Shopping and I have a love and hate relationship. I hate the fact that it leaves my wallet a third-degree burn. I hate going around circles looking for specific “vague” things, and I am not good at gift-giving, I usually delegate tasks like these to my friends. But what I love about shopping is the impact it creates for the people I shop for. Simple things like food from a trip overseas can bring so much happiness to friends and family, uncovering different brands or what is uso (Tagalog word for “trends”) in that country and practising my haggling skills, as I am quite gifted on this one. I’ve listed down 5 best shopping districts in Tokyo that you should go to.
During my recent trip to Japan or on any travels I do, buying souvenirs is a must. But, after realizing the whole of Tokyo is a big shopping mall, it’ll be hard for first-time visitors to not get caught by the city’s eclecticism. Most people will definitely find Tokyo overwhelmingly fast and chaotic. So, I am sharing 5 of the best places to shop for while you are visiting Tokyo for your Japan trip.
Shop For Some Local Quirks in Asakusa
This might be the only place you want to visit for shopping, no kidding. The Asakusa district is the perfect place for tourists, with shops that sell local souvenirs ranging from postcards, lucky charms, religious articles and even out of the box kit kat flavours, there are plenty of places where you can shell out some Yens and not feeling bad about it the next day. I made a quick trip via train to Asakusa to see the Senso-Ji Temple (pictured above) in the morning. While reaching the temple, you’ll find small shops leading the way to the temple and as early as it is – they are quite packed! I couldn’t resist and buy these postcards with a Kabuki theme. Hence, this is why Asakusa district is considered as 5 best shopping districts in Tokyo.
Walk a little bit to the right of Senso-ji and you will find the shop Don Quijote or Donki as what the locals call it. Don Quijote is a shop that sells pretty much everything tax-free and it is open 24 hours! You will find all sorts of things here to buy for your loved ones.
Do note that when shopping in Japan, there is an 8% sales tax for all merchandise, consumables or not. If a store says tax-free, make sure to show your passport so they can sell to you without tax. Guidebooks would always say to never bring your passports while touring, in the fear of passports getting lost or spoiled, but not in Japan. It is very safe to carry it around and there are so many perks for tourists. But, if you have nothing to do at night and since most shops in Tokyo close around 10pm, Don Quijote is the perfect place to shop
hoard. Did I mention that Don Quijote is everywhere in Japan? If the one in Asakusa is not convenient for you, there must be something nearby your hotel. Do look for branches of Don Quijote here.
Shop Where The Locals Shop at Ameyoko, Ueno
Ameyoko Street is considered as 5 best shopping districts in Tokyo as it is the haven for bargain shoppers while in Tokyo. The street located between the rails of the JR Ueno station and Naka – okachimachi. The street itself is sprawling with flea markets, pop up stores and street food. Think of Pasar Seni or Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market but smaller. You know what I mean. And oh, did I mention you can haggle here? Ameyoko Street is not as chaotic as Shinjiku and not as high end as Ginza. You will find this place a bit more relaxing as this place is not considered touristy. In fact, when I was there, I mostly see local Japanese shopping, of course, I know they are Japanese, they speak in Japanese la!
The Triad of Japanese Youth Shopping – Shibuya, Harujuku and Shinjuku
Shibuya – the place where much Japanese fashion and entertainment trends were born. It is also the centre of youth fashion and culture, not to mention it is the busiest town in Tokyo. Here is what to expect while you are at the infamous Shibuya Scramble. Shopping spots and entertainment places are scattered everywhere here. Although for first-time visitors the two famous shopping place worth noticing in Shibuya is Shibuya 109 which is centrally located, you won’t miss it. It only has 10 floors of women’s clothing. Now, ladies, tell me, what’s good?
Also, while at Shibuya, you can go crazy with shops like Tokyu Hands, Loft and Sekaido. The inner Obsessive Compulsive in you will go crazy. Remember these words. Harajuku and Shinjuku on the other hand, are nearby Shibuya, you can go there by foot! You can score some pretty hefty deals in these places. For example, in Harajuku Street is an alley where only Kawaii (cute) things are sold, this place also houses Daiso’s flagship store. I know! There is Daiso in Malaysia but how can you resist, right? I found out that Daiso in Japan sells Vitamins, dried fish and a whole lot more. Malaysia, we are missing out! Vitamins for only 100 yen.
Shop With Gusto At Omotesando
Girls would definitely love this place. Omotesando is a gold mine for the stylish young woman. I’m not exaggerating, ladies. Omotesando is not only where women shop, but this is also a place where you hang out with your girlfriends over brunch. Or sipping some coffee after a long day of shopping. I can’t express it in words precisely, I’m a guy, so… Girls, if you swing by Omotesando, the experience itself is better than it sounds. A place worth noting is La Foret, seven fully functional floors filled with just women’s clothing. You need that caffeine boost before entering this concrete jungle. In addition, on top of this building is a museum that host various events and exhibitions.
Omotesando Hills, on the other hand, will let you indulge with a lot of stylish, high-end brands, and luxurious cafes and restaurants. It’s a shopping complex in central of Tokyo, you can easily spot brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo, Porsche Design, and Dolce & Gabbana
Feel Like Royalty at the Ginza District
Another 5 best shopping districts in Tokyo is Ginza. A trip to the Ginza District is the best place for you to indulge in luxury brands. Brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes made Ginza. Ginza is also home to affordable brands like Uniqlo, GU and H&M. I went there on a Sunday afternoon however, it’s as if I was flown to a different place. It is my first time in Tokyo, but I felt that I was taken to New York or at least on how I imagined New York in my head. Everyone is so well dressed. But, the Japanese won’t really care what brands you are wearing. Do get to enjoy shopping or window shopping while in Ginza, right after you visited the Tokyo International Forum located in Ginza.
Besides shopping, here are foods that you should try when in Japan! Book your trip now and shop like there’s no tomorrow 😜