From high end to bargain basement, shopping in Japan has what you're looking for
From luxury designer brands such as Coach and Louis Vuitton to small, privately-owned antique shops, you can cover the entire range of shopping in Japan. Don't miss out on anything in your search, from bargain bins to bespoke.
Found throughout Japan, selling products from food to clothing to jewelry, the major department stores include Mitsukoshi, Matsuzakaya, Sogo, Takashimaya, Isetan and Matsuya. Matsuzakaya and Mitsukoshi were both founded nearly 400 years ago as kimono fabrics dealers. Newer chains such as Tokyu, Odakyu and Keio were established by the railway companies, and are found near or attached to major stations. Try working your way up, from the basement food level to the many retail shops, to the restaurants, many of which have great views on the top floors.
These complexes can be found throughout the major cities, either in old buildings that have been newly re-purposed or connected to high-rise buildings. Inside you may find hotels, movie and stage theaters, and luxury condos coupled with excellent shops. These include popular restaurants and bars, well-known clothing stores, and independent, trendy ventures. Roppongi's Tokyo Midtown is a great example of one such complex and is the tallest building in Tokyo, home of the Ritz-Carlton and Suntory Museum of Art.
Major buildings such as 109 and Marui in Tokyo and E-ma and HEP in Osaka are packed with smaller, boutique clothing and cosmetic shops. Largely catering to women, there are some shops for men too, as well as many restaurants. They also often have entertainment options such as movie theaters or live-music stages, or different themes such as the European village inspired Venus Fort in Odaiba .
If you're looking to enjoy a bit more leisurely shopping experience, an outlet mall may be just right for you. Over 30 are found around Japan, often outside of the bustling city centers but still conveniently close to public transit. Have fun and relax while shopping with wider paths and more space, with a variety of branded goods and unique food options often at more reasonable prices than in the city center.
Big and small shops abound in the most populous metro area in the world. Ginza boasts the most expensive real estate, and therefore many of the most famous brands have flagship stores here. Akihabara is the place to go for electronics, Nakano Broadway for anime goods, Omotesando for trendy high-end clothes, Harajuku for younger women, and of course, Shinjuku and Shibuya have a bit of everything you could possibly want.
The ancient heart of Japan has both modern and classic Japanese goods available for purchase. Head to Shijo Street to find the aforementioned Takashimaya and Marui department stores, alongside many smaller shops to browse. Nishiki Market has all your food needs covered, with over a hundred shops selling fresh foods and everything you need to cook anything. Or if you're in the mood to hunt for a bargain, head to the Kobo-ichi Market on the 21st of each month and browse through over a thousand shops selling everything from kimono to antiques.
The biggest Aeon shopping mall in Japan can be found in front of the Nagoya Dome. If you're looking for a smaller shop experience, head to Osu Street and check out the numerous small shops and food stalls. For the international brand consumer, take a look at the Sakae area and you'll find yourself lost amongst the stars, with many shops such as Gucci, Chanel and Dior.
The mercantile heart of Japan offers a variety of shopping experiences. Grand Front Osaka, opened in 2013, features a massive 44,000 square meters of shopping space split among three buildings. It's easily accessible from Osaka Station . You can even stay at Osaka Station and enjoy shopping in Station City. The Dotonbori district is a great place to go to browse and eat-til-you-drop in true Osaka spirit. Or head to the Shinsaibashi area, which dates back to the 18th century. It features a wide range of both new and old shops. Nearby there's Amerikamura, the heart of youthful fashions and trends.