Must-see shopping in Japan

  • Jimbōchō Bookstores

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This fascinating neighbourhood of more than 170 new and secondhand booksellers is proof that the printed word is alive and well in Tokyo. Amid tottering…

  • Nakagawa Masashichi Shōten

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    What started as a linen supplier in Nara (near Kyoto) 300 years ago has evolved into one of Japan's proudest brands, creating beautiful natural clothing,…

  • Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    This classy mixed-use complex, which opened in 2018, has a good assortment of fashionable boutiques as well as the 11-screen Toho multiplex. Check out the…

  • Tolman Collection

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Expat and former US diplomat Norman Tolman has been collecting modern and contemporary Japanese print art for 50 years and has authored many books on the…

  • Shibuya Scramble Square

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Shibuya's newest mall (opened in 2019) has eight floors of fashion, beauty and lifestyle boutiques (and more floors for restaurants, cafes and gourmet…

  • Axis Building

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    This high-end design complex is filled with galleries and shops selling art books, photographs, covetable homewares and other objets d’art.

  • Ameyoko Rizumu

    Ueno & Yanesen

    For nearly half a century this tiny stall in Ameya-yokochō has been selling recordings of popular Japanese music to the faithful. Its forte is enka, best…

  • Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Pick up great souvenirs from this plastic food model manufacturer. Among the examples of freakishly realistic food models are some more tongue-in-cheek…

  • Canal City

    Fukuoka

    Canal City is Fukuoka's biggest mall, boasting an eponymous artificial canal with illuminated fountain symphony, a multiplex cinema, a playhouse and about…

  • Asahi-dō

    Southern Higashiyama

    Located in the heart of the Kiyomizu pottery area, Asahi-dō has been specialising in Kyōyaki-Kiyomizuyaki (Kyoto-style pottery) since 1870. The complex is…

  • Minä Perhonen

    Ebisu, Meguro & Around

    Minä Perhonen, from designer Minagawa Akira, is one of Japan's most successful brands. It's known for its pretty prints in soft, flattering colours;…

  • Mita Sneakers

    Ueno & Yanesen

    Ameya-yokochō is widely known as the place to pick up bargain kicks; but among running-shoe fans, it's better known as the home of Mita Sneakers, which…

  • Yubiningyō Shōkichi

    Ueno & Yanesen

    Mitsuaki Tsuyuki makes and sells his incredible hand puppets here – look for lifelike renditions of Japanese celebs and, natch, Elvis. Quick portraits…

  • KITTE

    Tokyo

    This mall, within the restored facade of the 1930s Tokyo Central Post Office, has a partiuclarly good selection of boutiques specialising in homewares and…

  • Tsukiji Uogashi

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    The ground floors of this L-shaped complex house some 70 stalls of wholesalers, all of whom used to operate in the old Tsukiji market, selling seafood and…

  • Pigment

    Odaiba & Tokyo Bay

    This is an art-supply store to make you go weak in the knees: the walls are lined with vials of the crushed mineral pigments used in traditional Japanese…

  • d47 design travel store

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    The folks behind the D&D Department lifestyle brand and magazine are expert scavengers, searching Japan's nooks and crannies for outstanding examples of…

  • Blue & White

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Expat American Amy Katoh sells traditional and contemporary items such as tenugui (hand-dyed towels), indigo-dyed yukata (light cotton kimonos), bolts of…

  • Yodobashi-Akiba

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This is the monster branch of Yodobashi Camera where many locals shop. It has eight floors of electronics, state-of-the-art camera and audio equipment,…

  • Maito

    Asakusa & Sumida River

    Everything is natural about Maito's clothing and accessories, including the fabrics used (mainly cotton and wool) and the plant-based dyes. Choose from a…

  • Yu Nakagawa Honten

    Nara

    Nara's famed 300-year-old linen producer now creates beautiful bags, pouches and scarves out of natural materials, subtly adorned with traditional motifs…

  • Akihabara Radio Kaikan

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Despite its name, Radio Kaikan has nothing to do with radios and everything to do with Japanese pop culture. It was completely rebuilt in 2014 to include…

  • Takatora

    Tokyo

    In an neighbourhood known for its history of craftsmanship, second-generation Takatora produces stencil-dyed clothing and accessories just like in the old…

  • CLASKA Gallery & Shop DO

    Ebisu, Meguro & Around

    This homewares shop is curated by Tokyo's original boutique hotel, Claska, in a renovated mid-20th-century building on Meguro-dōri, near other interior…

  • 85

    Ebisu, Meguro & Around

    What separates this small lifestyle goods and gourmet shop is its emphasis on fermented foods. There's a selection of artisanal shōyu (soy sauce) and…

  • Isego Naka-Meguro

    Ebisu, Meguro & Around

    This outpost of 300-year-old Sendagi sake-ya (liquor store) Isego has a counter bar where you can order nihonshu (sake) by the glass (¥350 to ¥550; 3pm to…

  • Kyoto Handicraft Center

    Northern Higashiyama

    Split between two buildings, East and West, this place sells a good range of Japanese arts and crafts, including Hokusai woodblock prints (reproductions…

  • Mandarake Complex

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    This is highly debatable, of course, but Mandarake Complex might just be the most classic Akihabara destination for otaku (geeks): eight storeys are piled…

  • Tsuruya Yoshinobu

    Tokyo

    This is the Tokyo outpost of one of Kyoto's more esteemed creators of wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets made of rice flour, bean paste and sugar. While…

  • Funahashi-ya

    Downtown Kyoto

    Around since 1885, Funahashi-ya has long been a popular stop to pick up Japanese rice crackers (known as o-kaki in Kyoto) and its signature go-shiki-mame …

  • Ohya Shobō

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    In business since 1882 (but with an active Twitter account), Ohya Shobō specialises in books, maps and ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) dating back to Japan's…

  • BAL

    Downtown Kyoto

    For all your high-end fashion and homeware needs, the chic and elegant BAL department store is the place to go. You’ll find designer fashion, botanical…

  • Bic Camera

    Kyoto Station & South Kyoto

    The sheer amount of gadgets and goods this store has on display is amazing. Just be sure that an English operating manual is available for your purchases…

  • Tokyū Hands

    Osaka

    Nominally a DIY and homewares chain, Tokyū Hands is Japan's favourite place to browse for items you probably didn't need but will end up loving. It's…

  • PukuPuku

    Tokyo

    The shelves of this small antiques shop are stacked with ceramics from the early Shōwa period (昭和; 1926–89), through Taishō (大正; 1912–26) and Meiji (明治;…

  • Kyoto Marui

    Downtown Kyoto

    This new youth-oriented department store hails from Tokyo and brings some of that fashion sense with it. It’s a good place to see what’s hot with the…

  • Fujii Daimaru Department Store

    Downtown Kyoto

    This smallish department store on Shijō-dōri is very popular with young locals who flock here to peruse the interesting selection of up-to-the-minute…

  • Kyūkyodō

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Originally from Kyoto (and in business for 350 years), Kyūkyodō has been producing top quality washi (Japanese paper) and incense for generations (the…

  • Musubi

    Harajuku & Aoyama

    Furoshiki are squares of cloth that can be folded and knotted to form shopping bags and wrap gifts – anything really. This shop sells pretty ones in both…

  • Mimuro

    Downtown Kyoto

    Mimuro is a great spot for anyone looking to take home a good-quality kimono or yukata (light cotton kimono). The English-speaking staff will go out of…

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