Shops are open from 10:00 am to 08:00 pm (including Sundays and National Holidays). Some department stores are closed on Wednesdays.
“100 Yen” Shops
Dotted around train stations and in some shopping areas you can find 100 yen shops. They are similar to $1 shops found in some other countries. In 100 yen shops, you can find chopsticks, tableware, fans, kites, origami paper, calligraphy sets, “Hello Kitty” and much, much more! A great place for buying cheap souvenirs.
Nakamise Shopping Arcade
The Nakamise Shopping Arcade is lined with stalls selling traditional souvenirs. It’s situated in front of Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple (TOEI Asakusa Subway Line and Ginza Subway Line). The prices are generally fairly reasonable.
In Kappabashi Dori (the restaurant wholesale district) you can buy anything from chopsticks and paper lanterns to plastic plates of sushi (as displayed outside Japanese restaurants). There’s also pottery and lacquer ware. Kappabashi Dori is close to Asakusa (TOEI Asakusa Subway Line and Ginza Subway Line). A map is available from the Asakusa tourist information office.
Although not necessarily the most original Japanese souvenir shop, Oriental Bazaar will satisfy all the gift buying needs for your friends and family back home. Complete with plastic samurai swords and cotton yukatas, fans, pottery – all at reasonable prices. Open until 7 pm and closed on Thursdays. Located about halfway between Omotesando and Harajuku station on Omotesando Dori (street).
Audio, Computer, Electronic and Photographic Goods
Akihabara (Hibiya Subway Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Sobu Line, JR Keihin Tohoku Line).
Electronics in Akihabara
For general items try Laox or Ishimaru. For computers go to T-zone (further along Chuo Dori in the direction of Ueno). These stores have English speaking staff and a wide range of international goods.
Shinjuku – West Exit of the Station
Many shops selling electronic equipment (including the head branch of Yodobashi Camera) are situated on the west side of Shinjuku Station.
NB. Check before you buy! Many products are designed for the domestic market only. To confirm the voltage and system requirements for your home country go to “The World Electric Power Guide” http://kropla.com/electric.htm.
Jimbocho (Hanzomon Subway Line, TOEI Mita Line, TOEI Shinjuku Line)
Jimbocho is Tokyo’s bookshop district. You’ll find English titles in Sanseido (5F), Tuttle (2F) and Issei Do (second hand).
Kinokuniya, one of Tokyo’s largest bookshops, is next to the Times Square Shopping Centre (south side of Shinjuku Station). There’s also a smaller branch on the east side of the station. The main store has a whole floor of English books.
Casual Clothes and Accessories
For reasonably priced, fashionable clothing try Harajuku, Shibuya or Shinjuku (all JR Yamanote Line). Shimokitazawa and Kichijoji are also good alternatives. These are on the Keio Inokashira Line. (Take the train from Shibuya Station).
Expensive Clothes and Super Expensive Accessories
If money’s no object there are plenty of designer boutiques in Omotesando (Chiyoda Subway Line, Ginza Subway Line, Hanzomon Subway Line) and Aoyama (Ginza Subway Line, Hanzomon Subway Line).
Craft and Hobby Shops
Tokyu Hands sells just about everything. There are branches in Shibuya, Shinjuku (inside the Times Square Shopping Centre) and Ikebukero. (All JR Yamanote Line).
Supermarkets are few and far between in central Tokyo but most department stores have basement food halls. To find a typical supermarket you need to head out to one of the suburbs such as Chofu or Fuchu on the Keio Line (take the train from Shinjuku Station).
You’ll find the Body Shop in most major districts and also branches of “Boots” in Harajuku (JR Yamanote Line), Ginza (Ginza Subway Line, Hibiya Subway Line and Marunouchi Subway Line) and Kichijoji (Keio Inokashira Line). Also look out for cut-price drug stores such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi.
Meida Dori Avenue in Ochanomizu (JR Chuo Line) is famous for musical instrument shops. The Yamaha music store in Ginza sells almost every musical instrument available and they also have live performances in their store.
Yasukuni Dori in Ochanomizu (JR Chuo Line) has a high concentration of sports shops. Many belong to the Victoria Sports chain.
There’s no shortage of department stores in central Tokyo. The best shopping locations are Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukero (JR Yamanote Line), Ginza and Nihombashi (Ginza Subway Line).
The Major Department Stores
Isetan prices are mid to high; one of the biggest branches is on the east side of Shinjuku Station. There’s a food hall in the basement.
Established in the 1930′s, the flagship Mitsukoshi store is in Nihombashi (Ginza Subway Line). Two lions (modeled after the lions in Trafalgar’s Square, London) guard the front entrance and once inside, another statue – Magokoro, the Goddess of Sincerity – reaches from floor to ceiling. There’s also a 1930′s Wurlitzer pipe organ and a theater!
You’ll find a big branch of Odakyu on the west Side of Shinjuku Station – it’s owned by the Odakyu Railway Company. Prices are mid to high
Seibu, Tokyu and Keio
These department stores are owned by railway companies. In Shibuya there are two branches of Tokyu, Keio is situated on the west side of Shinjuku Station while Seibu in Ikebukero is one of the largest department stores in the world (telephone 03 3981 0111). Prices are reasonable.
Parco is a “bazaar style” department store. You’ll find a big branch in Shibuya.
“0I0I” (pronounced “Marui”)
0I0I is in most major districts. As a clothes and accessory shop it has a tendency to be faddish and a little over-priced – some of the smaller shops in Shibuya or Harajuku may have the same things cheaper.