Where to buy great only-in-Japan stuff

There’s so much cool stuff to buy in Japan, but Tokyo is huge, and how can you know where’s the best place to shop? Fear not, I’ve got you covered! Here are links to store maps for everything your heart (or your peeps back home) could desire. I’ve grouped specific items into categories: Traditional Crafts, Popcult & Fashion, Toys & Games, Food, and Souvenirs That Will Make Your Friends Die Laughing.

SHOPTradLINE

SHOPPopcultLINE

SHOPWeirdLINE

SHOPToysLINE

SHOPFoodLINE

TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

4TradGoods

Parasols, fans, geta sandals:

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Asakusa: Senso-ji temple shopping street [map]

Umbrellas

•Akihabara: Aki-Oka Artisan Co-op (design your own custom umbrella)  [map]

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market (magic umbrellas) [map]

Chopsticks, saké cups, teacups, teapots, plates, trays & vases:

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Asakusa: Senso-ji temple shopping street [map]

•Kappabashi: street shops [map]

Really sharp Japanese knives:

•Kappabashi: street shops [map]

•Tsukiji: street stalls on the main street outside the fish market [map]

Baskets:

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Kappabashi: street shops [map]

Vintage kimonos & obis:

•Harajuku: Omotesando Blvd outdoor corner stall by Laforet [map] • Oriental Bazaar near Kiddyland [map]

Tenugui (beautifully patterned hand towels):

•Asakusa: Fujiya shop (beautiful enough to frame) [map]

•Harajuku: 2nd floor of the Number Sugar building [map]

Japanese cooking equipment & utensils:

•Kappabashi: street shops [map]

•Tsukiji: street stalls on the main street outside the fish market [map]

Japanese dolls & New Year’s decorations:

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Asakusa-bashi: Kyugetsu sacred doll store [map]

Traditional carp flags (koi nobori, for Boys’ Day):

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Asakusa-bashi: Kyugetsu sacred doll store [map]

•Ginza: Mitsukoshi [map] • Matsuya [map]

•Nihonbashi: Mitsukoshi Flagship store [map]

•Shinjuku: Takashimaya Times Square [map]

Traditional Japanese toys:

•Asakusa: Senso-ji temple shopping street [map]

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

Calligraphy brushes:

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Asakusa-bashi:Small shop next door to Shimojima [map]

Japanese paper (origami and chiyogami):

•Aoyama-itchome: Japan Traditional Craft Center [map]

•Asakusa: Paper store near Kaminari-mon gate at Senso-ji temple [map]

•Nezu: Isetatsu chiyogami store [map]

•Ochanomizu: Origami Center [map]

Japanese craft supplies & tools:

Tokyu Hands stores [map] to all locations

•Asakusa-bashi: Shimojima craft, office supply & packaging store [map]

POPCULT & FASHION

SHOPPopcult

Pokemon Store

•Ikebukuro: Mega-Pokemon Center [map]

Comic books & fan fiction:

•Akihabara: street shops [map• Mandarake [map] Radio Kaikan Building [map]

Shibuya: Mandarake [map]

•Nakano: Nakano Broadway [map]

Models & modelmaking supplies:

•Akihabara: street shops [map• Mandarake [map] • Radio Kaikan Building [map] for dolls & doll parts, figures, robot-style models (shop list here) • Yodabashi Camera [map]

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Ikebukuro: LABI electronics superstore [map]

•Nakano: Nakano Broadway [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

Gachapon “gacha-gacha” vending machines

•Akihabara: Radio Kaikan Building [map] Yodabashi Camera [map]

•Ikebukuro: LABI electronics superstore [map]

•Nakano: Nakano Broadway [map]

Shibuya: Loft [map]

Cult fashion: Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Punk, Princess Style & more

Harajuku: Closet Child pristine second-hand Lolita & Goth-Lolita clothing [map]

•Shinjuku: Marui Annex department store [map]

Japanese fashion:

Harajuku: Laforet [map]

Shibuya109 Building women’s fashion [map] • Men’s 109 men’s & host-style fashion [map] • Marui OIOI department stores [map] to all locations • PARCO boutique department store [map]

Modern kimono/yukata style:

ShibuyaMarui City department store [map] • PARCO boutique department store [map]

Cosplay costumes, wigs, accessories & make-up:

•Akihabara: street shops [map]

•Harajuku: Bodyline on Takeshita street [map]

•Nakano: Nakano Broadway [map]

TOYS & GAMES

SHOPToys

Model kits & character figures:

•Akihabara: street shops [map• Mandarake [map] • Radio Kaikan Building [map] for dolls & doll parts, figures, robot-style models (shop list here) • Yodabashi Camera [map]

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Ikebukuro: LABI electronics superstore [map]

•Nakano: Nakano Broadway [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

Japanese character stuffies and merchandise (Totoro, One Piece, Naruto, etc.):

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Tokyo Station: First Avenue underground Character Street shops [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

Video games:

•Akihabara: street shops [map] • Super Potato vintage gaming store [map] • Yodabashi Camera electronics superstore [map]

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Ikebukuro: LABI electronics superstore [map]

•Shinjuku: BIC Camera electronics superstore [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

Weird only-in-Japan toys:

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Ikebukuro: LABI electronics superstore [map]

•Shinjuku: BIC Camera electronics superstore [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

Prank gifts:

•Harajuku: Kiddyland [map]

•Ueno: Yamashiro-ya [map]

•Loft [mapto all locations

•Tokyu Hands [mapto all locations

Village Vanguard [mapto all locations

FOOD

SHOPFood

Roasted soybean & nut snacks:

 Note: These are my favorite Japanese snacks, made from roasted soybeans or nuts. Flavors include Okinawan brown sugar, coffee, sweet miso,pepper, garlic, curry, green tea & more.I always give these as gifts, and buy some for myself too. 

•Hiroo/Azabu-juban area: Mamegen main shop [map]

•Ginza: Mamegen boutique shop in the Matsuya food hall [map]

Rice crackers:

•Asakusa: Senso-ji temple shopping street [map]

•Ginza: Mitsukoshi food hall [map] • Matsuya food hall [map]

•Nihonbashi: Mitsukoshi Flagship store food hall [map]

•Shinjuku: Takashimaya Times Square food hall [map]

Tea:

•Ginza: Mitsukoshi food hall [map] • Matsuya food hall [map]

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market [map]

•Nihonbashi: Mitsukoshi Flagship store food hall [map]

•Shinjuku: Takashimaya Times Square food hall [map]

Tea ceremony sweets:

•Ginza: Mitsukoshi food hall [map] • Matsuya food hall [map]

•Nihonbashi: Mitsukoshi Flagship store food hall [map]

•Shinjuku: Takashimaya Times Square food hall [map]

Japanese flavors of Western sweets:

•Ginza: Mitsukoshi food hall [map] • Matsuya food hall [map]

•Nihonbashi: Mitsukoshi Flagship store food hall [map]

•Shinjuku: Takashimaya Times Square food hall [map]

Only-in-Japan donuts:

•Krispy Kreme [map] to all locations

Mr. Donut [map] to all locations

Poisonous dried snake tea mix:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market • [map]

Drinking snacks made from crickets:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market • [map]

SOUVENIRS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR FRIENDS DIE LAUGHING

SHOPWeirdGifts

Inexpensive amusing stuff:

•Harajuku: Daiso ¥100 Store on Takeshita Street [map]

Super-realistic plastic food models, clocks, refrigerator magnets & keychains:

•Kappabashi: street shops [map] 

Magic umbrellas:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market [map]

Bamboo ear cleaners:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market [map]

Lucky red underwear:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market [map]

Poisonous dried snake tea mix:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market [map]

Drinking snacks made from crickets:

•Koshinzuka: Koshinzuka Street Market [map]

Stores filled with all kinds of great stuff:

Tokyu Hands

Crazy stuff in every department, but especially good for weird gifts, strange beauty treatments & equipment, odd costumes & obscure craft supplies

shoptokyuhands1

Tokyu Hands [mapto all locations

Shibuya store [map] • Shinjuku store [map] • Ikebukuro store [map]

Loft 

Excellent for all kinds of housewares, beauty supplies & popcult art

shoploft

Loft [mapto all locations • Shibuya store [map]

Village Vanguard 

Weird & prank gifts

shopvilvan

Village Vanguard [mapto all locations • Shimo-kitazawa store [map]

Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo

If you’d like to venture behind closed doors to the places they leave out of the guidebooks, click here to browse the books where girls dress like living dolls, beautiful young men entertain lonely women, and…read more