The second of my Japan Shopping blog posts has arrived! You can read the first one here (Tips for Shopping in Japan). I thought it would be easiest to organize the shops into districts/neighborhoods, since that’s probably how you will plan you trip. Most of the stores below are vintage or second hand shops, but I’ve also sprinkled in a few modern shops and shopping districts to check out. I spent probably close to 60 hours researching and planning for this trip — but now you don’t have to :o)
Both of these neighborhood-agnostic shops are HUGE and there are multiple locations throughout Tokyo (and perhaps Osaka/Kyoto but don’t quote me on that). Tokyu Hands is like a home goods meets hobby shop meets department store. It’s well organized and clearly laid out — an overall dream of a shopping experience. My mom and I spent probably 4 hours here.
On the flip side, Don Quijote is utter insanity. NINE floors packed full of STUFF — electronics, travel goods, souvenirs, makeup, weird Japanese candy, alcohol, etc etc etc. You have to go to one just to experience the chaos. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs and Japanese tchotchkes.
The below sections are shops and neighborhoods separated by district, and I’ve included a few places in Osaka and Kyoto as well.
This neighborhood is listed first for a reason… do not pass it up! Give yourself a whole afternoon (if not a whole day!) here. This is where you’ll find Flamingo (a few locations here as well as in Harajuku), New York Joe Exchange, and Haight & Ashbury. It’s also a quick 15 min walk to Chi Chi’s famous Grateful Dead memorabilia shop.
This is your classic (young person’s) Tokyo shopping district — lots of cheapie wild fashion stores that cater to a teen-ish audience (if you’re looking for platform lace up boots in neon colors, this is your spot). But you’ll also find some funkier high end boutiques and vintage shops here as well. Don’t miss Beams or Kinji, and ride the famous mirrored escalator at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Mall.
109 Shibuya is a crazzzzzy multi level mall full of Japanese teenagers. This is where I discovered Punyus. Around the block is Don Don Down on Wednesday (vintage and secondhand) where I scored a ton of good stuff. And don’t forget the famous Shibuya Crossing for a photo op.
Amerikamura, Osaka (shopping district)
Similar to Harajuku — a funky poppin’ shopping district with a mix of low and mid tier shopping. Definitely catered to a younger crowd but worth a gander.
This neighborhood reminds me more of Shimokitazawa than Harajuku — but even more lowkey and quiet. Lots of vintage shops and little boutiques all within a few block radius.
Nishiki Market, Kyoto
Part food market, part clothing shops, part restaurant district. On the outskirts you’ll find a mix of cheapie fashion stores as well as a few vintage shops and second hand designer. While further inside the market you’ll find food stalls and small restaurants.
My shopping strategy, if I were you, would be to bookmark the above stores in a Google Map, and then wander around each district for a few hours. There are so many surprising and wonderful shops to discover. Have fun!