From cutting edge electronics to colorful anime goods, traditional crafts, trendy fashion and branded goods, Tokyo has a shop for practically anything one could ever want to buy - although not necessarily in your desired price range.
Tokyo's varied sightseeing districts double as shopping districts, many of them with their own character and specialties. The following is a general rundown of what to expect on the shopping scene of each district so you can familiarize and prepare yourself for a shopping spree in the big city.
Shinjuku - One of Tokyo's largest shopping and entertainment districts
Centered around Shinjuku Station, a major transportation hub and the busiest train station in the world, this district is home to half a dozen major department stores, including several flagship stores; as well as outlets of Japan's largest electronics retailers combined with a host of other shops and boutiques along its streets and underground shopping arcades.
Shibuya - Center of youth fashion
Shibuya is another large shopping district that is the birthplace of many of Japan's youth fashion trends. It is home to some well known, trend setting clothing stores such as Shibuya 109, as well as dozens of small fashion stores along its streets. Small boutiques, including high fashion and designer brands, continue to be found through to Aoyama and Daikanyama where the atmosphere is more subdued compared to the electric brightness of Shibuya.
Harajuku - High fashion vs youth trends and counter culture
Harajuku has a split personality with two parallel shopping streets that cater to very different shoppers. Omotesando, known as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees, is a tree-lined avenue with upscale boutiques, cafes and several leading designer brand shops. Takeshita Dori, on the other hand, is a center of youth fashion and counter culture found along a narrow street crammed with shops and cafes targeting the younger, teenage crowd.
Ginza - Tokyo's premier upmarket shopping district
Ginza features high-end department stores, boutiques and designer brand stores. Nearly every leading Japanese and international fashion brand has a presence here, as well as major electronics brands such as Sony and Apple. The shopping extends into the nearby Yurakucho area with more department stores, boutiques and electronic retailers.
Nihonbashi - Historic merchant district featuring traditional goods and local foods
The Nihonbashi district served the capital as one of the leading centers of trade and commerce during the Edo Period. It is the site of the flagship branch of Mitsukoshi, Japan's first department store and many smaller shops with centuries-long histories. Thanks to tasteful, recent redevelopment that built on the district's history, Nihonbashi will delight shoppers with an interest in traditional products and regional foods.
Marunouchi - Upscale shopping next to Tokyo Station
The Marunouchi district on the west side of Tokyo Station is a business district where many of largest companies have their headquarters. The lower floors of many of the office buildings along the central Nakadori avenue contain cafes, restaurants and an abundance of shops. Additional department stores and an underground mall can be found at nearby Tokyo Station.
Ikebukuro - Large department stores and electronics chains
Ikebukuro is another large shopping district centered around Ikebukuro Station, one of Japan's busiest train stations. Ikebukuro is a battleground between large department store groups including Sunshine City, Tokyo's first city within a city. Ikebukuro also competes with Akihabara as an electronics center with the presence of big electronics retailers.
Odaiba - Shopping malls on a man-made island
Odaiba is a popular shopping and entertainment district built on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. The island is a trendy date spot, and its Aquacity, Decks and Diver City shopping malls cater to this crowd by mixing shopping with entertainment.
Tokyo Solamachi - Shopping at the base of the Tokyo Skytree
Opened in 2012 at the base of the Tokyo Skytree, the Tokyo Solamachi is an exciting shopping and entertainment complex with over 300 shops and restaurants, including shops related to local Tokyo specialties and many unique souvenir shops.
Roppongi - Upscale shopping in the middle of the city
The Roppongi district had a facelift with the opening of the Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown complexes which brought in hundreds of new upscale shopping and dining choices. Most shops specialize in fashion, accessories, household goods and interior design.
Sugamo - The Old Ladies' Harajuku
The shops along Sugamo's popular 800 meter long Jizo Dori shopping street cater to an elderly clientele. The street is named after a beloved statue of the Jizo Bodhisattva that stands on the grounds of the local temple and is believed to have healing powers. The district is particularly lively on the 4th, 14th and 24th of every month when the temple holds a small festival.
In addition to the major shopping districts that carry a little of everything, Tokyo has several specialized shopping districts that focus on just one type of product such as electronics, books or Buddhist altars:
Akihabara - Electronics mecca and center of Otaku culture
Akihabara is home to many electronics retailers such as Yodobashi Camera, Yamada Denki, Laox and Sofmap as well as hundreds of small discount electronics shops that are jammed along the district's streets and back alleys. Akihabara is also the center of Japan's burgeoning otaku culture with dozens of shops devoted to anime, manga, collectibles and games.
Kappabashi - Restaurant supply and everything related to cooking (except food)
Kappabashi is a specialty district that caters to restaurants. Found around Tawaramachi Station on the Ginza Subway line, not far from Asakusa, the district's shops sell everything a restaurant needs (except for fresh food) including cookware, ceramic, earthenware, knives, furniture, and even the plastic and wax food samples found in restaurant displays.
Other specialized shopping districts found around Tokyo include Jimbocho, located north of the Imperial Palace, which is known for a high concentration of book publishers and book stores; and Ochanomizu (one stop from Akihabara Station on the JR Sobu Line) which is a haven for shoppers looking for musical instruments and sports equipment.
Popular souvenir items such as yukata, kokeshi dolls and woodblock prints may be difficult to find in shopping areas geared toward Japanese shoppers, although large department stores usually carry a variety of traditional Japanese goods, typically at high quality and price levels.
More variety and lower prices are offered by souvenir shops found in districts popular among foreign tourists, such as Asakusa, Akihabara and the Tokyo Skytree. Nakamise Dori, the shopping street along the approach to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa offers a particularly wide selection of souvenirs. Another favorite among tourists is the Oriental Bazaar in Harajuku.
Finally, 100 yen shops sell lots of everyday items that make popular souvenirs such as chopsticks, sake cups, stationery, home decorations and other items, at an affordable 100 yen per item (plus consumption tax). 100 yen shops can be found all over Tokyo.
Those interested in food markets should head to the Tsukiji Outer Market which continues to sell fresh seafood and produce in the lively stalls that pack the district's narrow lanes despite the fact that the adjacent wholesale market closed in 2018.
Flea markets specializing in second hand goods are also held throughout Tokyo at some temples, shrines and other public venues. They are usually held on Sundays, either every week or every other week, and usually have vendors selling second hand goods such as clothes, tools and antiques.
TOE LIBRARY Tokyo AsakusaLocated in Tokyo, near Honryuin Matsuchiyama Shoden, Great Tokyo Air Raid Memorial Monument and Honryuji Temple, TOE LIBRARY Tokyo Asakusa features free WiFi. Every unit features a private bathroom and bidet, air conditioning, a TV and a fridge. Some units include a dining area and/or a balcony. Popular points of interest near the apartment include Asakusa Fujiasama Shrine, Sanyabori Park and Imado Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 28 km from TOE LIBRARY Tokyo Asakusa.View on Booking.com
7 Rooms Hotel & CafeLocated in Tokyo, 700 metres from Subway Museum, 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe provides rooms with air conditioning and free WiFi. The property is situated 1.7 km from Shin Nagashima River Shinsui Park, 2.6 km from Former House of Udagawa Family and 2.6 km from Former House of Otsuka Family. The hotel features family rooms. All units in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. The private bathroom is equipped with a bidet, bathrobes and slippers. The rooms will provide guests with a fridge. A continental breakfast is available daily at 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Furukawa Shinsui Park, Gyosen Park and Ukita Park. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 27 km from 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe.View on Booking.com
Backpacker's Mini HouseConveniently situated in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo, Backpacker's Mini House is located 400 metres from Kanda Children's Park, 300 metres from Bellesalle Kanda and 600 metres from Nikkei Hall. The 2-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom and free WiFi. The property is close to popular attractions like Rengo Kaikan Hall, Wake no Kiyomaro Statue and Hitotsubashi Tokugawa Homestead Ruins. Popular points of interest near the hostel include Tokiwa Park, Kotoku Inari Shrine and Taira no Masakado's Grave. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 25 km from Backpacker's Mini House.View on Booking.com
The Barn TokyoWell situated in the Taito district of Tokyo, The Barn Tokyo is set 400 metres from Shikian, 400 metres from Calligraphy Museum and 500 metres from Nippori South Park. With a garden, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is close to popular attractions like Tokugawa Ietsuna's Mausoleum Gate Plaque, Chosho-ji Temple and Tokyo National Museum The Heiseikan. The units in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. At The Barn Tokyo all rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kanei-ji Temple, Kanei-ji Temple Kompon Chudo and Kemmyo-in Temple. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 28 km from The Barn Tokyo.View on Booking.com
Palace Hotel TokyoSituated right in the heart of Marunouchi business district, Palace Hotel Tokyo is 5-star luxury accommodation boasting 7 restaurants, a spa and a free-access fitness centre and indoor swimming pool. It is directly connected to Otemachi Subway Station and an 8-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station. Free WiFi is provided in the entire area. Offering elegant and chic ambience, each spacious room comes with a large LCD TV, a blu-ray/DVD player and a safety box. A fridge and an electric kettle are also provided. The en suite bathroom includes a small TV, a bath tub and toiletries. While staying at Tokyo Palace Hotel, guests can enjoy a workout at the fitness gym, or receive rejuvenating treatments at the on-site Evian Spa Tokyo. The concierge desk can arrange various services for guests including mobile phone rentals. Tablet rentals, copy and fax services are available for an extra charge upon request at the front desk or club lounge. Guests can enjoy authentic Japanese culinary experiences in Wadakura restaurant, Tatsumi tempura restaurant and Kanesaka sushi restaurant. Esterre offers exquisite French cuisine and the city views, while Grand Kitchen serves international dishes throughout the day. Located right next to the Imperial Palace, the hotel is a 10-minute walk from Ginza shopping area, and a 5-minute train ride from Akihabara electric town. Popular Tsukiji Fish Market can be reached within a 10-minute taxi ride. Airport limousine buses are available to/from Narita and Haneda airports at an extra charge.View on Booking.com
328 Hostel & LoungeLocated just a 5-minute train ride from Haneda Airport, 328 Hostel & Lounge offers cosy accommodation fitted with free WiFi and a shared kitchen. Anamori Inari Train Station is a 5-minute walk away. The hostel offers modern dormitory rooms with air conditioning. Shared bathrooms come with a hairdryer. Guests at the 328 Hostel can unwind at the common lounge, or prepare their own meals at the kitchen. The hotel is a 15-minute train ride from Shinagawa Train Station.View on Booking.com
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection HotelSituated a minutesüf walk away from Akasaka-Mitsuke Station of the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Marunouchi Line, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho boasts free WiFi throughout the entire property. There is a sake bar, a sushi restaurant and a teppanyaki restaurant on site, as well as a fitness centre and a 24-hour front desk. The hotel is directly linked to Nagatacho Station of the Nanboku Line. It is a 10-minute drive from Tokyo Station, and a 30-minute drive from Haneda Airport. Narita International Airport is a 100-minute drive away. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho features a spa and wellness centre and a sauna facility, and the front desk offers currency exchange. Laundry services are offered at an extra cost. All rooms are air-conditioned/heated and feature a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms come with a desk, minibar, electric kettle, a coffee machine, personal locker and a refrigerator. The en suite bathroom comes equipped with a bathtub and shower. Hairdryers, free toiletries, slippers and bathrobes provided. Guests can enjoy a variety of Japanese cuisine on site, and there are several restaurants within a 3-minute walk from Akasaka Mitsuke Station.View on Booking.com
Hotel K5Just a 5-minute walk from Nihombashi Station, Hotel K5 offers accommodation in a renovated historical building that is built in 1924. The hotel provides restaurants, cafes and room service. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. All rooms are air-conditioned and come with a seating area, desk, soundproofing and private bathroom. A record player with vinyl record collection is featured in each room. For guests' comfort, Hotel K5 provides a minibar, complimentary toiletries, slippers and pajamas. Some suites include a dining area, seating area and stand-alone bathtub. The 24-hour front desk offers concierge service and free luggage storage.View on Booking.com
Sakura Cross Hotel Tokyo KayabachoLocated in Tokyo, 300 metres from Zuiken Kawamura Former Residence Place Monument, Sakura Cross Hotel Tokyo Kayabacho provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property is around 600 metres from Bank of Japan Origin Place Monument, 700 metres from Takao Inari Shrine and 400 metres from Yasube Taketsune Horibe Monument. Each room is equipped with a balcony. At the hotel, each room includes a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. All units will provide guests with a fridge. Popular points of interest near Sakura Cross Hotel Tokyo Kayabacho include Shinkawa Historic Place Monument, War Disaster Memorial Service Monument and Oiwa Inari Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 22 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
SOLA HOTELLocated in Tokyo, near Kamejimashogakko Memorial Park, Kameido Tenjin Shrine and Umeyashiki Monument, SOLA HOTEL features free WiFi, and guests can enjoy a shared lounge and a terrace. Every unit features a private bathroom and hot tub, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a fridge. There is also a kitchen in some of the units equipped with a microwave, an oven, and a toaster. Popular points of interest near the aparthotel include Olinas Kinshicho Shopping Mall, Tobacco & Salt Museum and Tokyo Skytree. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda Airport, 26 km from SOLA HOTEL.View on Booking.com