Shopping in Tokyo
From cutting edge electronics to colorful anime goods, traditional crafts, trendy fashion and designer goods, Tokyo has a shop for practically anything one could ever want. The various districts have their own character and specialties: from the unorthodox outfits of the Harajuku girls to the high end stores of Ginza.
Ginza is Tokyo's answer to Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive or New York’s Fifth Avenue, and is rated one most upmarket shopping districts on the planet. The main street reads like a who’s who of luxury brands, and you’ll find almost every leading fashion label here.
Gwen Stefani made Harajuku a household name with her song about this wild centre of street style fashion and culture. There are countless independent fashion boutiques in the area, mostly geared to outlandish youth fashion. The focal point is Takeshita Dori and its side streets.
In contrast to the young shoppers on Takeshita Dori you’ll find adult shoppers along nearby Omotesando, sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. Oriental Bazaar is the place to go for antiques, vintage kimonos and high quality Japanese souvenirs including woodblock prints from the ukiyo-e masters.
Tokyo’s ‘Electric Town’ is best known for its stores where you can pick up cameras and computers, and pretty much any electrical gadget you can think of. It’s also the centre of Japan’s Otaku (geek) culture, with anime and manga shops dotted along the streets.
While record stores are peppered through the Japanese capital, the legendary Disk Union in Shinjuku should be the first port of call for serious disc shoppers. The multi-level store stocks everything from new local releases to rare as hens’ teeth items covering all music styles.
Antique Mall Ginza
One of the biggest antique malls in Japan, in fact in Asia, this treasure trove located in the Da Vinci building in upmarket Ginza contains around 200 shops that sell collectable Western-style antiques, Japanese and Oriental curios, ceramics, books, old kimonos, rare fabrics and jewellery.
Kinokuniya is the best place to shop for books. The main store in Shinjuku comprises eight floors and stocks a wide variety of books, comics, magazines, stationary, CDs, and loads more. A separate building is dedicated to manga, DVDs and other items, with English-language sections.
Traditional Arts & Crafts
This shop in Aoyama stocks a range of Japanese crafts from pottery, lacquerware and carving knives to calligraphy brushes. To be included here, items must be made mostly by hand; embody traditional techniques (dating back at least 100 years) and be made from traditional materials.
Chefs in the know head to Kappabashi, a specialty district not far from Asakusa. The district's shops sell everything a restaurant or kitchen needs (except for food) including cookware, ceramic, earthenware, knives, furniture, and even the plastic and wax food samples found in restaurant displays.
Health & beauty
Inside the Tokyo Dome City complex is the extensive Spa LaQua bathhouse, a great introduction to the Japanese tradition of public bathing. The natural hot spring waters help relieve shopping-weary muscles. There’s also a huge array of traditional beauty and healing massage treatments on offer.