Japan’s capital is deservedly known as one of the world’s shopping meccas, offering numerous vibrant and trendsetting districts in which you can find everything from the high-end to the offbeat, from subculture favorites to traditional crafts and vintage wares. Beyond department stores, the city has countless shopping streets‚ arranging from posh boulevards packed with flagship stores to back alleyways focused on a particular niche such as sport or vintage clothing as well as some impressive malls. Read on for the low-down on Tokyo’s five most popular shopping neighborhoods.
Ginza is the ritziest and biggest upscale shopping district in Tokyo, home to the city’s posh boutiques and glamorous department stores, such as the classic Mitsukoshi and avant-garde Dover Street Market Ginza. On a global scale, it’s comparable with Oxford Street in London or Fifth Avenue in New York.
Shinjuku is probably Tokyo’s most crowded neighborhood, with the busiest train station in the world (serving more than three million people a day). Shopping here can also be a little overwhelming. But you don’t have to get lost in the streets, as Shinjuku station itself is one of the largest shopping complexes in Japan. It offers two underground malls and several large department stores such as the famous Lumine, which spans three different buildings that are all connected to the station.
Shibuya is Tokyo’s liveliest shopping neighborhood and the fountain of teen trendiness in Japan. Many of the department stores in this area target young female shoppers in their early 20s. One of these is the world famous Shibuya 109 (ichi maru kyu), a Japanese fashion institution that has been around since 1979.
Harajuku has a long history and is the center of Tokyo’s most extreme youth cultures and home to the famed Harajuku girls (and boys). East of Harajuku station lies Takeshita Dori, known throughout Japan and across the globe as a popular hangout for 13- to 15-year-olds. The street especially crowded during weekends is crammed with shops selling outrageous, inexpensive clothing, fancy accessories and souvenirs, as well as crepe stands and fast food outlets. After the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, fashion designers began to set up their offices and studios in this area and neighboring Omotesando.
Neighboring on Harajuku, Omotesando is Tokyo’s second largest upscale shopping neighborhood after Ginza. The beautiful Omotesando avenue has a distinctly European feel indeed, it is sometimes referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysée and is lined with Zelkova trees leading to the famous Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park. High-class domestic and international brands such as Hugo Boss, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela and many more are located along this impressive boulevard. This megacity also has plenty of traditional, alternative, hipster and niche areas to offer. So if you are more interested in exploring these more laid-back places, you should check out Shimokitazawa, Kichijoji, Koenji, Jiyugaoka, Daikanyama or Kagurazaka. Happy shopping!
Source: Savvy Tokyo