There is something so encompassing and so fascinating about Tokyo. Whether it be the food, history, high-tech culture or the incredibly kind locals, the Japanese capital is quite easily one of our favourite cities across the globe. Boasting an extensive array of experiences and views, past the neon lights and sea of crowds from 6pm on any given night, the districts of Shibuya, Ginza and Harajuku hide its own backstreets of unassuming restaurants – and more importantly, shopping areas.
Since the ’90s, Japan has become a hub for street cool style and the birth place of some of the most hyped brands across the fashion and art industry – Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo is proof of that. And while tourist destinations are a must during a trip to the metropolis, a quiet stroll off the main roads reveal an entirely new and read: trendy world. Even if you don’t plan on heading on a shopping spree, it’s an experience all on its own.
So if you’re heading to the land of the rising sun, add these five shopping destinations to your itinerary.
for streetwear: BAPE
Before the reign of Supreme, BAPE – also known as A Bathing Ape – was the OG in streetwear. Still holding its position in the realm of hyped fashion the Japanese-founded brand can be found all over the city of Tokyo. But if you’re looking for a BAPE destination ‘off the beaten track’, head to Udagawacho in Shibuya City and following the flashing lights. Boasting a slew of branded basics and limited collaborations expect one-off styles and pieces to add instant street cred to any look.
for luxe: dover street market
It’s as if you’ve stepped into a multi-storey museum; this should be a must for everyone. Fairly unassuming compared to the towering high rises in the luxury shopping district of Ginza, Dover Street Market would be easily missed if it were not for the large logo emblazoned on the window. Across several floors, art installations fuse with dedicated brand areas from Gucci to London Space and the founding designer Rei Kawakubo’s Comme Des Garçons. This is a must no matter what your budget is.
for the best of both worlds: opening ceremony
Another store hiding in the back streets of the tourist-heavy Shibuya, Opening Ceremony’s large presence online has been translated into a flagship store in the heart of the cool kids district. Amongst lanes of boutiques, Opening Ceremony boasts four floors of streetwear, niche brands and luxury threads across mens and womenswear. Additionally, it may have the most Instagramable staircase in the city.
for vintage: chicago omotesando
It is no secret that Tokyo is known for its epic selection of vintage stores – just don’t expect to pay anything less than a premium for the goods. Located in tiny basements and the top floors of random office buildings, the hunt for vintage threads takes you on a journey but if we suggest any one store, it’d be Chicago. Located on the blurred border of Shibuya and Harajuku, Omotesando is a tree-lined avenue and amongst the hustle and bustle of the line of shops is Chicago. Best known for its menswear, labels from the US, Japan and the UK create a unique offering of second-hand styles.
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for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.: LOFT Shibuya
I’d say I spent about an hour in this labyrinth. Whilst escaping the summer heat of Tokyo I found myself amongst the aisles and aisles of miscellaneous goods at LOFT Shibuya. A well-known department store, LOFT features several floors of everything from interesting souvenirs to home goods and even clothing. I’d describe it as the maximalist version of MUJI.