Shopping in Tokyo, Japan
Leaving Tokyo empty-handed is almost impossible. There are so many malls, so many stores and so many different products that the environment always seems conducive to shopping. It even seems that shopping is a sport, so much the Japanese appreciate this activity – walking the streets, you will see the number of people with bags in their hands.
International brands from all over the world are in the city and the Japanese and Asian brands themselves are also very strong there. It is really admirable how commerce is a developed sector in the country and how the Japanese manage to create products so varied that they make people’s lives easier. Some inventions are so curious that you can’t even understand what they are. Check abbreviationfinder.org for abbreviations and acronyms related to Tokyo, Japan.
Tokyo has stores everywhere, part of them on the streets, part of them in malls, shopping centers, train stations or inside big department stores. These department stores are something very remarkable in the city, they are giant stores, with several floors that sell a little of everything. As space is something that is increasingly appreciated in large cities, (especially in Tokyo, where there is no room to spare), instead of the developments being horizontal, everything is increasingly vertical, with floors above and below the earth. In department stores, there are usually floors dedicated to food, where you can find both fast food and areas dedicated only to sweets, in addition to quality restaurants. Even if you don’t want to buy, it’s very worthwhile to visit big stores in the city, like Takashiyama, Isetan.
As Tokyo is a large and sprawling city, there are several interesting neighborhoods for shopping, some of them have a specific trade focus, which makes it easier to choose where to go to do your shopping. See countryaah.com for more information about Tokyo, Japan.
If you want to buy electronics, products related to video games, anime or anything else “nerd”, the place to go is Akihabara. This region has everything you can imagine for those who like anime and electronics. Good stores in this region are Yodobashi Camera, Sofmap and Laox. If you want to see the “cutes” things in Japan, buy in youth fashion stores or in refined stores, the tip is to go to Harajuku. The neighborhood has two very curious aspects, in Takeshita-Dori there are stores aimed at young people, with a more “cool” and modern side, while in Omotesando you will find the most expensive international brands.
Ginza is another place suitable for those looking for refined brands, boutiques and department stores. There are Apple, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and department stores like Primtemps and Lumine. If your budget is loose or you want to see designer stores, Ginza is the place to go.
However, if, on the contrary, you want to find more popular stores or a mix of everything that Tokyo can offer, the tip is to go to Shibuya or Shinjuku. Both neighborhoods have several streets full of shops, the best department stores in the city and several shopping centers. In Shibuya, there are department stores like Tokyo Hands and Bic Camera. In Shinjuku, which gained our taste as one of the best places to shop due to the variety of stores, there are stores from Uniqlo, Studio Alta, Isetan, Lumine, among others.
Tokyo’s major train stations have a lot of commerce and are also connected to shopping malls and department stores. In Shibuya and Shinjuku, mainly, there is a lot of shopping around the station and you can easily spend a whole day in these neighborhoods knowing their stores, such is the strength of the local commerce. A tip for those who want to save money is to visit the 100 yen stores, like Daiso. These stores are like our R $ 1.99 stores; for a fixed price, you can buy several little things. The quality of the products is a little doubtful, but without a doubt you can find a lot of cool things for a super friendly price.
Shibuya (渋 谷)
Shibuya is one of the busiest neighborhoods in Tokyo, an excellent place to shop, enjoy the nightlife and eat at good restaurants. The region is very busy night and day and is home to the largest crossroads in the world, known as “Shibuya Crossing”, and the statue of the dog Hachiko, which has even turned into a film.
Passing the Shibuya intersection and admiring people doing the same is one of the city’s biggest attractions. At a peak moment, the crossing is even more impressive… To see all this buzz, the tip is to buy a coffee at Starbucks or Cafe L’Occitane and look for a table near the windows, which offer a good view of all that “controlled chaos” – sometimes it seems that people crossing the streets are going to crash, but in fact everything flows very well.
Shibuya gathers many young people and stores aimed at this audience. In the region, there are the largest Japanese store chains and large department stores, or “depato” as the Japanese themselves call it.
Shibuya’s points of interest include Shibuya Crossing, the statue of Hachiko, Center Gai (a pedestrian-only street with many well-known stores), Koen Street and stores like Uniqlo, Tokyu Hands and Loft (great for visiting some Japanese inventions that make our lives easier).
Akihabara, or just Akiba, is Tokyo’s electronics district. The site brings together several electronics stores, some of them with several floors, and is the ideal place for those looking for the latest launches in the technological world. The district has also become a hub for game, anime and manga lovers, as it has many stores that sell anime-related items (Japanese drawings) and their characters. It is such a popular place in the Japanese capital that on Sundays the main street of the neighborhood is closed only for pedestrians to be able to do their shopping more easily.
Walking through the streets of Akiba is an amazing experience, because the neighborhood brings together several game stores and offers different experiences from those in Brazil. Some stores look just like a small door, but when you enter you find a building with several floors and a multitude of products!
In the country, arcade machines and claw cranes ( that type of game in which you try to “fish” a product with a claw) are very popular. There are multi-storey stores dedicated only to these types of games. Some Japanese are regulars at these stores, so it will be very common to find people in front of these machines trying to win some prizes. If you like games, Akiba will be a paradise!
In Akihabara, you will find not only stores that sell new products and games but those old video games that have become a relic. The place also has products for collectors, miniature character stores and maid cafes, which are restaurants where waitresses dress up as anime characters.
For those looking for electronics, there are many options for shopping and you will surely find practically everything that runs on a battery or is connected to power. Among the main stores in the region are Laox, Sofmap and the enerme Yodobashi Camera. Note that in stores with many floors it can be difficult to find what you are looking for, so be aware that each floor is usually dedicated to a type of product.
Ginza (called “Guinza”) is a district in Tokyo that has good restaurants, great department stores, lively nightlife and is an excellent place for shopping. The region has many popular stores, but mainly expensive stores and some of the most exclusive brands in the world!
It is an essentially expensive place and its main attractions are Chuo-Dori Street, a street full of high-end shops, the Ginza Wako, a corner building that has a clock that is one of the symbols of Ginza, and the Kabukiza Theather.
Among the stores you will find in Ginza are Chanel, Apple, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tiffany & Co. As for department stores, there are Primtemps, Matsuya, Mitsukoshi and Loft, which offer a wide variety of products.
On weekends, Chuo Dori, one of the main streets in Ginza, is usually closed to cars so pedestrians can move around more freely and do their shopping in peace. If you go to the place at night, we recommend visiting the Yarakucho area, which has several restaurants and izakayas (a kind of Japanese “bar”).
Omotesando Hills (表 参 道 ヒ ル ズ)
Omotesando Hills is a shopping center in the Harajuku area that brings together several stores of refined brands. The place is close to the famous Takeshita Street, which is a pole of Japanese youth fashion. Unlike the street, which is a popular place, this mall is luxurious and brings together several luxury brands.
The mall has a different architecture, it has 6 floors with stores and all access can be done with ramps installed at the bottom of the building.
Among the brands present at the site are the Max Brenner chocolatier, the Balmain brand, Bottega Veneta, Armani, Jimmy Choo, Ugg, among others. Shopping on site can be expensive, but even if it is just to look or have a hot coffee, it is worth taking a walk in the mall.
Roppongi Hills (六 本 木 ヒ ル ズ)
Roppongi Hills is a complex of buildings located in the district of Roppongi, well known for its nightlife. In the complex, there are buildings with offices, shops, coffee shops, restaurants, museum and a mall with a super modern architecture. One of the buildings that form part of the complex is the Mori Tower, which has an observatory for the public that offers a beautiful view of the city, especially when the weather is open. Roppongi Hills is proof of how the developments in Tokyo take on a large proportion and are “self-sufficient”, since in the same place you can find several sources of entertainment, good restaurants and shopping options.
Shinjuku is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Tokyo because it brings together many of the elements we expect from the Japanese capital: it has shopping malls, many stores, quality hotels, depato (department stores), good restaurants and a huge movement of people on the streets. In addition, Shibuya has a lively nightlife and still has the busiest train and subway station in the world: it is estimated that more than 3 million people pass through the place every day. The station is so big that it has more than 200 exits. Getting lost at Shinjuku Station is pretty easy, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on where you’re going.
Shinjuku has attractions such as the Shinjuku Gyoen (a beautiful park in the spring), the Government Metropolitan Buildings and Kabukicho (red light district). In addition, the Shinjuku station and its many shopping streets are also an attraction of the place.
Shinjuku is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in the city, as it has a lot to offer; just a few steps from the hotel, you have shops and restaurants of all kinds.
Takeshita Street (竹 下 通 り)
Takeshita-Dori or Takeshita Street are the most well-known names to speak of a 400 m little street in Harajuku, which gathers young people and some very different things from Japan. The street has shops, cafes and restaurants aimed at young people and shows a more modern side of Tokyo. It is always full and has stores selling everything from cosplay clothes to the famous 100 yen stores.
Strolling around Takeshita-Dori, taking a picture of the main street sign and eating a sweet and super-packed crepe are some of the programs you can do there. In view of its size and the constant public that visits the place, the street gets extremely crowded on weekends.
It is a popular place for young people in the city and among tourists who want to experience the fervor of Japanese pop culture. Although it is a very busy place, which can cause strangeness in some people, it is an interesting tour!
Tsukiji Market (築 地 市場)
Tsukiji Market is the largest fish market in the world and it is estimated that the place sells more than 2,000 tons of marine animals every day. The place is the point of sale of fish and seafood for residents and mainly for restaurants in the Japanese capital. On the market, a tuna auction takes place daily, in which huge pieces of fish are sold for consumption. The great thing about Tsujiki is to offer an incredible variety of sea animals, always very fresh. You will probably see animals you didn’t know being sold; some of them are so fresh that they are still alive on the market. Oysters, prawns, various fish, squid, octopus… All of that you see there.
The seafood market itself is huge, in a “closed” environment, where vendors and workers are walking around in carts full of boxes of fish. It must be understood that this is the work place of many people and although it is a tourist attraction, many people who are there are working, so you need to be aware of what happens around you so as not to hinder the flow of the place.
Attached to the fish market is the so-called Outside Market, a market with more varied products, which also sells fish and seafood, but on a smaller scale; in addition, it offers ready-made foods, fruits, vegetables, flowers and gifts. Along the Outside Market there are several restaurants and a popular program is to go to the place for breakfast – the coffee, of course, is Japanese style and includes sushi and sashimi on the menu. Among the restaurants that get very busy in the morning are Sushi Dai and Shushi Zanmai.
Tip: The fish auction takes place every day very early and only a limited number of people have the opportunity to see it happening. It takes place around 5 am, but to get the password you need to arrive around 3 am. If you do not have the energy to arrive so early, try to go to the market early in the morning, because this is the time when it is in full swing. We suggest going to the place around 8am / 9am and having your breakfast there. Avoid going to Tsujiki Market or Outside Market after 11am, because at that time the movement is already much less and consequently you will not be able to accompany people buying the huge pieces of fish.
Entrance to the site is free.