Shopping in Tokyo
With impeccable service, overwhelming choice, fantasy-land buildings, tradition, technology and lashings of kitsch, it’s easy to be bitten by the shopping bug in Tokyo.
The main shopping areas in Tokyo are:
• Stylish Ginza, with its ritzy department stores, designer boutiques and chic galleries
• Young, trendy Shibuya for clothes and accessories
• The 'youth mecca' of Harajuku for teenage fashions and kitsch
• Akihabara for a vast selection of cut-price electronic goods and computers
There are several flea markets in Tokyo which you can bag a bargain. Top choices include the Tokyo City Flea Market (1 Chome 6-26 Katsushima, Shinagawa) for an assortment of knick-knacks, Mottainai Flea Market (4 Chrome 14-1 Sotokanda, Chiyoda) for vintage goods, and Shinjuku Chuo Park Flea Market (Chome 11, Nishishinjuku) for anything from household items to vintage items.
For traditional department store shopping in Tokyo, visit Mitsukoshi on Chuo-dori, or the newer Roppongi Hills complex, Minato-ku, where food and entertainment are also thrown in. If shopping in a reconstructed Italian villa is your idea of heaven, visit Venus Fort (1-3-15 Aomi Koto-ku). For wacky, kitsch shopping 24 hours a day, check out Don Quijote, locally known as Donki, across the city, but particularly the largest 'Mega' Don Quijote in Shibuya (28-6, Udagawa-cho). Oriental Bazaar (5-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku) sells yukatas, kimonos, lacquered boxes, wooden sake cups, tea serving sets and any other Japanese handicraft you can think of to take home.
Standard shopping hours in Tokyo are 1000-2000, although some shops are open 24 hours a day.
Delightful snacks, homegrown fashion, traditional handicrafts like kiriko (Japanese cut-glass art), and quirky knick-knacks make good gifts.
Japan's consumption tax is 10% on all items except food, non-alcoholic drinks and newspaper subscriptions. Many stores offer duty-free shopping, provided you show your passport on purchase.