The Best Places to Shop in Tokyo
From high-end shopping malls filled with high fashion and international brands to small shops stocked with made-on-site treasures and some of the world’s best bookstores, Tokyo is every shopper’s delight. Some of the best shopping districts include Ginza, Roppongi, Omotesando, Nihonbashi, Akihabara, and Nakameguro. For last-minute souvenirs for everybody on your list, head to Tokyu Hands Shibuya for 20 floors of merchandise ranging from kitchen wares to stationery and luggage.
6-chōme-11-1 Roppongi, Minato City, Tōkyō-to 106-0032, Japan
In recent years the construction of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and Tokyo Midtown has made Roppongi a high end shopping destination. Tokyo Midtown and Mori Tower combine art and fashion. Tokyo Midtown tauts stores like Pleats Please Issey Miyake, Boss Orange and museums including 21_21 Design Sight and The Suntory Museum of Art. While Mori Tower has The Mori Art Museum, and designer shops including Alexander McQueen, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Kate Spade. Both complexes have a rich assortment of traditional Japanese restaurants and global cuisine. Sukiyabashi Jiro Sushi is the Roppongi Hills sushi restaurant run by the son of Takashi Jiro, Tokyo‘s famous sushi chef featured in Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
This glitzy shopping district in the city center is home to department stores and shopping malls like Ginza Six and Tokyu Ginza Plaza. There are many Michelin-starred restaurants for sushi, tempura, and kaiseki, as well as classic bars such as Star Bar and Bar High Five. Casual restaurants serving tonkatsu, Western-style yoshoku, and old-school kissaten cafés also pepper the area, offering something for everyone regardless of budget. The area is rich with so-called antenna shops (regional food shops), and fans of the lifestyle store Muji will not want to miss the flagship store. Ito-ya and Kyukyodo are must-shops for stationery, traditional washi paper, and pens.
Japan, 〒150-0033 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Sarugakucho, 17−５ ＤＡＩＫＡＮＹＡＭＡ Ｔ－ＳＩＴＥ蔦屋書店 １号館、３号館、２号館１階
A short walk from Daikanyama Station is one of the metropolis’s iconic bookstores, Tsutaya at T-Site. Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, the Tsutaya bookstore is celebrated not only for the beauty of its three buildings but also for the extensive selection of books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs. Tsutaya opens at 7 a.m., perfect for travelers who land before hotel check-in. You can have a coffee or a cocktail in the Anjin Lounge while perusing books. The concierges are specialists in a variety of topics to help guide consumers through the books, music, and movies.
3-chōme-2-9 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tōkyō-to 160-8336, Japan
In the outer market of Tsukiji, I bought a knife at this amazing shop and the experience stuck with me. Any cook knows a great knife makes all the difference, and here they have such a vast variety of knives, at various prices, that anyone can find something here. After selecting my purchase, the third generation owner put my name on the knife by hand. Who knew knives could be so personal? Keep in mind that this is a cash only shop. Tsukiji Masamoto Tsukiji 4-9-9
９−５ 6 Chome
Uniqlo is the affordable and stylish brand of Japan. They sell men’s and women’s clothing and they excel at the basics: cotton tees, plaid shirts, underwear, sundresses, and jeans. The Uniqlo flagship store is located on Ginza’s Chuo Dori amidst luxury brand giant towers. This twelve story Uniqlo has some specialty Tokyo bags and shirts made only for the flagship store. On the top floors you’ll find a gallery of t-shirts decorated with anime favorites, Disney characters, and Star Wars scenes.
Japan, 〒103-0022 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Nihonbashimuromachi, 2 Chome−2−１ コレド室町 １F
The historic Kiya shop specializing in cutlery has been in the Nihonbashi district since 1792. Come here for Japanese knives and traditional Japanese kitchenware, including donabe for cooking rice and hot pots, copper graters, and mortar and pestles. There are wooden boxes for making pressed sushi and wooden cutting boards that are gentle on the Japanese knives. Staff are friendly and helpful, guiding customers to the right knife or utensil. Beyond cutlery, Kiya also has other cutting tools that are worth checking out, including nail clippers, shaving gear, pruning shears, and scissors.
Japan, 〒160-0022 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−1, 新宿区新宿３丁目１−２６
Competition among 100-yen shops, the Japanese equivalent to an American dollar store, is resulting in cool outlets filled with fun items for the home and office. Seria, in particular, has a surprising selection of tableware, kitchenware, stationery, and housewares. DIY fans will have a heyday carefully perusing the selection of things you didn’t know existed but now must have, and many items like the tableware items are surprisingly high quality and beautifully designed. Gifts that are easy on the wallet and cool for friends back home include kawaii (cute) washi tape in fun designs, organizers for home and for travel, and other souvenirs. This Seria shop is a short walk from Shinjuku Station, but there are branches throughout the city.
2 Chome-7-15 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0061, Japan
The stationery shop Itoya resembles a museum, with its exquisite displays and handsome collection. The main shop on Chuo Dori has 12 floors of paper, stationery, pens, planners, and a café. The annex on the backstreet has seven floors of paints, colored pencils, notebooks, and more. Itoya is a great spot to pick up gifts for friends back home. It’s easy to find—just look for the giant red paper clip in front of the building.
Japan, 〒151-8580 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Sendagaya, 5 Chome−24−２ タカシマヤタイムズスクエア南館 2～8F
Tokyu Hands is a quintessential Japanese lifestyle shop designed to make your life more refined, or at least more fun. There are now branches throughout the country, as well as international ones in Taiwan and Singapore, but the Shibuya branch is the largest, with more than 20 floors of merchandise if you include the mezzanine levels. It is a treasure chest of items, practical and not, for home, travel, and garden. The select collection of luggage and bags, many made by Japanese craftsmen, is especially worth perusing. Each floor is themed, organized around subjects such as the kitchen, travel, health and beauty, DIY, and stationery. It’s easy to get lost, as there is so much to see, whether shopping for yourself or for gifts for friends.
Japan, 〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 4 Chome−12番10号
Tadao Ando’s mall on Omotesando Dori is an architectural delight. In an interior skylit atrium, a spiral walkway ascends from the basement up to the third floor. Most of the shops are high-end: fashion designers, jewelry stores, and cosmetics, while Pass the Baton is a secondhand shop of select clothes, antiques, jewelry, and housewares. Vegetable-focused restaurants include Yasaiya-Mei and Kyo-Oyasai-Bar Mei; though they are not strictly vegetarian, both offer seasonal and local produce. Chocolate aficionados can indulge at the Jean-Paul Hévin boutique.