Discover Tokyo in our Asia Cruise Shopping Guide
Bright lights, big city, and so much stuff to buy! Welcome to Tokyo, commercial hub of Japan. It’s easy to go into sensory overload here, but savvy travelers know the secret: Zero in on an area according to what they want to buy, instead of wandering into the heart of the tourist districts and hoping for the best. Here are five specialty areas that may have exactly what you need…
Once upon a time this fashion district was largely unknown to Westerners; however, thanks to Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls tour, a lot more people are familiar with it—or at least, with the hyper-stylized teenagers that populate it. Think of it as Haight Street multiplied by a hundred, reports one Westerner: shop after shop crammed with styles that are wildly varied: Goth, “steam punk,” anime characters, etcetera.
This is the major electronics district, with more than 500 stores carrying everything from cameras to video games to anime. The prices are slightly better, bargaining is acceptable, and gear geeks report that the technology is slightly more advanced than what’s out in the US.
There are many wholesale food markets in Tokyo, and more than one sell fish, but if you ask anyone for the “fish market” in Tokyo, they’ll point you straight to Tsukiji. More than 2000 tons of fresh fish per day come through this market, which is becoming such a tourist spectacle that the organizers have shut off access to the famed daily tuna auctions. The rest of the market is open for public viewing. To avoid crowds, come during the pre-dawn hours.
This glam and glossy city-within-a-city is one of Tokyo’s newer districts, and was designed and constructed as a luxury enclave. Sightseeing, dining and residences draw a posh crowd, and designer shops abound. Think of it as the Eastern counterpart to Beverly Hills, with its Keyakizaka Dori section earning the nickname “The Rodeo Drive of Tokyo.”
If you’re looking for the bustling, haggling, jam-packed bazaar experience, hit Ameyoko shopping street, which is a favorite of both international travelers and Tokyo locals. Ameyoko Center Market is the one-stop grocery shop where you can find everything from candy to creepy innards. Other shops sell toys and shoes, clothing and used golf equipment.
Looking for a different type of adventure? Check out our Asia Cruise Guide: Phuket, Thailand