle…

  • Kamiji Kakimoto

    Downtown Kyoto

    This is one of the best places to buy washi (Japanese handmade paper) in Kyoto. It’s got such unusual items as washi computer printer paper and washi…

  • Kyūkyo-dō

    Downtown Kyoto

    This old shop in the Teramachi covered arcade sells a selection of incense, shodō (calligraphy) goods, tea-ceremony supplies and washi. Prices are on the…

  • Kogensya

    Sendai

    Buy handmade wares from all over Tōhoku at this elegant, perfectly curated shop. It's a lovely spot to pick up high-quality souvenirs for gifts (which…

  • Nakagawa Sports

    Ōsumi Islands

    Rents and sells everything from rainwear (from ¥1200) and waterproof hiking boots (available in larger gaijin sizes) to tents and baby carriers.

  • Souvenir from Tokyo

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    There's always an expertly curated and ever-changing selection of home-grown design bits and bobs that make for unique souvenirs at this shop.

  • MAY 9, 2015: Inside the Modern Roppongi Midtown complex.
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    Tokyo Midtown

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    This sleek complex, where escalators ascend alongside waterfalls of rock and glass, brims with sophisticated shops. Most notable is the selection of…

  • Street entrance to building with Kinokinuya bookstore on the 6th floor, Shinjuku & Ikebukuro

    Books Kinokuniya Tokyo

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    A long-time lifeline for Tokyo English-speakers, Kinokuniya stocks a broad selection of foreign-language books and magazines. Particularly of note is its…

  • Uniqlo street front, Ginza & Tsukiji.

    Uniqlo Ginza

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Stop any Tokyoite on the street and odds are they're wearing at least one thing from Uniqlo, the ubiquitous retailer of indispensible basics. There are…

  • Facade of Tsukikageya, Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa.

    Tsukikageya

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Designer Natsuki Shigeta creates yukata (cotton kimonos) with a punk-rock slant (and sometimes outré prints). Nevermind if you can't tie the obi (sash)…

  • Dover Street Market shopfront, Ginza & Tsukiji.

    Dover Street Market Ginza

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    A department store as envisioned by Rei Kawakubo (of Comme des Garçons), DSM has seven floors of avant-garde brands, including several Japanese labels and…

  • Street entrance to Bingoya, a shop specialising in the traditional crafts., Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo.

    Bingoya

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Bingoya has five floors of quality, unpretentious crafts sourced from all over Japan. There’s a particularly good selection of folksy pottery and textiles…

  • Example of one of the shop curtains (noren) and other wares sold at Bengara, Asakusa & Sumida River.

    Bengara

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Spend any amount of time in Japan and you become quickly familiar with noren, the curtains that hang in front of shop doors. This shop sells beautiful…

  • Ginza Six streetfront image, Ginza & Tsukiji.

    Ginza Six

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This high-end mall was designed by architect Taniguchi Yoshio, who also did the Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures. Large-scale art installations are held in…

  • Shop entrance, on the ground floor of an apartment building on the Kamiyamacho shotengai., Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa.

    Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Come browse the selection of art, food and travel magazines and small-press offerings at this indie bookshop, open late among the bars of Shibuya's…

  • Street entrance on Omote-sando, Harajuku & Aoyama.

    Pass the Baton

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    There are all sorts of treasures to be found at this consignment shop, from 1970s designer duds to delicate teacups, personal castaways to dead stock from…

  • Bic Camera store front, with Yurakucho station on the right, Marunouchi & Nihombashi

    Bic Camera

    Tokyo

    Cameras are just the start of the electronic items and much more (toys, sake, medicine, cosmetics, wine) sold in this mammoth discount store occupying a…

  • Shinjuku Tokyu Hands facade, Shinjuku & Ikebukuro

    Tokyu Hands Shinjuku

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Ostensibly a do-it-yourself store, Tokyu Hands stocks a wide-variety of totally random (but oddly enticing) household, beauty and office supplies. Though…

  • Entrance to Sanrio World, from inside the Nishi Ginza shopping centre, Ginza & Tsukiji

    Sanrioworld Ginza

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Sanrio's flagship store is piled high with all the Hello Kitty merchandise your heart could desire, including some pretty blinged-up items of the famous…

  • Kiddyland at Jingumae.

    KiddyLand

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    This multistorey toy emporium is packed to the rafters with character goods, including all your Studio Ghibli, Sanrio and Disney faves. It’s not just for…

  • Display of fermented foods (soy sauce, miso and amazake) inside Chabara, Akihabara, Kagurazaka & Korakuen.

    Chabara

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This under-the-train-tracks shopping mall focuses on artisan food and drinks from across Japan, including premium sake, soy sauce, sweets, teas and…

  • Street entrance to Baikatei sweet shop, Akihabara, Kagurazaka & Korakuen.

    Baikatei

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    See (and sample) humble beans and rice whipped into pastel flowers at this award-winning traditional sweets shop, in business since 1935. There are blue…

  • Street view of Yanaka Matsunoya, Ueno, Yanesen & Komagome.

    Yanaka Matsunoya

    Ueno & Yanesen

    At the top of Yanaka Ginza, Matsunoya sells beautifully simple, handmade household goods, such as baskets, brooms and bamboo strainers.

  • Street view of shop entrance on Cat Street, Harajuku & Aoyama.

    RagTag

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    This consignment shop is stocked with labels loved by Harajuku kids, such as Comme des Garçons and Vivienne Westwood.

  • Aizen Kōbō

    Imperial Palace & Around

    In the heart of the Nishijin textile district in a beautifully restored machiya (traditional Japanese townhouse), Aizen Kōbō has been producing its indigo…

  • Okuno Building

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    The Okuno Building (1932) is of a rare vintage in ever-redeveloping Tokyo; most such buildings have long come down. But a concerted effort by artists and…

  • Disk Union Shinjuku

    Shinjuku & Northwest Tokyo

    Keeping the dream alive for fans of physical music, Disk Union has eight (cramped) storeys of used CDs and records, including whole floors for genres like…

  • Solamachi

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    It's not all cheesy Sky Tree swag at this mall under the tower (though you can get 634m-long rolls of Sky Tree toilet paper). Shops on the 4th floor offer…

  • Kappabashi-dōri

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    If you're after something for the kitchen or dining room table, head to Kappabashi-dōri Japan’s largest wholesale restaurant-supply and kitchenware…

  • Ōkuma Shōkai

    Ueno & Yanesen

    Sukajan are silken bomber jackets boldly embroidered, usually with traditional motifs such as cherry blossoms or cranes. They were originally created as…

  • Mitsukoshi

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Mitsukoshi is Ginza's most famous department store, anchoring one corner of the neighbourhood's main intersection. The fashion is mostly from…

  • mAAch ecute

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Mansei-bashi Station was Tokyo's original eastern terminus, completed two years before Tokyo Station in 1912. It closed in 1943 and was reborn at long…

  • A&S Aoyama

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    This is the flagship boutique from celebrity stylist Sonya Park, whose signature look is a vintage-inspired minimalism in luxurious, natural fabrics. It…

  • Takashimaya

    Tokyo

    The design of Takashimaya’s flagship store (1933) tips its pillbox hat to New York’s Gilded Age with marble columns, chandeliers and uniformed female…

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