The best fashion stores
As their biggest flagship store, Roppongi Hills' United Arrows is spread out across two main floors: the lower level is for women while the upper floor focuses on men's items ranging from clothes to shoes and accessories. Part of the third floor also features mini-areas specialising in items such as umbrellas, watches and bags, as well as Shinsaibashi Reform's upcycled clothing and Junrian's traditional Japanese designs. Oh, don't miss the second floor café, which serves Kyoto-style sweets, and there's also a selection of gift options from Gion Tokuya.
Shibuya's famed Cat Street welcomes the first-ever flagship store for Tokyo-based brand Ambush. The store houses the brand’s conceptual jewellery alongside a growing number of its original apparel range. The offerings here are so diverse that you’ll even finds a selection of store exclusives and books. Founded by design duo Verbal and Yoon, key influencers in the Japanese fashion/music scene, the brand is noted for its designs that capture the essence of Tokyo street, merged with traditional Japanese techniques and craftsmanship.
After years of ducking the spotlight, Chitose Abe finally embraced the growing acclaim for her Sacai brand by opening this Aoyama flagship store in 2011. The veteran designer (who worked under Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe before going it alone in 1999) is best known for her innovative knitwear, but her women's and mens lines now incorporate a range of different fabrics, often in unusual combinations. You'll find the entire collection, as well as spin-off brand Sacai Luck, at this two-floor Aoyama boutique.
This shop nestled in Nakameguro is not to be missed as it’s one of the last of its kind, promoting what’s left of the area’s grungy street art culture. Browse through their collection of cool art which comes in the form of casual fashion pieces like T-shirts and sweat tops, as well as small memorabilia like stickers and accessories. Besides their house brand, they also have capsule collaborations with other labels and artists like Fila and tattoo artist Steve Boltz from Smith Street Tattoo Parlor in New York City. The shop recently moved locations (literally right around the corner from their old shop) and is soon to open a small cafe/eatery next door.
Look no further for quality denim, leather and other cosy wardrobe staples at The Real McCoy’s. From worn-in T-shirts and heathered grey sweats to vintage-inspired souvenir jackets and military bombers, there’s no shortage of fine fashion staples at this urban cool dealer. Although most pieces in the shop look like they are well-maintained vintage items from as early as the ’50s, don’t be fooled: most of them are conditioned to look worn-in. The space itself is equally impressive, filled with well-worn furniture and rich accents that make you feel right at home. To top it all off, everything in the shop is made in Japan.
Hit up this cool shop on Cat Street for streetwear and a curated selection of vintage finds. From wacky patterned shirts to flowing dresses, their vintage selection is some of the best around, so are the hip hop-influenced T-shirts and sweatshirts. Their jewellery collection is also worth a look: using vintage bobbles, they reconstruct old pieces into new, exciting ones – whether it be a bracelet or a pair of earrings.
Undercover designer Jun Takahashi commands a fanatically loyal army of punk fashion rebels who adore his edgy designs. Enter his unsettling world at this store and experience the artistic side of his dark fashion empire. Browse through the ladies selection on the ground floor, or head down to the basement for the men’s collection and the brand's side labels. The store is also home to the many project collaborations Takahashi has taken on, including Undercover’s athletic wear line Nike Gyakusou, and small accessories produced in conjunction with popular label Porter and skate empire Vans.
Created by mastermind Yasuko Furuta, this ever-popular brand has been turning heads both at home and abroad. Toga presents sophisticated yet avant-garde garments and accessories for men and women and has even shown in Paris and London fashion weeks. Get in with the Toga crew and head on over to this Harajuku shop for their studded footwear, jewellery and abstract designs you won't find anywhere else in Tokyo.
Pass the Baton is a modern recycle shop where you’ll find a range of second-hand items including antiques, furniture, clothing and art – many of which have been previously owned by celebrities. Check out the special area dubbed ‘Nigolden Store’, dedicated to displaying items from the personal collection of A Bathing Ape producer Nigo. Similarly to the Marunouchi store, the interior of this Omotesando store was designed by Kasamichi Katayama – founder of interior design company Wonderwall Inc.
In addition to their Aoyama shop and café, Parisian brand Maison Kitsuné also operates this chic Daikanyama space. Said to be inspired by the late Hotel Okura's retro interior, the décor at Maison Kitsuné Daikanyama is the work of co-founder Masaya Kuroki himself. You'll find womenswear on the ground floor, while the second floor offers men's clothing and accessories.
Even among the shopping chaos that is Harajuku's Laforet, this store dealing in 'cutting-edge' fashion stands out from the rest. The neon lighting inside lends a quirky glow to items from up-and-coming and edgy designers such as Hyein Seo, Astrid Andersen and Shaun Samson. They also offer popular designer collabs including the coveted Kanye West and Adidas Yeezy collection, as well as clothing and shoes from Rihanna’s Fenty Puma line.
With its wooden floors, chilled-out vibe and in-store espresso bar, this Daikanyama outpost does a good job of recreating the appeal of the original Saturdays Surf shop in Soho, New York. There are some beautifully crafted surfboards and wetsuits on offer, but you don't have to be a surfer to enjoy the place. Just browse the selection of apparel, accessories and art, then grab a coffee and head out to the wood-decked balcony outside.
You might walk right past it if you didn't know better: Oedo Kazuko is a swanky shop located in an unassuming basement along Omotesando. If you’re looking for a pretty kimono with traditional prints, this is the place to be, while their small patches of kimono fabrics are quite popular too. There's also a large range of hair accessories and children’s kimono displayed throughout the vividly decorated store, so you’ll definitely be able to find something to suit your taste and needs here, with prices varying depending on the quality and formality of the pieces.
Housed inside the new Shibuya Cast complex at the south end of Cat Street, this streetwear shop has an attached café and restaurant. The best part is, you are allowed to enjoy an ice cream cone as you browse through the selection of labels and footwear for both men and women. Although they do have designated men’s and women’s items, most things in the shop are unisex and veered towards the oversized look. Expect cult labels like Hood by Air, Pierre Hardy, Stampd and S’yte.
At Okura, you'll find clothing and textiles made with traditional Japanese tailoring techniques and designs. The store itself is housed in a beautiful old building and invokes a real Japanese atmosphere – it even features a weathered curtain over the door at the entrance. Browse through a wide range of items including indigo-dyed (a Japanese dyeing method used since ancient times) T-shirts, denims, jackets, sweaters and shirts. The second floor houses the women’s range, where you’ll find Kimono-motif tops, Japanese-style socks, washcloths, purses and hairpins among other things. If you’re visiting Tokyo, a piece of clothing from this store makes a perfect gift to take home.
Looking for something else?
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There's no doubt Tokyo has some of the best shopping in the world, but one of the more unique aspects of the city's shopping scene are the great shops found in museums and galleries. Some of these stores even function as galleries themselves, with a curated selection of unique and often limited edition designer and artisanal products from across the country.