Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise. But the tourist traps of more well-known districts such as Odaiba, Ginza and Harajuku can be overwhelming. Take a few steps off the beaten path and find something different to take home with you, whether it be an original souvenir or the latest in Japanese fashion.
A shopping mall like no other, Shibuya Hikarie is a distinctive architectural structure 34 stories high that’s filled top to bottom with Japanese stores — and not a one of them is of the usual chain variety; instead, the floors are lined with cool boutiques selling original jewelry, Japanese makeup, elegant accessories and clothing.
The building also includes a department store (ShinQs), an observation deck, trendy Japanese-style cafés and a notably upscale food hall downstairs featuring spectacular displays of cakes and local produce.
Hanazono Shrine Antiques Market, Shinjuku
This wonderful market takes place on the grounds of a postcard-worthy shrine in Shinjuku every Sunday until sunset. It’s particularly dedicated to pottery, but you will also find antique kimonos, coins and other unique Japanese curios.
Some old and rare pieces can be found at low prices, if you are prepared to hunt for them. Beautiful souvenirs, such as hardly worn formal kimonos of pure silk and beautiful Imari porcelain, can be picked up for under $50.
Keep an eye out for tsukemono ki. This traditional ceramic, tabletop pickling pot makes a fun memento, especially for gourmands.
Don Quijote, Roppongi
Have you ever been to a shop where you could find makeup, cans of tomatoes, Japanese sandals, a Superman costume, a Cartier watch or an iPad at 4 a.m.? Well, we have.
While there are several Don Quijote (also called Donki) outlets around the city, the Roppongi location is home to the largest venue, and it’s open 24 hours a day. The discount emporium sells almost everything, but the kitsch souvenirs such as sushi pens, cute underwear and sumo costumes are the biggest hits.
The Roppongi store is also duty free, so make sure to bring your passport along.
This shop is all about gold, but not just the jewelry. Hakuza Nihonbashi specializes in edible gold from Kanazawa, Japan, which is believed to have soothing and healing properties as well as other health benefits.
Even if that has yet to be confirmed by science, we can assure you that your dinner party guests will love seeing gold dust on your cakes or cherry-blossom-shaped gold leaf garnishing their cocktails.
Hakuza Nihonbashi also sells Japanese lacquerware plates inland with gold, gold skincare and beauty products, face masks and, of course, jewelry.