What Makes the Shopping Experience in Tokyo So Unique?

Discover what makes shopping in Tokyo so unique and start mapping out your shopping spree today.
What Makes the Shopping Experience in Tokyo So Unique?

Experiencing the sights and sounds of Tokyo’s best shopping districts never gets old. You can easily spend days wandering these heaving destinations, letting yourself become immersed in the endless variety of sprawling department stores, high-end fashion boutiques, vintage upsellers, and traditional gift shops.

Whether you plan to dive into the anime shops of Akihabara or the latest fashion trends of Cat Street on your way from Harajuku to Shibuya, expect to be heading back to your accommodation with more than a shopping bag or two. 

Although many of Tokyo’s must-see shopping districts are within walking distance of each other, you can always jump on the convenient subway system to save time. Plus, there’s no shortage of great restaurants and cafes to refuel when you need a well-earned break.

With world-class shopping districts found across Tokyo, set aside space within your itinerary to explore this fascinating metropolis. These dynamic shopping districts ensure you head home with plenty of gifts alongside an unforgettable experience.

Explore the upscale brands and boutiques of Ginza and Nihonbashi

Explore the upscale brands and boutiques of Ginza and Nihonbashi

Shoppers who admire luxury brands will feel right at home in the upmarket neighborhoods of Ginza and Nihonbashi. Situated close to the center of Tokyo, these adjacent commercial shopping districts bustle throughout the day and night as crowds explore the diverse collection of glamorous department stores and world-renowned retail giants.

Opened in 1904 as Tokyo’s first department store, Mitsukoshi is where you’ll find a wealth of prestigious high-end brands that attract both locals and travelers alike. Step inside the 18th-century European-inspired facade to find several floors of dazzling fashion, cosmetics, jewelry, and even an art gallery. There’s also a duty-free counter and English-speaking concierge service for your convenience.

Ginza Six’s spectacular interior architecture and public art only heighten the lavish brands on offer. As the district's largest commercial space, design buffs will appreciate brands like Dior and Fendi, as well as acclaimed local labels like Gyokusendo. A two-minute walk away, Tokyo Kyukyodo is another long-standing store. Opened in 1880, there's a huge range of gifts to explore, including Japanese-style incense, calligraphy supplies, and paper products.

Lovers of the kawaii pop culture won't want to miss Sanrioworld GINZA. This area features the world’s biggest selection of Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll, and Pompompurin products—choose an adorable souvenir to give to someone special. To explore Ginza and Nihonbashi from Narita International Airport, take the Keisei Skyliner service to Ueno Station. Transfer to the Ginza or Hibiya Line and get off at Ginza Station.

Discover street fashion and anime stores in Harajuku, Omotesandō, and Akihabara

Discover street fashion and anime stores in Harajuku, Omotesandō, and Akihabara

Finding out what makes youth culture tick in Japan is a thrilling experience when you wander down the vivid alleyways of Harajuku. With this pocket of Tokyo renowned for its street fashion, which combines punk and pop-culture cosplay aesthetics with traditional accents and unlimited cute things, every corner has an eclectic outfit to admire. Head to local landmarks like Boutique Takenoko and the Laforet Harajuku department store for great shopping and a little people-watching.

In the neighboring district of Omotesandō, the leafy streets are lined with premium fashion stores, striking architecture, and a thriving coffee scene. As you roam this trendy area, keep your eyes peeled for modern landmarks like The Iceberg and the Prada Building. Then, dive into the backstreets to find a myriad of charming boutiques and vintage stores. There are also four jam-packed stories of toys at Kiddy Land, while the Omotesando Hills shopping mall offers a host of international fashion labels.

Akihabara is another must-visit neighborhood for those who love anime, manga, video games, and electronics. If you want to find the latest in computer, camera, and smartphone technology, hugely popular chain stores like Sofmap and Laox stock thousands of innovative gizmos that you probably won’t find overseas. Anime fans must spend a few hours exploring the manga and rare collectibles at Mandarake and Radio Kaikan. Meanwhile, retro gamers will find the rare memorabilia at Super Potato and BEEP mind-boggling. 

Exploring this part of Tokyo is simple from Narita International Airport. Take the Keisei Skyliner service to Nippori Station. Then, change to the Yamanote Line to reach stations for Harajuku and Akihabara. Alternatively, head to Omotesandō Station by changing to the Ginza Line at Ueno Station.

Indulge in a Shibuya shopping spree

Indulge in a Shibuya shopping spree

If you know a thing or two about Japan, you’ve almost certainly heard of the Shibuya crossing. As one of the world's most iconic intersections, there’s a lot of fun to be had simply joining the massive crowds of pedestrians racing across the street. However, this famous destination is also surrounded by numerous department stores primed for an enviable shopping spree.

Close to Shibuya Station, travelers will find towering havens like Shibuya 109 and PARCO teeming with people on the hunt for top-notch brands and the latest fashion trends. With several stores offering tax-free benefits for international visitors, finding a bargain is easy as you make your way from one floor to the next. Just around the corner, Loft is a popular spot for those who love quirky stationery and household items.

As one of the newest and most exciting developments in the area, Scramble Square is a mixed-use skyscraper soaring above Shibuya Station. Opened in 2019, there are 213 shops and restaurants offering every delight imaginable. This is also a great place to experience Tokyo’s stunning skyline, as the stylish "Shibuya Sky" observation deck presents unobstructed panoramic views of the virtually limitless cityscape.

A short walk away, there are several discount stores with duty-free shopping, including Bic Camera and MEGA Don Quijote. Here, you’ll find almost everything from food and cosmetics to toys and luxury goods. Alongside Shibuya Station’s underground Tokyu Department Store, this bustling neighborhood is perfect for those who only have a short time in the city. 

To place yourself amongst the action from Narita International Airport, catch the Keisei Skyliner service to Nippori Station. Then, change to the Yamanote Line to reach Shibuya Station.

Shop traditional goods along Asakusa’s Nakamise Street

Shop traditional goods along Asakusa’s Nakamise Street

Countless people around the globe travel to Japan to experience the storied ancient culture that resonates throughout the entire country. In Tokyo, one of the best places to purchase traditional goods is along Nakamise Street in Asakusa. 

Situated on the grounds of Sensoji Temple, an ancient Buddhist landmark dating from 645AD, this shopping street is punctuated at either end by two grand monuments – the Kaminarimon Gate and the Hozomon Gate. Stretching for over 250 meters, Nakamise Street features 89 shops on display, selling everything from kimonos to Japanese-style confectionaries.

With the history of Nakamise Street traced to between 1688 and 1735, it’s believed that locals who helped guests visiting Sensoji Temple were allowed to open their own shops on the path leading to the temple. Today, it’s a bustling tourist destination, where tasty street food stalls are positioned alongside traditional crafts like lanterns, fans, and toys. 

With many of these shops owned by families who have operated here for generations, Nakamise Street makes for a fascinating stroll on your way into the impressive Sensoji Temple. Located only a short few-minute walk from Asakusa Station, taking the Keisei Narita Skyaccess railway from Narita International Airport ensures you arrive swiftly. You can also ride the Keisei Skyliner service to Ueno Station and change to the Ginza Line to reach Asakusa Station.

Don’t overlook department store food bazaars

Don’t overlook department store food bazaars

Almost every department store in Japan comes complete with an underground food hall. Whether you’ve tired yourself out from shopping all day or are simply looking for a comprehensive selection of culinary pleasures, the basement levels of Tokyo’s dynamic department stores present a fantastic dining opportunity. 

With the average food hall filled with dozens of stores offering seemingly every flavor imaginable, much of this food is designed to be consumed on the go. There are delicious bento boxes and ready-made meals to replenish yourself for the rest of your itinerary, making these food halls the perfect stop during a busy day of sightseeing.

While these department store food courts are often busy throughout the day, keep in mind that they get even more packed when nighttime arrives. As many items go on sale and people are keen to grab a great deal, keep your wits about you as you seek out a selection of tasty treats.

Plan your unforgettable journey with Japan Airlines

Tokyo is undoubtedly one of the top shopping destinations anywhere in the world. Whether you’re arriving in the city to explore the best of upmarket retailers or want to experience the birthplace of anime, you won’t have a problem scratching any shopping itch. 

With Japan Airlines helping travelers enjoy an unforgettable trip to Tokyo, find out how the Japan Explorer Pass will ensure you see more of this stunning country and its culture for an unbeatable price. This special type of fare can be used across more than 30 cities in JAL’s domestic network.

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