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50 best shops in Ginza

Our guide to the retail heaven of Tokyo's high-fashion hub

A little while ago, we brought you '101 things to do in Ginza'. Now, for the 2nd edition of our Ginza guide, we've put a twist on the topic and shopped around for the best, well, shops. '50 best shops in Ginza' is your companion to the finest retail establishments in Tokyo's centre of luxury, including everything from high-end boutiques, malls and time-honoured craft purveyors to offbeat souvenir shops and trendy 'select stores'. Fill up your wallet, grab a copy of our guide map (or keep this page loaded on your phone) and get ready to spend.

1

Handwrite a letter

Of all Tokyo's stationery shops, this has to be the best. At the recently renovated main store, you can write a letter (and post it), try out around 700 types of pens, create your own original notebook, and relax at the café and restaurant on the top floor. The K.Itoya annex, meanwhile, is the go-to shop for fountain pens, globes, and personal stamps and seals.

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2

Go on a shopping expedition

Besides being one of Ginza’s leading high-end and historic department stores, Matsuya also offers lifestyle goods by local and international designers on the 7th floor as well as a fine collection of Japanese sake and foreign beers on the basement floor.

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3

Enter toy heaven

Immerse yourself in five storeys full of Japan’s favourite toys, including stuffed animals, games and character merchandise. The shop stocks a grand total of around 200,000 items.

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4

Feel like Cinderella

Struggling to find shoe sizes that fit? This women’s footwear (and handbag) store, founded in 1947, stocks sizes from 20.5cm to 26cm, and expert staff will measure and customise until your feet finally find their perfect made-in-Japan shoe match.

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5

Look stylish and feel comfy

A clothing store that emphasises the Japanese tradition of producing durable, comfortable fashion. The interior is modelled on an antique shop, so even just browsing is a pleasurable experience.

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6

Make music

Music lovers will feel right at home at this store that’s equipped with an almost overwhelming collection of CDs, sheet music and top-grade instruments. 

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7

Treat your skin with herbs

A natural cosmetics brand that’s part of 'Made in Japan', La Casta is a popular range of hair- and body-care products created with pesticide-free herbal extracts sourced from the company’s own farm. Even the water they use is fresh from Nagano Prefecture. Bound to give you that healthy glow.

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8

Adorn your nails with Hello Kitty

The flagship store of Sanrio, the company that brought Hello Kitty to life, sells all kinds of character-related items; you can even get ‘animated’ nail art done at the salon (reservations recommended, extra fees apply). 

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9

Fill up your wardrobe

Uniqlo’s Ginza flagship store is the largest branch in Japan with 12 floors and the broadest selection of Uniqlo products in the country. Foreign tourists are in luck, too, as you can enjoy tax-free shopping.

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10

Delight in decorated dessert

Opened in 1902, this spot was a pioneer in Western-style cuisine – they began serving sodas and ice cream before these items became common. Patrons look forward to the monthly dessert specials made with seasonal fruits, while the pretty gift boxes of biscuits or mini cheescakes are also super popular.

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11

Discover a whole new you

Housing everything from a hair salon to a skincare counselling lounge and a 'Beauty Marche' cosmetic product zone, Shiseido's flagship complex fulfils any and all cosmetic needs. They offer make-up lessons, have a photo studio, and sell a world-famous lineup of beautifiers, too.

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12

Purchase a piece of Kanazawa

The capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa is fast turning into a hot travel destination for Tokyoites. Why? Because of the way the city has nurtured its century-old traditions, maintaining a rich mixture of crafts and cuisine. If you can’t make it there in person, you can still experience Ishikawa’s superb food at this restaurant – be sure to pick up a few souvenirs too.

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13

Buy your dream model train

People come from around the world for the exclusive, detailed model trains found here. They have all types, including miniature cars, and also stock a range of luxury watches and jewellery on the side.

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14

Smell incense fit for an emperor

Founded in Kyoto back in 1663 and run by the same family ever since, stationery maker Kyukyodo has been providing incense to the Imperial Court since the Edo period. Having undergone only minimal changes since those days, their wares make for gorgeous gifts.

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15

Visit an example of retail history

Celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2015, Ginza Mitsukoshi is a recognisable landmark in the area and one of the oldest department stores in Japan. The bronze lions guarding the entrance are a popular meeting spot.

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16

Begin your yukata search

Ideal for beginner kimono shoppers, Suzunoya carries a wide array of high quality items, ranging from yukatas and accessories to stationery made of traditional Japanese paper. Product labels and explanations are all in English, and it’s duty free for those with foreign passports.

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17

Stop for a coffee break

One of the newer shrines to coffee in Ginza, this shop and roaster sells bulk beans by weight, including five regular blends and 100% pure Hawaiian Kona coffee – all shipped in from the store’s own coffee farm. The roastery is located on the second floor and coffee 'tasting' is available for just ¥100.

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18

Take care of your mini-me

A Japanese brand long favoured for its top quality children’s clothes, Familiar offers items for all ages from babies to older kids. Choose from an array of stylish pieces such as Japan-made dresses with felt floral brooches and hand-sewn denim bags.

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19

Delve into a design market

Designed to express 'beautiful chaos', Ginza's Dover Street Market concept shop is a multi-brand department store teeming with one-off collaborations.

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20

Stock up on luxury salmon

You’ve never seen such beautifully presented fish as at this luxury store that specialises in salmon from Hokkaido, including smoked, filleted, dried and flaked, and even salmon roe pickled in soy sauce. How about a salmon centrepiece for your next dinner party? 

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21

See art more clearly

Boasting over 100 years of history, this optician invented a special pair of ‘museum glasses’ for viewing works of art. Their lenses are made using Japan’s highly developed optical technologies, and their imported frames are selected from among the world’s best. 

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22

Sniff fragrances

Once upon a time, Japan’s noble classes apparently enjoyed a guessing game of perfume sniffing. Pretend you’re one of them and enjoy a variety of scents that have been passed down through the ages. They’re sure to evoke memories of your own favourite fragrances too.

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23

Read the only book in the store

The concept of this bookstore, which opened in 2015, is ‘a single room with a single book’. Focusing on just one book each week, the store creatively exhibits each work in a beautiful space within a wonderfully retro building.

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24

Kit out your kids

For the ultimate Tokyo children’s clothing shopping experience, visit Ginza Sayegusa, the authority on styles for young 'uns since 1869. Housed in a four-storey Tudor-style building, this venerable establishment offers top-of-the-range goods including their original range made in Japan and imported collections from overseas.

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25

Choose charcoal

The world’s first charcoal-product shop, Tanagokoro is a one-of-a-kind place that sells all kinds of things including soap, towels, chopsticks, and water-purifying and deodorising charcoal.

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26

Taste Japan's 'national' sweet

Beloved by both young and old, 'anpan' is a round bun stuffed with sweet red bean paste. Kimuraya has been making the treat for over 100 years and its signature versions – the Sakura with salted cherries, the tsubuan (chunky) Ogura, and the Fig Walnut – are all highly recommended.

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27

Go potty for pottery

At this Japanese pottery shop, feast your eyes on works by modern craftspeople and masterpieces by the country’s most famous ceramicists including the acclaimed artist Rosanjin Kitaoji, who had a strong relationship with the store’s founder. There’s no chance of buyer’s remorse here.

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28

Trend up your tootsies

If you like to keep up with the trends, this shoe store will impress you with its wide, stylish collection of heels, boots and ballet pumps. The prices are relatively reasonable, so you might just be tempted to buy a pair in every colour.

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29

Find vintage kimonos for a bargain

Join Tokyo’s cognoscenti at this row of antique shops hidden within Ginza’s underground shopping mecca. You’ll find vintage kimonos at bargain prices, and we especially recommend the obi (decorative waist band) shop near the entrance for its exquisite cloth. Even if you don’t plan to wear a kimono, you can use the obi as a table runner.

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30

Care about the environment

If you prefer your threads to be environmentally friendly, then you’ll like Genten’s clothes, which are focused on getting back to our origins (‘genten’ in Japanese). The brand brings nature and fashion together while featuring timeless designs and trendsetting details. Sure to become wardrobe favourites.

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31

Use a celebrity make-up brush

If you like the idea of using the same kind of beauty brushes loved by Hollywood’s celebrity make-up artists, then head to this store. Their brushes are handmade by skilled traditional craftsmen using real animal hair. The facial brush with its fine pore-cleansing bristles makes an excellent gift.

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32

Hunt for fountain pens

Every conceivable type of fountain pen is for sale here, from vintage to traditional Japanese maki-e pens. They also do repairs and buy old pens to resell. To find the shop, located in an 83-year-old historic building, take the hand-operated elevator and walk down a dark narrow corridor – yes, it’s as mysterious as it sounds.

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33

Immerse yourself in Issey Miyake

Elttob Tep Issey Miyake is a multi-brand store by Issey Miyake Inc. What makes it special? Besides the fact you can get all the different ranges in one place, they also regularly hold special events.

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34

Say a special thank you

Displaying over 100 original stationery items and card designs, this shop is like a mini gallery. Stock up on their very special thank-you and Christmas cards, and attach them to gifts to give them that extra touch. Or buy small souvenir presents here for friends and family back home.

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35

Put a spring in your step

Tokyo’s ‘sneaker boom’ is still going strong and you’ll find all the most popular brands at speciality boutique Atmos, including classics such as Nike, New Balance and Japan’s Onitsuka Tiger as well as seasonal brands. You can also find limited-edition sneakers and even order a bespoke pair. 

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36

Try a kabuki face mask

As the main theatre for kabuki in Tokyo, Kabukiza is a top attraction. On the basement level, the souvenir shop stocks a fantastic assortment of goods related to the traditional form of drama – if you’re not keen to go all the way with kabuki make-up, then try the face mask designed to look like the real deal. This is a great place to stock up on souvenirs and gifts.

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37

Shop for your Sunday best

This esteemed speciality store holds pride of place on a corner in Ginza 4-chome, its grand facade, complete with clock tower, being something of a landmark. Inside, the quiet halls open up onto shops filled with exclusive watches, jewellery, men's and women's fashion, and food products.

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38

Drink from crystal fit for royals

A top-quality glassware provider and also a purveyor to the royal household. Founded as Japan’s first crystal glassware factory, Kagami Crystal is known for using only the purest raw materials and for designs that add a modern twist to traditional style. Look out for the Edo Kiriko (Japanese traditional cut glass) products, renowned for their exquisite, delicate cutting.

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39

Snap up a secondhand camera

Ginza has been called the ‘holy land of old cameras’ and those in the know can often be found hunting for deals at the many secondhand camera shops. This speciality shop hasn’t changed location for over 60 years and carries brands including Canon, Nikon, Leica, Rollei and more.

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40

Browse the best of the best

Namiki-dori is one of the best shopping streets in Ginza and features rows of luxury shops, but also high-end select shops such as Designworks Deuxcotes. For anyone wanting to brush up on the latest Tokyo style trends, these curated stores are a must.

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41

Finish your look with pearls

The founder of this store, Mikimoto Kokichi, is credited with creating the world’s first cultured pearl. Since 1893, his shop has been accessorising the ladies of Japan with only the finest quality pearls in both casual and high-end jewellery pieces.

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42

Button up!

Almost like a museum of buttons, this store has been going since 1946 and is popular among up-and-coming select stores and designers who show their ranges at Tokyo Fashion Week. The extensive button selection ranges from the store’s original designs, to ones sourced from Japan and abroad, to rare vintage buttons.

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43

View art in an attic

A quiet attic room inside an old building holds this gallery that’s filled with quality pottery, clothing and works of Japanese art carefully selected by the owner. Exhibited pieces are rotated randomly, so you never know what new treasure you might find when you visit.

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44

Stay on trend

Ideal for anyone who wants to keep up with Japan’s latest fashion trends but needs to stick to a budget, GU is Japan’s leading fast-fashion retailer, offering fully co-ordinated outfits for well under ¥10,000. They also offer tax-free shopping for foreign tourists. 

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45

Track down folk crafts

Emphasising the 'beauty of everyday use', Takumi specialises in folk crafts from Japan, the rest of Asia and Latin America. If it's a unique souvenir you're after, this should be your stop.

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46

Invest in a rare timepiece

It’s no secret that the Seiko watch brand is the pride of Japan. This boutique store, which opened in 2015, is the world’s first Seiko speciality store, carrying only the finest product lines including Grand Seiko, Credor and Galante. A treasure box for those with a penchant for exclusive watches.

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47

Complement your traditional wear with sandals

So you’ve bought your dream kimono, but what about the footwear? Don’t bother with cheap wooden clogs from a souvenir shop; rather head to this long-established store for a pair of top quality traditional sandals that will match your outfit. They also have Japanese umbrellas to complete the look.

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48

Indulge in the world's best choc

Get your paws on the most delicious chocolates in the world. Try the signature assorted choc box featuring five unique flavours such as sansho (Japanese pepper), yuzu citrus and hibiscus – which won first place at Salon Du Chocolat 2013, the world's largest chocolate festival.

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49

Accessorise for every occasion

Opened in 2015, this new and already popular accessories shop specialises in four styles – classical, primitive, modern and handicraft – and offers limited-edition items. Its decor overflows with greenery and it looks oh-so-cute standing next to a cluster of skyscrapers.

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50

Upgrade your chopsticks

Featuring over 2,500 kinds of top quality chopsticks made from natural wood sourced from all over Japan and lacquered with non-chemical Japanese urushi, this store both curates and creates its products, which also include chopstick rests and goods for kids. Perfect for souvenirs.

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