Originality, value and a uniquely Tokyo identity – those were our three main criteria in picking out the nominees for Best Shop. Beloved by locals of all stripes while offering visitors an ‘only in Tokyo’ experience, our top 10 are the ultimate in retail therapy.
From stationery to toilet-seat covers, this is the largest household goods store in Tokyo, packed with knick-knacks for the home. Particularly interesting is the party supplies section, which gives a unique glimpse into the Japanese sense of humour.
Asakusa's premier antiques purveyor sure stands out on Rokku-dori. Entering the narrow building, you're sure to notice the vintage, barely functional radio playing some long-forgotten tune. Hotarudo houses a jumble of seemingly random merchandise – mainly from the Taisho period (1912-1926) – including clothing, lamps, kitchenware and even electronics.
Sneaker Shop Skit Tokyo Kichijoji
Rows of colourful, wrapped-up shoes line the walls at this Kichijoji store that offers an exhaustive range of sneakers from the likes of Adidas, Puma, Nike, Admiral, Reebok and Onitsuka Tiger. They deal in everything from the latest models to 'dead stock' while also carrying limited-edition versions – enough to pique the interest of even the most discerning sneakerhead.
Stocking thousands of items, Disk Union deals mainly in secondhand CDs and vinyl. The Shinjuku main store is a tall, narrow building where each floor is devoted to a different genre, including world music, soundtracks and electronica. Branches nearby specialise in dance music, jazz, funk, punk and that much-maligned genre, progressive rock.
A streetwear brand run by a trio of illustrators and graphic designers – Skate Thing, Toby Feltwell and Yutaka Hishiyama – C.E opened its first brick-and-mortar store earlier this year in Aoyama. Elements of the UK-born Feltwell's background run up against Skate Thing's trademark Tokyo sensibilities, resulting in a constant stream of interesting creations.
Tendo Mokko Showroom
A furniture manufacturer from Yamagata, Tendo Mokko uses a patented technique known as molded plywood to produce beautiful, flowing lines – best represented by the iconic Butterfly Stool, designed by Sori Yanagi and widely admired by design nerds around the world.
Selecting sophisticated lifestyle goods from around the world – some handmade, some as old as 100 years – Roundabout is the go-to store for unique stationery, crockery, clothing, accessories and more.
Walk down the cathedral-like shotengai in Nakano and you’ll reach the covered Broadway section. A popular haunt for Tokyo's otaku community, this five-floor complex contains numerous outlets of Mandarake, specialising in new and second-hand manga; branches of Fujiya Avic, the second-hand CD/DVD/anime store offering rarities and bootlegs; and a large number…
The 8th floor museum in the towering Shibuya Hikarie building is all about spreading the love: each exhibition is devoted to showcasing a particular theme, as represented by all 47 of Japan's prefectures. The museum shop continues the theme with a huge selection of items.
Arguably the trendiest department store in Japan, Isetan Shinjuku is renowned for having its window displays created by leading artists and offers only the finest in food, clothing and homeware. It recently underwent a massive refurbishment – got to keep up with the times, of course.