If you ever find yourself itching to do some retail therapy while you’re in the land of the rising sun, you’re in luck. Japan is one of the biggest shopping meccas in the entire world. You can buy whatever you need and more besides in any shopping district in the country. These are our eight favorite and fabulous shopaholic destinations in Japan.
In the mood to snag some luxury swag? Then Ginza is it for you. If you have the cash or the credit, you can score some high-end stuff like a Hermes scarf, a Dior bath set, or Mikimoto pearls. You don’t have to shell out cash to enjoy Ginza, though. You can simply look at some bizarrely fascinating window displays, bask in the neon lights at night, watch kabuki, or enjoy a meal at a Michelin restaurant.
If Ginza is way beyond your budget, you can always try Shinjuku. Shinjuku is the busiest spot in all of Tokyo and is home to countless malls, department stores, electronic stores and boutiques in every price range.
If you want to inject a youthful energy to your signature look, you must go to Shibuya. Shibuya is where the young people of Tokyo go to grab some new threads. If you feel the fashion is too young for you, don’t worry. Shibuya has boutiques and department stores that cater to more mature tastes too.
Fancy yourself an otaku? If yes, then you must spend time wandering around Akihabara to replenish your stock of manga, anime DVDs, CDs of your favorite J-rock or J-pop act, video games, gadgets and electronics, and other collectibles. Akihabara is nerd heaven, and you’re bound to find fellow otaku dressed in cosplay. When you get tired, hie off to a themed maid café or cat café to enjoy a cup of latte and maybe a plate of curry rice and indulge your inner nerd some more.
Den Den Town, Osaka
Akihabara is not the only otaku paradise in Japan. There’s also Den Den Town in Osaka. The vibe in Den Den Town is a lot more relaxed and a lot less weird in that you probably won’t find as many cosplayers here. Aside from otaku collectibles, Den Den Town in Japan is also the place for a shopaholic to find bargain electronics, fashion and other knick-knacks.
Umeda is probably Osaka’s response to Tokyo’s Shinjuku. One of the largest shopping centers in the whole of Japan, Umeda is centered on the Osaka Station City train complex and Umeda Station. There are at least four giant department stores there, as well as countless boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants.
If Tokyo has Shinjuku and Osaka has Umeda, Kyoto has its vibrant downtown area. Downtown Kyoto has its fair share of giant department stores, all selling a wide variety of products from foreign luxury goods to local bargain items. Most of these stores are located along Shijo Street. As Shijo Street nears Yasaka Shrine, the giant department stores give way to smaller shops selling traditional and specialty goods.
Kyoto Handicraft Center
Kyoto is the place to find samples of Japan’s famous, highly refined handicrafts. If you’re not in the mood to wander Kyoto’s back alleys for that unique find, you can always drop by Kyoto Handicraft Center instead. It’s a one-stop shop that offers a wide range of Japanese goods, including lacquerware, tea, pottery, woodblock prints, kimono and yukata, and other local goods.
Japan is shopaholic heaven. If you want a thrilling shop-until-you-drop experience on your next holiday, make that holiday happen!