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 companies' 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
Around Shibuya Station 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, art galleries and designer brand stores. Nearly every leading Japanese and international brand name fashion and cosmetics company 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 Japan's largest companies have their headquarters. The lower floors of several 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, Japan's third busiest train station. 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 big electronics retailers aggressively expanding in the area.
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 May 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 along Omotesando 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, including one on Takeshita Dori in Harajuku.
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 autumn 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.
HISAYO'S INNSet in the Ota Ward district in Tokyo, 5 km from Tokyo International Airport Terminal No2 Observation Deck, HISAYO'S INN features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. Each room has air conditioning and a safety deposit box. A shared kitchen comes with a refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, toaster and electric kettle. Bathrooms are shared and include free toiletries, towels, hairdryer, mouthwash and toothpaste. You will find a washing machine, tumble dryer and electrical adapter. Guests can try Japanese traditional haori jacket and have their photos taken free of charge. Rental bikes are available, and the staff can assist guests try on a yukata robe for female at a fee. Free luggage storage service is offered. Bike hire is available at this guest house and the area is popular for cycling. Oedo Onsen Monogatari is 8 km from HISAYO'S INN, while Fuji TV Odaiba is 9 km from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 3 km from HISAYO'S INN.View on Booking.com
TOE LIBRARY Tokyo AsakusaLocated 100 metres from Honryuin Matsuchiyama Shoden in Tokyo, TOE LIBRARY Tokyo Asakusa provides accommodation with air conditioning and free WiFi. A flat-screen TV with Blu-ray player, private bathroom with slippers, and a kitchenette with fridge are provided in certain units. Popular points of interest near the apartment include Sanyabori Park, Chokoin Temple and Honryuji Temple. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 18 km from TOE LIBRARY Tokyo Asakusa.View on Booking.com
7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe features air-conditioned rooms with TV in the Edogawa district of Tokyo. Located around 500 metres from Subway Museum, the hotel with free WiFi is also 1 km away from Furukawa Shinsui Park. 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. The accommodation provides an ironing service, as well as business facilities like fax and photocopying. Popular points of interest near 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe include Gyosen Park, Ukita Park and Shin Nagashima River Shinsui Park. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 15 km from the hotel.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 500 metres from Oiwa Inari Shrine, 600 metres from Bank of Japan Origin Place Monument and 700 metres from Takao Inari Shrine. 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, Sailor Education Origin Place Monument and War Disaster Memorial Service Monument. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 27 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. Accommodation is fitted with air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with hot tub, slippers and a hairdryer. Some units include a seating area and/or a balcony. Popular points of interest near the aparthotel include Olinas Kinshicho Shopping Mall, Tobacco & Salt Museum and Gokinimono Museum. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 30 km from SOLA HOTEL.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
The Barn TokyoWell situated in the Taito district of Tokyo, The Barn Tokyo is set 300 metres from Shikian, 300 metres from Calligraphy Museum and 400 metres from Tokugawa Tsunayoshi Mausoleum Imperial Scroll Gate. 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 Kanei-ji Temple, Chosho-ji Temple and Kemmyo-in Temple. 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 Nippori South Park, Tokugawa Ietsuna's Mausoleum Gate Plaque and Kuroda Memorial Hall. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 19 km from The Barn Tokyo.View on Booking.com
The Capitol Hotel TokyuDesigned by Kengo Kuma, Capitol Hotel Tokyu boasts 3 restaurants, a 14th-floor indoor pool and direct access to 4 subway lines. Rooms are spacious for Tokyo and have city views. Free WiFi is available in the entire building and paid private parking is available on site. Rooms at Tokyu Capitol Hotel offer a softly lit blend of the old and new, with paper screens and a large flat-screen TV. A minibar and a large private bathroom with a bathtub are included. Free toiletries, slippers and a hairdryer are provided. Guests can look out over Tokyo as they work out at the fitness centre or relax in the hot tub. Carju Rajah TIADO Spa offers massages and the hotel includes a beauty salon, photo studio and other shops. The business centre on the 3rd floor features a computer and photocopying services for guests' convenience. Guests are also provided with a handy Smartphone. Star Hill Chinese Restaurant serve lunch and dinner in stylish modern settings. Suiren offers various Japanese dishes including teppanyaki, sushi and kaiseki multi-courses. Asian and Western cuisines are available all day at Origami. The Capitol Bar offers mood lighting, natural wood and elegantly served cocktails. The hotel has direct access to the Tameike-sanno and Kokkai-gijido-mae subway stations, which offer direct links to the Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ginza areas. The Imperial Palace is a 5-minute drive, while Roppongi Hills is a 10-minute drive away.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
Backpacker's Mini HouseConveniently situated in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo, Backpacker's Mini House is located 500 metres from Kanda Children's Park, 600 metres from Bellesalle Kanda and 600 metres from Tokyo Sankei Building Metro Square. The 2-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom and free WiFi. The property is close to popular attractions like Taira no Masakado's Grave, Wake no Kiyomaro Statue and Goto Inari Shrine. Popular points of interest near the hostel include Otemachi Building Shops & REstaurants, Tokiwa Park and Kotoku Inari Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 28 km from Backpacker's Mini House.View on Booking.com