Practical Life in Tokyo

Shopping in Tokyo

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Shops are generally open every day from 10am to 8pm, although some department stores are closed on Wednesdays.

Tokyo has a wealth of choice for the shopper. If you’re looking for cheap souvenirs, try one of the 100 yen shops, which are easy to find. If traditional souvenirs are more what you have in mind try either the Nakamise Shopping Arcade (facing Asakusa's Sensoji Temple, Kappabashi Dori), or the Oriental Bazaar, which is open daily till 7pm, closed on Thursdays (on Omotesando Dori between Omotesando and Harajuku stations). Akihabara is the place to go for electronic and photographic goods. Electronic goods can also be bought on the west side of Shinjuku station – do make sure you check what electrical supply is needed to run any electronics you buy since some products are not designed for export. Kinokuniya is one of Tokyo's largest bookshops and is located next to the Times Square Shopping Centre just south of Shinjuku Station, but Jimbocho is Tokyo's true bookshop district. Tower Records in Shibuya has a reasonable selection of English language books and magazines.

Harajuku, Shibuya or Shinjuku (all on the JR Yamanote Line) are the neighbourhoods to head for if you want casual clothes. If you’re looking for chic clothes and designer labels then Omotesando and Aoyama are the areas to go to. It’s hard to find a supermarket in central Tokyo, but the food courts in department stores and pretty well stocked. Meida Dori Avenue in Ochanomizu is renowned for its musical instrument shops and if you’re in Ginza then you will be well served at the enormous Yamaha music store. Sports shops and concentrated on Yasukuni Dori in Ochanomizu. Tokyo’s main department stores are:

  • Isetan – quite expensive, one of the largest is near Shinjuku Station.
  • Mitsukoshi - established in the 1930's, impressive décor, in Nihombashi
  • Odakyu – quite pricey, near Shinjuku Station
  • Tokyu, Seibu, Keio – Owned by Japanese rail companies, the Seibu in Ikebukero is one of the biggest department stores in the world. These stores are moderately priced.
  • Parco - A "bazaar style" store, there’s a big one in Shibuya.
  • "0I0I" (pronounced "Marui") – tends to be rather overpriced but can be found in most neighbourhoods

Pick pocketing is quite common in Tokyo in places where large numbers of people gather. Keep your handbag close to your body. Be aware that there is a fair amount of drug dealing in the bustling entertainment districts of Shinjuku and Roppongi.

Update 20/03/2008


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