cxZJapan is one of the world’s shopping meccas and has been a melting pot of global brands, too. Not to mention, Japan has a lot of homegrown brands and products that are known worldwide especially in the field of technology and even fashion. Tokyo, the country’s capital, is also the central point of its shopping activities.
Since shopping in Tokyo is inevitable, we compiled a short list of places where to shop depending on what you are looking for and the goods’ affordability.
1. Takeshita Street – If you are on a tight budget but would still want to get some fashion goodies in Japan, Takeshita Street may be the best place for you. Directly located across Harajuku train station and one of Tokyo’s primary tourist destinations, that is Meiji Shrine, makes it one of the busiest shopping areas to go to. Takeshita-Dori is full of shops that offer bags, fashion items, and trendy sweet snacks, too!
Access: Harajuku Station, JR Yamanote Line
2. Chuo Dori, Ginza – Tokyo’s most famous and premier shopping district features Chuo Dori. A street lined up with department stores, restaurants, and even nightclubs. It even has a Uniqlo store with 10 floors! Chuo Dori is also closed to automobile traffic during weekends, which makes it a good place to stroll while buying items from shop after shop. Or you can simply drop by to take Instagram-worthy photos and selfies. The road closure is between 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM but is extended during spring and summer (April to September) up to 6:00 PM.
Access: Ginza Station or Yurakucho Station
3. Omotesando – Another shopping street studded mostly with designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Coach, Hugo Boss, and select gadget shops such as Apple. There are several local brands as well such as Kura Chika Yoshida (local designer porter bags) and Beams (a local clothing brand for men, women, and children). Omotesando’s one-kilometer tree-lined avenue is conveniently located near Harajuku station, parallel to Takeshita Street.
Access: Harajuku Station, Yamanote Line or Omotesando Station
4. Akihabara – Are you into anime? Do you plan to buy action figures, otaku items, manga, or even Gundam kits? Then Akihabara is the best place for you! Tokyo’s Electric Town has evolved after so many years and has become one of the central points of Japan’s pop culture. Only in Akihabara will you see buildings after buildings almost dedicated to anime shops where you can buy your favorite anime hero collectibles at a very reasonable price.
Access: Akihabara Station, JR Yamanote Line
5. Yodobashi – If you are planning to upgrade your camera gear, buy accessories for your computer, or just want to splurge on gadgets and electronics in general, then make sure to drop by at Yodobashi in Shinjuku. Japan’s biggest electronics retailers can also be found like Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera, and other independent outlets. Don’t forget to flash your passport and Visa credit card for additional discounts.
Access: Shinjuku Station
6. Roppongi – It has two main shopping areas: Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. Like Ginza and Omotesando, they both offer designer brands to mid-tier affordable brands. Roppongi is also known for its nightlife so you might want to go club-hopping right after you’re done shopping.
Access: Roppongi Station
Helpful tips when shopping in Japan
1. You can shop tax-free – If you are a foreign passport-holder, you can shop tax-free. For the items to be tax-free, you have to purchase items worth at least 5,400 Yen, single receipt. Note that if you buy non-consumable (clothes, gadgets, etc.) and consumable items (cosmetics, skin care products, perfume, etc.) from one store, they would separate the items and you would have to accumulate 5,400 Yen for either commodity segment.
2. Shelf prices are tax-exclusive – In most stores, the prices you see on tags or shelves are already tax-free.
3. Tax deduction may not be automatic – In some establishments, you would need to reimburse the tax from dedicated Tax-Free counters where you need to present the goods you bought and the receipts, to claim tax reimbursement in cash.
4. Visa cardholder gets an additional discount – Some stores offer additional 5% discount if you pay using your Visa card. Don’t be afraid to ask if the store offers said perk.
5. Go for items on sale – Needless to say, red tags are almost always the best way to go. Be patient in scouring malls to look for items on sale and you can enjoy great savings for up to 70% off.