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10 Best Tokyo Shopping Districts: Where to Shop and What to Buy There!

10 Best Tokyo Shopping Districts: Where to Shop and What to Buy There!

Date published: 13 June 2018
Last updated: 28 February 2022

Where are the best shopping districts in Tokyo? Whether you hit up every duty-free shop you see or you just want to pick up omiyage (souvenirs), you are going to shop at some point during your trip.

Should you go shopping in Ginza or Harajuku, buy Anime goods in Akihabara or the big malls of Makuhari, and can you really buy authentic souvenirs in Asakusa?

With the right guide, shopping in Tokyo can be really enjoyable. That's why we've rounded up the top 10 shopping districts in Tokyo for an unbeatable time! Language barriers, cash-only shops, these things cannot stop you from enjoying one of Tokyo's most exciting attractions, shopping!

Main image credit: beersonic / Shutterstock.com

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Ginza (For Fashion and Luxury)
  2. 2. Kappabashi (For Stylish Kitchenware)
  3. 3. Asakusa (For Perfect Japanese Souvenirs)
  4. 4. Jimbocho (For Winter Jackets, Ski Shops & Sport, Books)
  5. 5. Akihabara (For Manga, Electronics & More)
  6. 6. Ochanomizu (For Guitars & Instruments)
  7. 7. Harajuku (For Young Fashion)
  8. 8. Shimokitazawa (For Vintage Clothing and Antiques)
  9. 9. Makuhari (For Modern Malls and Great Discounts)
  10. 10. Odaiba (For Shopping and Entertainment, with a View)
  11. Good luck on your Tokyo Shopping Adventure!

1. Ginza (For Fashion and Luxury)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

If you enjoy the finer things in life—lovely bags, fancy cars, shiny accessories—Ginza is for you. Being Tokyo's high-end fashion district, Ginza is a popular destination for luxury shoppers, and many tour groups have buses that take visitors to the major department stores for the day.

You can find the flagship stores of CHANEL, BVLGARI, ROLEX, and more, as well as high-end department stores like Mitsukoshi Ginza. This oldest department store in Japan features an entire floor (8F) for duty-free shopping. It is an excellent place to sample Japanese cuisine due to its gigantic Depachika, a food shopping center in a basement. There is a rooftop terrace on the 9th floor where they can take a break and enjoy a pretty lunchbox from the café there.

Marking a sharp contrast from historical Mitsukoshi Ginza, is the new shopping center Ginza Six (GSIX). It is a marriage of cutting-edge Japanese design by architect Yoshio Taniguchi and luxury brands like Valentino and Fendi. Ginza Six is also known for its variety of elegant restaurants on the 13th floor.

Visitors will find that Ginza is not only department stores, as it is also an excellent place to check out some of Japan's unique brands. Like MUJI GINZA, with its focus on an organic and natural aesthetic, or Yamano Music Instruments, where visitors can enjoy browsing through CDs, DVDs, and charts. YAMAHA is a renowned musical instrument brand, and their shop in Ginza is the luxury showcase of their products as well as their philosophy. You can even try some of their finest grand pianos or brass horns.

Is your trip to Japan short and limited to Tokyo? You can still experience the variety of Japanese crafts, foods, and wines by visiting an "Antenna" store. These stores are created by local governments to get their regional goods recognized in Japan's shopping hubs. One popular destination is Ginza Nagano, where you can sample wine and sake from the "prefecture of longevity," Nagano.

2. Kappabashi (For Stylish Kitchenware)

2. Kappabashi (For Stylish Kitchenware)

Kappabashi is the best shopping district in Tokyo for buying cooking supplies which include traditional Japanese knives and high-quality chopsticks, as well as shockingly realistic plastic food samples (Shokuhin-sampuru). You'll find this place less touristy than other shopping districts in Tokyo, with many locals visiting the area in search of new kitchenware.

The 800meter main street connects Ueno and Asakusa and is lined with various cookware shops. Over 100 years old and with 170 shops, Kappabashi has everything from bowls and baskets to tables and chairs.

Japan has long been renowned for its blacksmithing techniques, and that extends to its kitchen knives. Japanese kitchen knives, called Hocho, are an excellent addition to any kitchen, and they can be purchased in many of the shops that line Kappabashi.

Kappabashi is also a great place to buy chopsticks as a souvenir to take home as they will be much cheaper than sightseeing locations, and probably better quality too! Japanese ceramics are also a wonderful souvenir idea, and you will be sure to find a number of different colors and designs.

For something uniquely Japanese, pick up the realistic, but fake, plastic food samples; these model dishes are displayed in front of Japanese restaurants to entice hungry patrons. We recommend Ganso Shokuhin Sampuru and Tokyo Biken, as well as Sato Sampuru.

3. Asakusa (For Perfect Japanese Souvenirs)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

Asakusa is a shopping district in Tokyo where you will find a treasure trove of Japanese goodies that make the perfect souvenirs! If you visit Senso-ji Temple, you will walk down Nakamise Dori, a promenade leading to the temple lined with traditional-styled shops that sell plenty of souvenirs.

This is the perfect opportunity for sightseeing and shopping in a bustling Japanese atmosphere. Here you can buy practical souvenirs like Uchiwa, or fans, which are especially helpful during those brutal Tokyo summers, chopsticks, or even Tabi – the traditional Japanese socks that are worn with wooden shoes called Geta. All of this and more can easily be found among these souvenir shops in Asakusa.

Visitors who are more interested in a one-stop-shop can confidently go to Don Quijote Asakusa. This chain store has everything you can imagine. Japanese snacks, souvenirs, Anime goods, electronics, suitcases and more! There are 7 floors of shopping and entertainment here, even Karaoke and a live music space.

Finally, no journey to Asakusa is complete without some historical snacking! The Asakusa Thunder Crackers (Kaminari Okoshi) are traditional crackers with a crispy rice base sweetened with sugar and flavored syrups. Don't worry, they won't shock your mouth! The name likely comes from the famous Kaminarimon Gate, or Thunder Gate, nearby. Next, try sweet potato snacks at Funawa Honten, which dates all the way back to 1902! Finally, try Ningyo-yaki, castella cakes with a red bean filling that are shaped like dolls or animals. They are (almost) too cute to eat.

4. Jimbocho (For Winter Jackets, Ski Shops & Sport, Books)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

The adventurous traveler and the book lover in your group will especially love shopping in the unique Tokyo neighborhood, Jimbocho.

Here, you can find an array of sports gear, especially winter sports. Every year, people come from around the globe to enjoy Japan's powder. So, winter sports enthusiasts have carved out a place in Tokyo to shop for the best ski and snowboard gear. Victoria Ochanomizu and L-Breath Ochanomizu are great places to start. The address of both facilities is Ochanomizu, but the nearest station is Jimbocho.

Jimbocho is also well-known for its secondhand bookstores. There are about 200, in various shapes and sizes. Some bookstores only have Japanese books, but others sell or even specialize in foreign language books like Sanseido!

What goes well with a good book? Coffee of course, and Jimbocho knows how to serve a good cup. Head to Glitch Coffee & Roaster to have a specialty coffee in a bright industrial atmosphere or enjoy retro Japan at one of the oldest cafés in the area, Ladrio.

After shopping for winter gear, shopping for books, and having a cup of coffee, it's time to end your trip in true Jimbocho style, by enjoying a hearty meal of Japanese-style curry and rice.

5. Akihabara (For Manga, Electronics & More)

5. Akihabara (For Manga, Electronics & More)

If anime and manga interest you, head over to Akihabara for the best shopping in your life! Akihabara Electric Town (affectionately called Akiba, by locals) used to be best known for its electronics, but these days it is more famous for being the heart of Otaku culture. You will have no problem finding collector's pieces, OVAs, and other memorabilia from all kinds of anime. Take your time and visit Animate, Radio Kaikan, Mandarake, and more!

For those who would like specific character figures and are having no luck winning them in the local game center, there are shops that specialize in their sales. Akihabara Radio Kaikan is the option that will provide the most choices. Top hobby shops like Uchusen Toys & Figures and Kaiyodo Hobby Lobby are located in this one building. Outside of Radio Kaikan, Hobby Paradise2 and Entertainment Hobby Shop Jungle Akihabara are also nice options.

While you're in the area, you can also browse the numerous electronics shops! Here, shopping malls filled with all kinds of electronics are at every corner. Whether you're looking for new, used, or refurbished items you'll find it all here, and then some!

Try Yodobashi Camera or BicCamera to begin with – they stock all the big Japanese brands like SONY, TOSHIBA, and Canon. Yodobashi Camera Multimedia Akiba even has a whole floor dedicated to toys and figures on the 6th floor. You can enjoy restaurants on the 8th floor. At both Yodobashi and BicCamera, multi-lingual staff are available.

And then head to the back streets where smaller, independent shops sell individual pieces, retro games, and particular items. It's an interesting idea to stop at a maid café in Akihabara for a cup of coffee. Waitresses in maid costumes will serve you coffee and tea as if you are a master, it's a bizarre but uniquely Tokyo experience.

6. Ochanomizu (For Guitars & Instruments)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

Meanwhile, the musically inclined will find their place in Ochanomizu, one of Tokyo's major university areas.

Lovingly called Guitar Street, Meidai Dori is filled with guitar shops and outlets. On nice days, many guitars are displayed outside of the stores, creating an interesting photo opportunity. Fender, Gibson, Martin, PRS, Rickenbacker, Yamaha, Gretsch - you'll see all of them and more. You can find everything relating to guitars on this road. And you have the option of buying new or used.

For new and secondhand try Shimokura Musical Instruments or Ishibashi Music. Or, go all out and order a custom guitar at the ESP Custom Shop.

Because there are so many students living or going to school in this area it also has a number of stationery shops and art supply stores. Lemon Gasui is a local store with a unique premise; not only can you shop for cute stationery, but you can also enjoy the artwork displayed throughout the store, which was made by the shop's staff! So, it's an art gallery and a shop all in one.

7. Harajuku (For Young Fashion)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

If you've been captivated by Japanese youth fashion, Visual Kei couture, or lolita culture, then take a day to explore Tokyo's shopping district of Harajuku.

Best known for Takeshita Dori, Harajuku is where you can find all the latest avant-garde trends and styles. Be careful, as this area gets super crowded with locals and foreigners, especially on weekends. Try Boutique Takenoko, a Harajuku institution since 1978, for gaudy, fabulous, and Lolita clothes, or go to ACDC Rag for edgier pieces. You can also look for one-of-a-kind items at secondhand shops like Kinji and Ragtag nearby.

Coming to Harajuku and visiting only Takeshita Street would be a huge mistake as you can get a better feel for the vibrant sub-cultures here by heading into Ura-Harajuku - the colorful backstreets of this neighborhood. There you will find everything from original Japanese designers like A Bathing Ape to cluttered shops selling toy collectibles like Spiral, and much more.

Nearby Cat Street is a bit of a bridge between the ultra-high-end malls of Omotesando and the street fashion of Takeshita Street – making it somewhat of a hipster paradise. Browse stunning diamonds and then have a Tiffany blue donut at the Cat Street Tiffany or stop by any of the smaller boutiques in the area, the choice is yours!

Along Omotesando Dori, you'll find high-end fashion for the more mature fashionista. Stop at one of the many shopping malls along the way, like Omotesando Hills and Gyre, for luxury finds.

8. Shimokitazawa (For Vintage Clothing and Antiques)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

Shimokitazawa is a unique, trendy and artistically minded neighborhood, often considered Tokyo's vintage fashion district, lying just to the west of Tokyo's world-famous Shibuya district.

The neighborhood is split up into two areas on either side of the train station (north and south), both of which are characterized by a collection of narrow pedestrian walkways that are bursting with life, great food, delicious coffee, and retail variety in equal measures.

The narrow labyrinthine alleyways of "Shimokita" (as it's known in colloquial terms) are flanked by vintage clothing stores, craft coffee shops, global eateries, indie fast-food joints, and a smattering of pubs and cocktail bars. It's also home to a plethora of stores proffering all kinds of trinkets, oddments, paraphernalia, and memorabilia from the days of yesteryear: vinyl LP's, old-school books, and magazines, retro antiques, traditional lacquerware, you name it.

In Shimokitazawa, visitors can also enjoy browsing Village Vanguard, which claims to be an exciting bookstore but is really more of a variety store filled with items that will confuse you and make you laugh in equal parts.

9. Makuhari (For Modern Malls and Great Discounts)

9. Makuhari (For Modern Malls and Great Discounts)

Makuhari is a shopper's paradise as it features a number of malls and outlets. Located less than half an hour by Keiyo Line from Tokyo Station, Mitsui Outlet Park is the closest outlet mall available to travelers based in Tokyo. Here shoppers can enjoy discounts of 20-40% off the regular price. There are around 140 stores here, ranging from high-end (Brooks Brothers) to mid-range (Snidel). Seiko has their outlet store here as well, so this could finally be the chance to score that fashionable Japanese watch you've had your eye on for a discount.

For shopping on a larger scale, head to AEON MALL Makuhari Shintoshin, which is part of one of Japan's largest mall franchises. This mall is gigantic, but well organized into different sections. There is a Pet Mall with a spacious dog-friendly café and an indoor and outdoor dog run, a Family Mall with a large ToysRUs, play areas for children, nursing rooms for families with infants, an Active Mall with sports stores and activities, and much more. It is a nice mixture of well-organized shopping and recreation, and it has a large and well-stocked restaurant floor to boot.

Ikspiari is a sprawling commercial complex located at the gateway to Tokyo Disney, which is almost like a mini-Disney on its own. The mall has some great designs and decorations to complement the fantastic shopping. There is a large Disney store here for those who won't be going to the theme park, but still want to check out the Japan limited goods. For a truly unique outfit, we recommend stopping by graniph; this brand often has interesting collaborations – like Moomin or Crayon ShinChan – and they offer matching clothes for children and adults!

10. Odaiba (For Shopping and Entertainment, with a View)

image:PIXTA
image:PIXTA

Odaiba is an artificial island with beautiful views of Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge. It is home to Tokyo's first giant Gundam and several big shopping malls which also feature entertainment for kids and adults. With this mix of shopping and fun, Odaiba is a not-to-be-missed destination in any Tokyo itinerary.

Aquacity Odaiba is a shopping mall with a view out over the bay and Odaiba's own Statue of Liberty. Here you can enjoy browsing both international and Japanese brands - like athletic shoe retailer, Onitsuka Tiger. There are many lunch and dinner options here, from fancier restaurants with views of the bay, to the Ramen-specific food court where visitors can try a few different regional varieties of the classic Japanese dish.

To locate DiverCity Tokyo all you have to do is spot the giant Unicorn Gundam guarding the 2nd-floor entrance! This modern mall is sure to entertain visitors for a long time. For those looking for Japanese brands and stores, there are a number of them here: there's Wego for modern, Harajuku-inspired fashion, J!NS for stylish sunglasses, and The Daiba for Tokyo souvenirs. Anime fans can find plenty of thrills here on the hexaRide which has included VR experiences for Attack on Titan and Ghost in the Shell.

Good luck on your Tokyo Shopping Adventure!

Tokyo has a variety of shopping districts and you may be overwhelmed but with a bit of help, you can find almost anything in Tokyo! With so many shopping districts in Tokyo, it can be hard to choose what to buy and where to buy it. Fashion lovers can stop by Harajuku for eclectic streetwear, Ginza for luxury and high-end brands, and Shimokitazawa for a vintage, hipster style.

Everything from snowboards and winter gear in Jimbocho to Anime goods in Akihabara to traditional Japanese items like fans and chopsticks is in stock in Tokyo. So, make sure to check out these shopping districts in Tokyo for the ultimate haul!

The Tokyo Metro and JR subway lines make traveling in Tokyo a breeze, and you can purchase day passes for either railway company (depending on where you are going) to save money. Though mobile translations are readily available these days for those worried about the language barrier, it may be a good idea to hire a professional guide or join a shopping tour to make the most of your time in Japan.

Happy shopping!

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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