Japan could compete with any country for the title of the hottest shopping zone on earth. While the popularity of its anime and tech industries overshadows everything else, its shopping culture remains one of the most robust in the world.
You can’t run out of places to shop in Japan. Every train station is a market hub, and department stores can be found in almost every busy street. That said, some shopping neighborhoods stand out. You’ll want to visit these iconic areas before leaving the country.
Chances are, you’ll at least pass through one of these neighborhoods, whether you like it or not, but it’s best if you take your time to experience the thrill of Japanese shopping. We’ll be showing you the best places to shop in Japan and the right items to get in each.
Before you start, make luggage arrangements because you’ll be inundated with amazing products and deals. You should check your airline carry-on regulations to know what to keep out of your shopping list. If you’re bent on buying a particular item that isn’t permitted or won’t fit into your bag, there are other shipping options at your disposal.
Where should one go shopping in Japan?
Wherever you find yourself in Tokyo or Nagasaki, there are many shopping gems that you can discover. We’ll be going through these areas and guiding you on how to navigate them.
If you’ve been asking, “What are the best shopping areas in Tokyo?”, we have your answer. The country’s capital prefecture has enough shopping corners to service its more than 14 million residents. In fact, you’ll find some of Japan’s best shopping sites in the city.
Whether you’re hunting for fashion pieces, cutting-edge high-tech products, quality cosmetic items, or souvenirs, Tokyo has it all. Some market hubs are known for their specialized products, while others are diverse. In certain situations, you get to see contrasting market themes in the same environment.
Here’s a list of the best places to shop in Tokyo:
Ginza is Tokyo’s main center for luxury shopping. It is home to the city’s designer outlets and upmarket department stores. Most notable are the cutting-edge Dover Street Market Ginza, the affluent fashion mall Ginza Six, and the grand Mitsukoshi. However, Ginza isn’t exclusive to the rich. There are other moderate markets in the area, such as Itoya, Akoymeya, and Takumi, where you can get simpler items like stationery, arts and crafts, and gourmet food items.
Shinjuku is a bit chaotic. 3.6 million people use the train station each day, making it the busiest area in Tokyo. But you’ll find some great shopping choices in the middle of the bustle. The Don Quixote variety store is known to have “something for everyone”. Isetan is one of the most famous and respected department stores in the city. And if you’re a music lover, you can browse through classic second-hand CDs and vinyl records at Disk Union.
There’s a cluster of department stores at the east exit of the Shinjuku station. This is where you get to see fashion outlets like Forever 21 and H&M, as well as known tech malls, such as BIC Camera. The south and west exits are also packed with retail shops and spacious malls, with nice restaurants and huge electronics stores.
Shibuya is the place to be if you want to impress a hipster still in their teens or twenties. There, you’ll find cheap and eccentric clothing and trend junkies preening and posing, as well as music shops.
There are numerous places to lose yourself to shopping in the district, such as Shibuya 109, which is considered a fashion paradise. You can explore youth fashion and pick out the best apparel and accessories in the 10-story mall.
Shibuya Hikarie is another mall where you can get youth-oriented fashion products. It’s one of the new complexes in the area, with spectacularly themed floors and impressive boutiques. Homeware products are another major focus of the shopping center.
Shop for interior accessories, fancy goods, and art supplies at Tokyu Hands.
If you’re looking to get great deals on high-tech products, you don’t necessarily have to leave Shibuya, as there are mega electronics shops worth checking out in the district.
Akihabara abandoned its black-market status to become one of the largest electronic hubs in the world, following Japan’s economic miracle. While districts like Shibuya and Shinjuku have caught up with their own electronics centers, there’s something about Akihabara’s reputation that keeps it up there.
The district is also home to geeks (otaku) interested in J-Pop culture, manga, and anime. So, if you have an otaku back home, head to outlets like Jimbōchō and 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan to pick up some classics. Mandarake Complex is another huge arena that caters to this category.
The street leads to Sensoji, the oldest and most visited temple in Tokyo. It is the best place to go souvenir hunting in the city. The market, which has catered to travelers for close to 300 years, deals in traditional crafts, such as masks, good-luck items, packaged Japanese snacks, and other cheap souvenirs, like t-shirts.
There are numerous world-class shopping districts in Osaka. The city caters to hipsters, tech enthusiasts and regular shoppers. You’ll find the biggest designer outlets, discount chains and inexpensive thrift shops there.
Shinsaibashi-suji is a covered shopping arcade and one of the busiest market hubs in Osaka. It attracts every kind of shopper, thanks to its collection of independent boutiques, where you can get souvenirs, homeware, and other products; brand name shops, such as Prada, Gucci, and Channel; chain department stores, where you get to find great deals on electronics and high-tech products; and a variety of restaurants.
The gigantic shopping arena stretches back to Japanese Edo history and has been around for nearly 400 years. This means that you get to shop while exploring a historical site.
Most of the big department stores and retail chain outlets in Japan are headquartered in Umeda. The area is also where you get to see flagship stores that deal in fashion, electronics, and homeware. Popular names include Daimaru, Hankyu, Mitsukoshi-Isetan, and Hanshin.
In front of JR Osaka Station is LUCUA, the most famous mall among the locals. This is where you’ll find trendy products that entice youths in their 20s. There’s a connecting passage to Grand Front Osaka, a well-known mall that caters to families. Yodobashi Camera is the imposing 12-story appliance store next to Grand Front, where you can find the best deals on the latest home appliances and other tech products.
Other great areas in Umeda are Whity Osaka, an underground shopping venue where you can buy anything from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals; Hep Five, with its more than 150 fashion shops; and Herbis Plaza, which features international brands, from Tiffany’s to Gucci.
You can feel the atmosphere of Osaka’s merchant past while you explore the commercial bustle of present-day Tennoji. Newly built shopping malls and old specialty shops give you a perfect blend of history and urbanization. Whether you’re looking for fashion products or priceless antiques, your needs will be met in the Tennoji Station area. Shopping venues in the area include Abeno-Suji Street, Avetica Underground Mall, and Kintetsu Abeno Department Store.
Den Den Town
Den Den Town is the Akihabara of Osaka. It’s known for its electronics stores and otaku-focused products such as manga and anime. Just like in other Osaka districts, the locals have a tradition of negotiating for great deals. So, if you choose to buy there, test your bargaining skills.
This is an underground shopping arcade that can be easily accessed from the Namba Station. It houses more than 200 stores, including boutiques, souvenir shops, miscellaneous goods stores, and lots more. The shopping district also links up easily with the Shinsaibashi neighborhood.
With more than 100 shops and a relaxing ambience, Crysta Nagahori gives the feel of a top-notch neighborhood. That said, it maintains the benefits of its underground status. The shopping center runs through Yotsubashi Station, Shinsaibashi, and Nagahoribashi Station.
You can mix adventure and shopping in Tempozan Marketplace. The Lego Land amusement park, gigantic Ferris wheel, art gallery, and impressive aquarium complement the shopping stalls to make one of the best markets in Osaka for tourists. There are amazing souvenirs on display, as well as fashion and tech products.
Yokohama has many beautiful shopping spots without the bustle of cities like Tokyo. If you can, do well to visit this city to enjoy a different type of Japanese retail experience. There are shopping streets that take you back in time and those that help you truly relax.
Queen’s Square is one of those convenient shopping malls where you can get great deals on some unique products. Its position and setting also make it a must-visit if you ever find yourself in Yokohama. It’s located above the Minatomirai station and contains hundreds of department and retail stores where you can purchase just about anything. Head to Tokyo Square if you’re looking for big brands, such as Diesel, LEGO, Tommy Hilfiger, Swatch, Fred Perry, and L’Occitane, among others.
The leafy district is located on the hills of the Yamate Area. It features western architecture and shopping culture that matches it. Trendy clothes, food, homeware, and other western products made their way into Japan from the Motomachi port a century ago. Today, the five-block shopping street in the area remains a retail hotspot built on the back of robust import and export activities.
Yokohama World Porters
Yokohama World Porters is where you get to entertain yourself while shopping for top-of-the-line fashion products. The six-floor complex houses an AEON Cinema, a Hawaiian-themed food court, 200 fashion and interior accessory stores, and other amusement facilities.
The floors are separated by category, with the second and third floors dedicated to fashion stores. The food court is on the first floor, where you’ll find brands like McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks, and Cold Stone Creamery. Head to the fifth floor to get to the AEON Cinema. The fourth floor is reserved for interior accessories and miscellaneous products, and the sixth floor is for relaxation.
You can take a break and head to Yokohama World Cosmo, which is very close to the shopping center, and hop on a rollercoaster.
Marine & Walk Yokohama
This open-air mall gives you the opportunity to shop in a relaxed environment. It’s a welcome escape from the madness that is the likes of Tokyo and Osaka. It is stylishly designed and sits right next to the Minato Mirai waterfront. You’ll find high-end clothes stores, independent boutiques, and delightful eateries there.
Make the most of your visit to Yokohama by shopping at Landmark Plaza and visiting Japan’s second tallest building at the same time. The shopping center is meters away from the Nippon Maru ship. Seven levels of the Landmark Tower are dedicated to a galleria-style mall, and you’ll find GAP, H&M, Banana Republic and other glam international brands there.
Once you’re done shopping – or before you start – go to the observation deck on the 69th floor to marvel at the 360-degree panorama, which is no doubt the best view of Yokohama.
Fukuoka’s proximity to Shanghai and Seoul explains its status as an international shopping hub. For a city its size, it has a lot of shopping, dining, and tourism going on.
The following are the best places to enjoy shopping in the biggest settlement on the island of Kyushu.
Canal City Hakata
This elaborate facility features movie and stage theaters, an amusement park, a shopping mall, two hotels, and office spaces on its massive 43,500m2 area. You’ll find different stores selling jewelry, electronic goods, watches, folkcraft, and cosmetics. There are also high-end fashion stores and budget retail outlets. Names you’re familiar with include GAP, Zara, and H&M.
Some shops in the mall, such as LAOX, deal in tax-free products, and their staff can communicate with customers in 4 different languages. Note that in many cases, you have to spend more than 5,000 Japanese Yen and provide your international passport to enjoy tax exemption.
Other outlets include Sanrio, which sells character products, such as Hello Kitty; Donguiri Republic, where you can buy themed goods from the popular Studio Ghibli; and the official Kinnikuman Muscle Museum, which displays the famous Kinnikuman manga character.
Kawabata Shopping Street
There are 100 shops on the 400-meter-long Kawabata Shopping Street. This is where you get to become Japanese, as it’s packed with products that the locals take pride in. These products are listed below:
- Tonkotsu ramen
- Kawabata zenzai – rice cakes and sweet red bean soup
- Hakata kajuen ichigo ichigo – strawberry cookies
- Niwaka senbei crackers – crunchy biscuits
- Menbei – pickled cod roe
Tenjin Underground Mall
Tenjin is the commercial district of Fukuoka’s Hakata Ward. Its largest underground shopping area is about 1km long, and it consists of two 590m avenues that stretch from north to south. The mall houses 150 shops that deal in fashion, stationery, cosmetics, and different cuisines. You have access to the Tenjin-Minami and Nishitetsu subway stations, which means the shopping area’s accessibility is pretty great.
You can get the original kimono and other high-quality Japanese dress articles in Suzunoya, which has been around for 65 years. Itochu, which has been dealing in authentic kimono footwear for a century, offers handcrafted zori sandals at great prices.
For souvenirs, head to Karankoron Kyoto, where you’ll find unique goods that are sourced from the ancient capital. These goods include traditional Japanese wallets, beautiful bags, and other items with historic meaning.
Marinoa City Fukuoka
This is the biggest outlet mall on Kyushu. It has more than 170 shops and is just 30 minutes away from downtown Fukuoka if you’re driving. You’ll find different international brands there, such as UGG, MAX&Co, and COACH. There are big Japanese names too, including UNITED ARROWS, URBAN RESEARCH, and SHIPS. The mall’s symbol is a giant Ferris wheel, which is illuminated by 6000 lights every night.
You can find anything you want in Nagoya’s big department stores, malls, and flea and street markets. Nagoya Station is a great place to start. This is where the big names in Japan, such as Meitetsu and Takashimaya, are located. The station itself is built right above an underground shopping center, so you can wander down below for your retail therapy.
Other great shopping venues worth visiting in Nagoya include Osu Shopping Street, Mitsukoshi, Oasis 21, Parco, Tokyu Hands, and BIC Camera, among others.
If you’re headed to the history-rich city of Hiroshima, take note of the following shopping centers, where you can score amazing bargains:
This shopping mall has a direct connection to JR Hiroshima Station, which means you can get whatever you want on your way, especially if time isn’t on your side. There are 140 stores and fast-food outlets, many of which offer tax-free souvenirs. Popular products in the shopping center include Kumano, make-up brushes, and momiji manju.
Located in the city’s downtown area, Hondori Street is the biggest, busiest, and most famous shopping arcade. There are fashion products ranging from cheap to luxurious there, but other local products and general goods are also on sale.
This is a fashion center that features high-end products for men and women. You can get great deals on cosmetics and general goods as well. It is located in the city centre, which makes it easily accessible.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Where can one get souvenirs in Japan?”, you must have been thinking about Kyoto. While other cities have amazing souvenirs that speak to their heritage, the ancient capital stands out because of its rich history.
You can also purchase glamorous fashion products and impressive electronics in any of the many shopping malls.
Places to head to for amazing souvenirs include Aizen Kobo, which deals in traditional Japanese dolls; Kuraya Hashimoto, which sells decorative swords; Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu, where you can find handmade cotton bags; and Miyawaki Baisenan, which specializes in Japanese handheld folding fans, among others.
You no longer have to ask, “What are the greatest places to shop in Japan?” You can’t cover all the shopping options in the country in one visit, so pick out one or two shopping locations and make sure you make the most of your time. Don’t forget, you can always purchase items from these locations from the comfort of your home, with the help of a Japan based forwarder!