Tokyo shopping guide: discover the best Japanese clothing brands

While every city has its distinct features, none can match the flamboyant characteristics of Tokyo. Japan’s eccentric capital has a unique blend of culture, fashion, and tech all meeting in a futuristic setting, making it one of the most outstanding capitals in the world. When you travel to Tokyo, you don’t just feel like you’re in a different country. It almost feels like you’re on a whole new world full of novel things to discover. For a nation with deep cultural roots and rich history, it’s fantastic to see individuality being embraced and bursting through the seams – so much so that it inspires people worldwide. Unique Japanese street style and fashion are highly celebrated in Tokyo, and the traditional elements are skilfully woven together with modern-day features. While fashion choices here can sometimes seem over the top, they are never sloppy. Expect attention to detail and fine tailoring even for plain everyday clothing. Shopping in Tokyo can be a real treat – global trends meet Japanese flair as well as clothing and lifestyle brands you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Take a look at some of the best shopping destinations in Tokyo and Japanese brands you will not want to miss!

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Shibuya, Tokyo | Photo: Jezael Melgoza

Shopping districts in Tokyo

First thing’s first – let’s get to know the shopping districts in Tokyo. Some are probably more well-known than others, but each stands out with one thing or another.

Ginza is centrally-located and home to upmarket world-famous brands, expensive real estate, and sophisticated showrooms. Expect premium quality and with that – premium prices. If you’ve never heard of Ginza, you’ll instantly know it by sight. The famous Ginza Crossing is often featured in media and pictures depicting Tokyo. Some great places for shopping include Ginza Six, Uniqlo’s flagship store, Ginza Wako, Ginza Itoya, but you can also find luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, and other high fashion Japanese brands here.

Then there’s Shinjuku – home to the world’s busiest train station and numerous shops, boutiques, and restaurants. It can be disorienting at first, but once you’re adjusted, you’ll find it is a one-stop-shop for a day of shopping in Tokyo. Connected to the train station is the Lumine department store, and you don’t have to go wandering far to also find Don Quijote Kabukicho, Takashimaya, and Isetan Shinjuku Store.

One of the most fresh-faced districts in Tokyo is Shibuya – a true epicentre of cheerful fashion, trendy clothes, and youthful Japanese style. Here you’ll find not only fast fashion stores but also high-end department stores featuring popular Japanese fashion brands. Even if you visit only for the experience and don’t end up buying anything, it’s worth visiting Shibuya Nonbei Yokocho at the end of the day. Filled with small izakaya bars (a place for casual after-work drinks and food, similar to pubs or tapas bars in Europe) and restaurants, the lantern-filled alleyway is a great place for a bite to eat after a day of shopping and exploring.

Ginza | Photo: Stanislav Margolin

Photo: Tom Rumble

Remember Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku girls in “Hollaback Girl”? Many then wondered – what is a Harajuku girl? The name was a reference to the district in Tokyo that goes by Harajuku, and the fashions there are no less colourful than those of Stefani’s backup dancers. The shopping experience in Harajuku promises to keep you looking everywhere as the fashion spectrum is crazy diverse – from luxury brands and global trends to exaggerated costume stores, punk-inspired outfits, and anything that Japanese teens are into at the time. Don’t be afraid to wander down smaller streets to come across boutiques, streetwear brand shops, and cafes, and you’re also guaranteed to find cute souvenirs to bring back home.

For upscale shopping and premium quality you’d see in Paris fashion week, head to Aoyama, which can be considered a luxurious entry point to shopping in Tokyo. Names like Prada reside alongside Japanese designers like Issey Miyake and Comme des Garcons – they all have epic stores in Aoyama, which are worth checking out even if you’re not planning to shop there. The architecture and interiors are noteworthy and shop windows – enticing. Plan a day of the visit when you’re also visiting Harajuku as both districts are close to one another.

Akihabara, also known as Akiba, is the epicentre of anime and anything electronics, vintage, video games, and tech. It is popular among tourists but for a good reason – if you’re after anything unique or enjoy anime or manga, this is the place you’ll want to visit. A great place to start exploring from is Akihabara Radio Kaikan, which is full of the so-called otaku shops.

Pro tip: in Tokyo, most department stores offer tax-free shopping for visitors from abroad. Make sure to bring a passport with you!

Photo: Jezael Melgoza

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When talking about culture in Japan, you don’t have to wait for long before the word “kimono” comes up. Interestingly, the literal meaning is “thing to wear”

1. Y. & Sons

When talking about culture in Japan, you don’t have to wait for long before the word “kimono” comes up. Interestingly, the literal meaning is “thing to wear”. But when westerners talk about kimonos, they mostly think about womenswear and the colourful kimonos that geishas wear. Japanese clothing brand Y. & Sons is a contemporary menswear label that takes the traditional kimono to modern times. As an atelier, the brand focuses on exceptional tailoring and bespoke approach to each garment. If you decide to be fitted for a kimono here, know that it’s an investment piece you’ll cherish for years to come. In their Akihabara boutique you can also pick out sophisticated accessories like hats, bags, shoes, umbrellas etc.

Y&SONS Tokyo

Photo: Y & Sons

2. Porter Omotesando

Porter Omotesando is the flagship store of the renowned Japanese brand Porter under Yoshida & Co., Ltd. For nearly 90 years, the company has been making exceptional quality leather bags, luggage, and other accessories. Their products exude timeless elegance thanks to the high-quality materials used and expert craftsmanship. While you can expect classic designs, as a Japanese brand they are skilfully incorporating some unconventional elements, too. This is a brand that often creates collaborations, and if you visit their flagship store, you’re guaranteed to get something that you wouldn’t normally find elsewhere.

3. Okura

The flagship store Okura of the Blue Blue Japan brand opened nearly 30 years ago in Daikanyama, which has now become a trendy neighbourhood known for its luxury fashion boutiques and in-demand brunch places. The shop is located in a traditionally-inspired building resembling a Japanese warehouse. Here you’ll find truly unique pieces like indigo-dyed products made in a technique that has been known for centuries. Moreover, the space itself, together with the in-store decor, presents a well-rounded atmosphere of Japan. Blue Blue Japan brand caters not just to the Japanese market. While many items have that unique Japanese flair, you can easily mix and match them with your everyday styles.

Photo: Tom Rumble

Photo: Radek Pestka

4. Jun Hashimoto

Jun Hashimoto’s fashion is known for its ability to be both casual and stylish, and the brand proudly presents its concept as “Japanese Classico”. Don’t be fooled – it’s not just plain everyday clothing. The dapper casual wear pieces may seem simple at first but are versatile both in appearance and function. Most items can be effortlessly adapted both for everyday wear as well as more sophisticated events. This makes it very easy to pick out staple garments for your wardrobe. From the down-to-earth colour palette to tailoring, the brand’s aesthetic is cohesive, and desirable. The brand’s beautiful flagship store can be found in Omotesando Hills, and since 2017 they also have a store in the luxury shopping complex Ginza Six.

5. Trophy Clothing

Trophy Clothing was established almost 20 years ago by the Japanese designer Masaki Egawa, who embedded his passion for classic motorcycles and vintage workwear into his own label. As a result, the clothes they produce represent a balance between the modern and the traditional. When shopping for one of their pieces, you can be sure to get something that is 100% made in Japan, as they produce everything from fabric to hardware locally. Expect to see quality denim, tailored workwear-style shirts, biker-inspired leather jackets, and low-key but never boring everyday pieces. You’ll find the brand’s flagship store located in Shibuya, Tokyo, but worry not – if you find something you like, chances are you can also find it online since many items are sold globally with worldwide shipping.

Photo: Cerqueira

6. Kurodatoen

Kurodatoen presents an exceptional pottery collection infused with Japanese culture and craftsmanship – state of the art pieces beautifully displayed in two gallery-like stores in Tokyo. The first one opened over 80 years ago in Ginza, and its newer counterpart is located in Shibuya. Since its inception, this is still a family-run business passed down generations, always celebrating Japan’s ceramic art and nurturing promising artists within the brand’s space. The stores double as galleries featuring not only Kurodatoen’s ceramics but also work from other artists. While first impressions may suggest that the ceramics are art that is only to be looked at, it is, in fact, positioned as “art for use”. So if you’re looking for an extremely special homeware item to add to your collection, this is certainly the place to go. Even if you’re not looking to shop, visiting Kurodatoen is something worth including in your Tokyo travel itinerary.

7. glamb Tokyo

Marrying elements of grunge and luxury with a truly American-inspired twist, glamb executes its fashion with high-quality craftsmanship and materials. Its semi-industrial flagship store is located in Harajuku, a part of Tokyo you might not immediately associate with grungy fashions, as this neighbourhood is known for its cutesy and iconic kawaii styles. But in recent years, that vibe has slightly calmed, and now it’s just about pure expression, in whatever form of style. glamb brand was established almost 20 years ago, and over the years, has had numerous collaborations, each bringing a unique flair to the collections. Here you’ll find both American-inspired fashions like bomber and varsity jackets as well as more loosely fitted clothes common among Japanese brands.

Photo: Susann Schuster

Photo: Jezael Melgoza

8. niko and ...

Located in Harajuku, niko and… is a clothing store selling casual fashion and lifestyle pieces for men and women. The flagship store caters to the hip and young, slightly resembling Urban Outfitters with a more modern twist. From fun and colourful everyday street styles to beautifully made staple pieces that can be both dressed up or down. The more muted items feel earthy and organic, and as soon as you hear that the store was heavily inspired by Portland, Oregon, it all starts to really make sense. Here you’ll find a mix of Western and Japanese items from popular brands, alongside pieces from the in-house label.

9. United Arrows

United Arrows is one of the most popular Japanese stores with an impressive number of locations – well over 200 – and is popular with Japanese customers and visitors from abroad. United Arrows store in central Harajuku boasts a well-curated selection of contemporary high-end menswear fashion brands across the store’s two floors – one with a youthful feel and the other with a more matured gentlemen’s club-inspired atmosphere. Here you’ll find not just locally-made Japanese contemporary fashion but also pieces of European and American brands. The selection of items is dizzyingly good, especially suits and staple garments.

Harajuku | Photo: Ray Zhuang

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