The best food and kitchen shops
Fermentation has been all the rage recently in Tokyo, and this Nakameguro shop plays right into the trend by focusing on said time-honoured preservation technique. With a selection that includes soy sauce, miso, amazake, bread and more, 85 offers items for daily use – including kitchenware – that are both good for your health and the enviroment. They also stock hard-to-get variations of miso, vinegar and soy sauce, so if you're a foodie or homecook, do stop by. For the true enthusiasts, 85 offers a monthly 'My Nuka Service', where they'll store nuka (rice bran used for pickling) for you in a temperature-controlled room.
The world's first completely kitchen-focused Conran Shop is found inside Shibuya's Hikarie and sells stylish supplies from all over the world. Alongside kitchenware is also a range of tasteful home decor, lighting and lifestyle items. The goods here pricey, sure, but just looking at the displays might inspire you to start freshening up your own kitchen.
Founded in 1908, Kama-Asa in Asakusa’s Kappabashi (also known as Kitchen Town) deals in everything from kitchen knives (up to 80 different kinds) and exquisite Nanbu Tekki ironware to items like stylish crane-shaped graters and some of the best frying pans. Buy a knife and they’ll engrave it for you at no extra cost; they also offer an after-care service for knife sharpening and repair (extra charge applies). Service is also available in English and French.
Located on the north side of Asakusa’s Kappabashi (aka Kitchen Town), this specialist shop carries a dizzying variety of chopsticks in different lengths, colours and shapes. Can't decide? Just ask the staff to pair you up with the ones that fit perfectly in your hands. An engraving service is also available.
With its shabby chic product assortment and French folk music playing on loop, this Shibuya bargain shop is channelling the French countryside. Natural Kitchen ranks at the higher end of the quality spectrum but most items are priced at ¥100. The vibe skews towards the feminine, crafty and kawaii, with supplies and project ideas to make your house a home. Oh, the many miniatures here are sure to make you smile.
Chopsticks make affordable, portable and beautiful souvenirs or gifts. Make a beeline for this speciality shop – it may be small in size, but its amazing, eclectic collection will keep you busy browsing. The shop stocks over 2,500 sets of chopsticks and accessories such as chopstick rests to go along with your tableware.
Established in 1926, the venerable Mitsuya liquor store is doubtlessly the best sake shop in western Tokyo. Their nihonshu is delivered directly from over 100 breweries around the country, allowing you to enjoy some of Japan's finest sake at reasonable prices. Centred around a giant fridge in which delicate pure sake is preserved, the store specialises in ginjo (a variety made with highly polished rice and brewed in low temperatures). The dependable staff will help you pick out the right bottle for your budget, taste and planned food pairings.
Located in the underground shopping mall Yaesu Chikagai, right by Tokyo Station, Hasegawa carries a truly extraordinary selection of sake, shochu, craft beer, whisky and other types of hard liquor. With bottles of single malt decorating its shelves, the shop feels almost like a museum on booze – even better, it’s interactive. If you’re thinking of splurging on a vintage bottle, the staff may let you have a taste before you buy: a ‘tasting cup’ usually costs between ¥100 to ¥700.
Koffee Mameya is a bean specialist offering between 15 and 20 varieties, sourced from five cult roasters in and outside Japan. The beans are available in 150g bags, priced between ¥1,200 and ¥4,000. As the focus is on selling beans, there's no place to sit down for a drink, but regular coffee and espresso can be ordered to go at the counter.
Founded in Kyoto in 1717, this 300-year-old purveyor of fine tea makes every effort to maintain a consistency in quality throughout the year. Ippodo’s Marunouchi outpost is your one-stop shop for all things green tea – it even houses a fully equipped tea room for serious sipping. We also love their matcha takeout service: around ¥500 gets you a to-go cup of rich, aromatic tea, available in both hot and iced.
Looking for something else?
Tokyo is one of the most stylish cities in the world: the city has its own fashion week as well as flagship stores of the world's trendiest brands. Another thing Tokyo does extremely well is the mix of high and low fashion. You'll find an impeccable range of vintage and consignment stores, alongside well-curated select shops that stock cult brands and products not commonly found anywhere else. Tokyo is also home to a select range of A-list Japanese designers who have taken over the international fashion scene – many of them have stores right here in Tokyo.
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.
Pick up the perfect gift or indulge in a little self-pampering with the help of the beauty experts at these popular specialist shops across town. From makeup and skincare to bath and other beauty products, you're bound to find what you need at one of these shops.
Tokyo has a suprising amount of toy stores where you can find everything from rare collectables and figurines to the latest games and popular characters in plush form. If you feel like being a kid again, stop by these toy shops that will keep both the little and big kids very happy and entertained.