Many people go to Japan because of the incredible shopping experiences that it can offer. There are specialty shops for almost everything ranging from kitchen items for restaurant professionals to anime and manga items for fans. However, the true Japanese shopping experience will be nowhere else but through the shopping streets of Japan. There are shopping streets for the cheap shopper and streets for those who prefer a more expensive experience. There are streets that offer up the bargain of food items and much more!
Unique Shopping Streets in Japan
Tenjombashisuji: Longest Shopping Street in Japan
This place, located in Osaka, claims to be the longest shopping street in all of Japan. It is comprised of a two-kilometer stretch of shops, boutiques, stores, and more. What makes this place special is that it is completely covered allowing easy access for pedestrians even during rainy and snowy days. Any person visiting this place can find almost anything in Tenjombashisuji like groceries, pet products, flowers, apparel and much more. Goods being sold here are said be a good bargain which is why a lot of people enjoy visiting this place.
Akihabara: Electronic Shopping Street in Japan
This place is located in Tokyo and is known to be the electronics capital of Japan. In this place, there are a great number of buildings and malls that sell the latest trends in electronics and gadgets. It provides an almost never-ending shopping destination for gadget lovers as these buildings consist of multiple floors of electronics shops. Other than that, it is also known as the Otaku center of Tokyo which offers up access to anime, manga, and even maid cafes. On a normal day, people can find cosplayers hanging out in the area having small anime and manga conventions.
Shijo Street: The Home of Artists
This place is located in Kyoto and is known to be the commercial center of the city. It is a good place to enjoy short cultural trip to the history of Kyoto. Also, this place is home to the Shijo school of Art for artists of many kinds.
Harborland: The Port Shopping District
Located at the port of Kobe, this place is popular for being the main shopping and entertainment district of the area. This place consists of the three largest malls of Kobe which are Mosaic, South-mall, and North mall. The South mall has a museum dedicated to Japan’s most popular manga and anime.
Nakamise: The Oldest Shopping Street in Japan
This shopping street takes pride in being the oldest shopping street in all of Japan, people travel to this place to enjoy a quick trip down memory lane. This 250-meter long shopping destination is located in Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s districts. It is even a home to Japan’s oldest underground shopping street which has been preserved since the late 1920s. Nakamise is home that sell traditional and local snacks for temple goers and souvenir shops for foreign travelers as well. What is interesting about this place is that a person can hire a rickshaw to provide a 30-minute tour of Asakusa.
Shopping Capital of Japan: Popular Shopping Streets in Tokyo Japan
Tokyo is the center and largest business district in the country, and it is also the most visited part of Japan. However, what makes it even more special is the fact that it is a multitude of shopping districts and destinations. Out of the 23 wards inside Japan, there is a significant number that has made its name throughout history.
Shibuya – This particular ward is considered as the most popular shopping and entertainment district of Japan. It is known for being colorful and busy because there are nightclubs, markets, shopping streets, and restaurants. On a daily basis, thousands of people visit this place just to enjoy what it has to offer. Based on a number of travel blogs and reviews, Shibuya is the center of youth fashion and culture in the country and center of many unique and viral trends.
Known as the focal point of Shibuya’s popularity, the Koen Dori is one of the most popular shopping streets in all of Shibuya. It is the most famous department stores in the city and is often hold a variety of cultural festivals in Shibuya. A lot of people going there just to have fun and you can see people parading their latest fashion statements. This is where fashion bloggers and writers usually go to in order to discover what the latest trend is in Japan’s fashion.
Shinjuku – This place is known for the second center of Tokyo because of its popularity. There are a great number of restaurants, shopping malls, and residential areas in the entire ward. What makes Shinjuku special is the fact that it is a multitude of French, Italian, and other foreign delicacies.
The eastern side of Shinjuku has shopping districts, nightlife, and restaurants. Along Shinjuku-Dori street near Shinjuku Station East Exit, you can find department stores and malls which offer high class and mid-range shopping. For those looking for cheaper alternatives, it might be best to visit Yasukuni-Dori street.
Harajuku – For anyone looking for something extreme, it might be a good thing to visit Harajuku in Tokyo. This is home to all the quirky, unique, and even mind-boggling fashion trends in Japan. It is also the trends of the Lolita and Ganguro girl style – both of which are eye-catching and unique fashion subcultures in Japan which are quite popular with young Japanese girls.
Known as the center for teenage culture is the Takeshita-Dori which is home to a great number of fashion brands, shops, and the like. This is a 400-meter long pedestrian only street which is lined with shops, cafes, and boutiques. There are also very popular used clothes store found in this street in Harajuku. For a more upscale shopping experience would be the Omotesando, a place that offers upscale fashion options for an older (and wealthier) market.
Ginza – This part of Tokyo is known to be the wealthiest as it features a number of upscale department stores and malls as well as international name brands in fashion. This includes Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and more. There are also a number of restaurants, art galleries, cafes.
Chuo Dori street, the main shopping street of Ginza. It is a one-kilometer worth of pedestrian-only road as it is closed to vehicular traffic during the weekends. This makes Ginza a pedestrian paradise especially during Sundays, attracting crowds from all over the world. Many people go there simply for the lights coming from the skyscrapers – truly an eye-catching experience.
Ikebukuro – This part of Tokyo has two of the largest department store conglomerates in all of Japan – Tobu, and Seibu. Tobu is one of the Tokyo’s largest department store, while Seibu is Japan’s largest department store. These are consists of everal levels (or floors) of shopping items from apparel, furniture, home appliances, and more.
Instead of a popular shopping street, Ikebukuro is known as small shopping district called Sunshine City. This was established in the late 1970s and is known to Japan’s first city inside a city. A certain section of the Sunshine city is intended for the shopping and stores. One particularly popular part of the Sunshine City in Ikebukuro would be Otome Road which is the go-to place of female otaku.
There are butler cafes which is an interesting female counterpart of maid cafes. There are shops like K-books and Animate which offer a lot of anime collections, cosplay related items, and even self-published manga known as dojinshi.
Marunouchi – One of the most popular shopping destination in Marumouchi would be the old Tsukiji Fish market which is frequented by local and foreign travelers because of the famous Tuna auction early mornings. The Tsukiji Fish market has two sections – the inner and the outer sections. The inner section would be the wet area where they sell different kinds of seafood. The outer sections, on the other hand, is simply for those who enjoy shopping – there are souvenir shops, sushi stands, and even noodle shops. Travellers can enjoy buying cooking utensils and other authentic Japanese food seasonings and spices.
On the other hand, this place has the Nakadori Avenue which is a street lined with a number of fashion boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. It is frequented every autumn and spring because of the Elm trees lining the streets as well. This place is made even more popular by the Marunouchi Building and the Shin Marunouchi Building which are large shopping centers that sell upscale items for avoid shoppers.
Nihonbashi - This small town is literally known as the “Center of Japan” because of a short bridge which is marked as Kilometer Zero of all Japanese road networks, since the Edo period. Nihonbashi was used to be a popular merchant center where there are shops and stores which have been standing for centuries.
Odaiba – Everyone enjoys the idea of going to an island off Tokyo Bay for shopping. Odaiba was used to be a group of small man-made islands which have been developed into a larger island through reclamation methods. What interesting about this is Tokyo’s single urban beach, however, swimming is not allowed. There is also a main road access to the island through one of Tokyo’s long bridges.
There are a number of malls around Odaiba such as DiverCity, Aquacity Odaiba and Venus fort which offer up trendy but affordable items. Found at the center, Aquacity Odaiba has a 300-meter long street which has boutiques, cinema, restaurants, and cafés.
Roppongi – Instead of fashion boutiques and stores, Roppongi is more popular for being a nightlife district. It is commonly frequented by foreigners. It has been developed as such to provide a healthy community for foreign residents in Tokyo, giving them a small piece of home.
Because its main target for marketing is foreigners, it will be common to see international name brands lining up the streets of Roppongi. There are also a number of gourmet shops, authentic French and Italian restaurants. The area has been developed to provide homes for foreigners through residential buildings and upscale hotels.
Famous Shopping Streets in Osaka
There are a number of popular shopping streets in Osaka which offer up different kinds of shopping experiences. One of this is Shinsaibashi suji which is the main branch of Tokyu Hands – a large DIY store with tools, raw materials, and other craft items. Another street in Osaka would be Amerikamura which literally translates to American Village. Different stores and boutiques selling interesting items of what is believed to be Japan’s idea of the American culture.
There is also another street in Osaka known as the Doguyasuji which is a place that offers up tools, equipment, and accessories for the kitchen. This place is commonly frequented by professional chefs and more. Furthermore, Osaka is also has Shotengai which is a street devoted purely to those who love bargains in food shopping. There are shops for vegetables, specialty food items, and more.