Tokyo is one of the world's best shopping cities. The shops and the service are world famous. Here are my picks for what and where to buy in Tokyo.
Akihabara: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
The Takeaway - Where to Buy It
- Electronics: Shinjuku, Akihabara
- Computers: Shinjuku, Akihabara
- Clothing: Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza
- Last-Minute Souvenirs: Tokyo Station Area
- Pop Culture Goods: Akihabara, Harajuku
- Japanalia and Handicrafts: Harajuku
- English-language books: Shinjuku, Tokyo Station Area
See below for full details on what to buy and where to shop.
Where to Shop in Tokyo
- Tokyo is not really just one city. Rather, it's like several cities connected by a really good train and subway system. Each of Tokyo's urban nodes is centered around a train station, which is in turn surrounded by a shopping district, usually containing several large department stores. Of course, each of these nodes has a different character. Here is a brief introduction to the best shopping districts in Tokyo and what to buy there.
Ginza was Tokyo's first Western-style shopping district. Here, you'll find branches of most of the main department stores, the expensive boutiques and lots of smaller shops. It's not all high-priced glam here – you'll also find reasonably-priced shops like Uniqlo. This is one of the most pleasant districts for strolling, window shopping and browsing. See the Ginza district page for full details and specific shops.
Tokyo Station Area/Yurakucho
Tokyo Station is crammed with restaurants and shops. You'll find lots of places to buy souvenirs in Tokyo Station Ichiban Gai (First Avenue Tokyo Station) shopping/dining arcade inside the station. Also, Daimaru Department Store, on the Yaesu side of the station, is a great place for serious shopping (including food and sweet shopping). Finally, the Bic Camera store in Yurakucho is a great place to buy a SIM card for your phone. See the Tokyo Station Area district page for full details and specific shops.
Shibuya is one of Tokyo's busiest and best shopping areas. It's popular with young people. You'll find lots of big department stores here, including a great branch of the gadget emporium known as Tokyu Hands. See the Shibuya district page for full details and specific shops.
Shinjuku is another huge and busy shopping area. There are several huge department stores either over the station itself or outside the east exit. There's also the huge electronics and camera district outside the west exit. And, there's my favorite single shopping complex in the whole city, Takashimaya Times Square, which includes the city's best bookstore: Kinokuniya. See the Shinjuku district page for full details and specific shops.
Harajuku is a shopping district popular both with young people and with wealthy adults. The main avenue of the area, Omotesando, is one of the most pleasant streets in the city for strolling and shopping. As you head east away from the station, shops become increasingly pricey and elite. See the Harajuku district page for full details and specific shops.
Known as "Akiba," this is Tokyo's geek gathering point. Here, you'll find all kinds of electronics, camera, manga, anime, hobby and pop culture shops in one small area. See the Akihabara district page for full details and specific shops.
What to Buy in Tokyo
- Frankly, you can buy just about anything in Tokyo. If it's not available in Tokyo, it's probably not worth having. But, to get you started, here is a list of some of the best things to buy in Tokyo:
- Pop culture goods
- Yukata (light summer robes)
- Japanalia (lacquerware, ceramics, handicrafts etc)
For another list of things to buy in Tokyo and where to buy them, see my Best Tokyo Souvenirs page.
Best Place in Tokyo to Buy...
- Here, I'll tell you the best places to buy particular items in Tokyo. Click the district pages linked below for full details.
- Yukata (light summer robe): Oriental Bazaar Harajuku
- Gadgets/Hi-tech Items/Toys etc: Tokyu Hands Shinjuku, Shibuya
- Quirk Lifestyle Goods: Loft Shibuya
- Pop Culture Goods: Mandarake Complex or Don Quijote Akihabara
- Clothing and Fashion Items: Uniclo Ginza, Shibuya etc
- Japanese Sweets: Daimaru Department Store Tokyo Station Area
- Green Tea: Ippodo Tokyo Store Tokyo Station Area
- Lacquerware: Kuroeya Tokyo Station Area
- Traditional Japanese Crafts and Japanalia: Oriental Bazaar Harajuku
- Japanese Cooking Knives: Kiya Knife Shop Tokyo Station Area
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Truly Tokyo Google map:
- Open the Tokyo map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals. Check my guides to arriving at Narita Airport and at Haneda Airport.
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with a Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world