The Harajuku district in Tokyo, Japan is well known for fast fashion tailored to an urban lifestyle. Walking the streets of Harajuku, you can see interesting tops, shoes, costumes, and much more. While the area is known as place for young adults, there are a number of shops and restaurants for older individuals. Harajuku is home to many boutiques and designers offering a variety of clothing and fashion accessories for all ages. One thing to keep in mind is that the shopping area is not just small, independent retailers. Multi-national brands such as Louis Vuitton, Lululemon, Gap, Nike, and Zara are also located in the area. Here are a few places that should be near the top of the list for anyone interested in fashion and urban culture.
The entrance to Takeshita Dori is very close to Harajuku Station. This street is home to many retailer shops that symbolize the essence of Harajuku. A great way to start exploring Harajuku is to walk through the Takeshita Dori corridor to get a feel of the vibe and fashion trends. Take a peek inside some of the interesting boutiques and grab a quick snack along the way.
Omotesando Hills is an upscale shopping center with multiple floors of shops and restaurants. While Takeshita Dori caters to a younger audience; you will find more shops here that cater to a slightly older crowd. The area around Omotesando Hills is also quite busy and a destination for many people.
The street close to Omotesando Hills lined with trees and expensive retail shops is called Omotesando Dori. This busy road is full of high-end name brand retailers you may recognize. The atmosphere around this street is a different feel from Takeshita Dori and also caters to a slightly older crowd. You should definitely try to catch an outdoor spot for a drink or afternoon snack to enjoy people watching and to soak in the beauty of Harajuku.
Discover Hidden Gem Clothing Stores
Around Takeshita Dori are many narrow side streets and maze-like alleys. This area is home to unique and vibrant boutiques that are off the normal radar for travelers. If you want to be adventurous and explore more of the Harajuku fashion scene, take some time to wander around the area.
There are many retail shops with interesting products and luxury goods scattered throughout Harajuku. From name brand retailers to flashy street wear, you can find a wide variety of goods. However, finding items that are not clothing or fashion oriented can be a bit more challenging. One great place to pick up inexpensive Japanese gifts is the large Daiso on Takeshita Dori. This Daiso is just down from the entrance near Harajuku Station and carries a large assortment items at affordable prices. It is definitely worth a stop when shopping for gifts to bring back for friends and family. Another place well-known for carrying more authentic Japanese souvenirs is the Oriental Bazaar. You can visit their website to see what kind of goods they sell along with their store hours.
While strolling through shopping districts in Japan, you may stumble across a pink lettered sign that reads Daiso. According to their corporate website, Daiso has over 2,600 locations in Japan. This chain of stores carry some of the most inexpensive Japanese items, stationary, toys, and other home products. While not a true dollar store, most items range from ¥100 to ¥300 ($1 to $3). Stores vary in size, but expect many categorized aisles with thousands of items.
Some great gift ideas carried at Daiso are sushi key chains, fun chopstick rests, and colorful fans. The overall quality of their goods are much better than a typical dollar store found in the United States. While you can find more detailed items elsewhere, the price is unreal. For example, Don Quijote (a popular chain store) sells sushi key chains and fans for ¥600 to ¥800 ($6 to $8). Daiso stores are located around the world as well. There may be a location near you If you are lucky enough to live in California, Washington, or Texas. Check out the Daiso store locator to see your closest location.
Where the pictured items were bought
Den Den Town, also known as Nipponbasi, is a shopping district in the Naniwa Ward of Osaka. It is about a ten minute walk south from the heart of Dontonbori. It is often referred to as a mini-Akihabara for the plethora of anime, manga, electronics, and other hobby shops. Swing by one of the area's maid cafes for a truly unique experience. If you are unable to visit Akihabara or a fan of Japanese entertainment, plan time to explore the area. Here are a few of the must-see shops around Den Den Town.
GEE!Store: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Daily
A great place to stop inside if you are a fan of anime merchandise or cosplay. They carry a wide variety of Cospa merchandise for the most popular anime series such as Dragon Ball Z, Neo Genesis Evangelion, One Piece, and more. Their large assortment of cosplay outfits are located in the rear of the store. It is hard to leave without buying a hat, t-shirt, key chain, or souvenir.
Joshin Super Kids Land: HQ: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Daily
Joshin is best known for their massive selection of Gundam models and figurines. They also carry model trains and kids toys among other hobby related items. If you are a fan of the Gundam series, Joshin should be on your list of places to visit.
Super Potato: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Daily
A collector's paradise for retro games, Super Potato is one of the most famous video game stores in Japan. They have multiple locations in Osaka. The amount of retro systems, games, and selection is amazing. They also sell video game related merchandise and accessories. Be sure to take a photo next to Mario and Solid Snake out front.
Yellow Submarine Namba 3 Shop: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Daily
This is the place to go if you are interested in collectible trading card games. They carry an extensive collection of singles and sealed product for Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, and other Japanese collectible trading card games. Head to the top floor for an impressive selection of Magic: The Gathering singles and rare booster packs.
Animate: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Daily
This is the definitive place for anime fans to visit in Osaka. The shop has multiple floors of movies, manga, soundtracks, anime, video games, and plenty of related merchandise. You can easily spend a few hours just browsing everything they have to offer. Bring some loose coins to spend on gacha machines located outside and on each floor.
Japan's modern fashion and electronics are well-known. Travel to Tokyo or Osaka and you will find more high-end shops than you could ever want to visit. A great way to one-stop shop for clothes and other goods is to visit one of the premier Japanese department stores.
General and Specialized Department Stores:
Not all department stores are created equal. Yodobashi Camera is well known for its multiple floors of electronics. Shibuya 109 is very popular for teenage woman's fashion containing floors of boutiques. There is a separate store for men nearby called 109Men's. If you are interested in home goods, Tokyu Hands has it all. For those looking for a little bit of everything, Tokyu's main chain of stores are great options.
Floors, Floors, and More Floors
Some of the larger department stores have over ten floors of shopping including restaurants. It is a good idea to look at a map by the stairs or elevator and scout which floors you want to visit. Each floor usually represents a different type of customer such as teen fashion, accessories, men's sportswear, children's apparel, etc. Top or bottom floors tend to have restaurants and shops selling various food products.
A benefit to shopping in department stores is the easiness to declare duty free or tax free purchases. Take your purchases to a designated counter for reimbursement and special packing. The minimum purchase for a single transaction must be over ¥5,000 (about $50). For more specific information, there is a great duty-free explanation at the Official Kyoto City Travel Guide website.
Some of the best and reasonably priced restaurants are found at department stores and shopping centers. It is one of the best kept secrets that many tourists never learn. You can find multiple types of cuisine and styles of dining. Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten Shibuya is regarded as the best reasonably priced sushi in Shibuya, Tokyo. This restaurant is located on the fourth floor of the Tokyo Mark City East building. Finding it can be tricky, but well worth the effort. They have a takeout window if you cannot wait long for a table.
The location for Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten Shibuya