Bringing a bit of Tokyo’s uniqueness and fashion back to your home country need not be costly. The abundance of 100-yen shops, vintage fashion shops, and local brands are an excellent avenue for tourists looking for bargains. This article will take you through some of the shops that are a must-go for your next trip to Tokyo!
1. Local brands for clothing
Already well known in Singapore and many parts of Asia, Uniqlo offers an even better deal in their Japanese outlets. The clothing chain is known to offer plenty of discounts during the changing of seasons. A shirt can cost as low as 590 yen, and legging jeans at only 1,290 yen during these discount periods. Pay at the tax-free counters to save on that additional 8% tax!
Lesser known to tourists is the brand, GU, a sister company to Uniqlo. The brand keeps their fashion up-to-date with new designs every season, maintaining their prices low without compensating the quality. GU jeans typically range from 990 to 2,490 yen for both genders. If you are in luck, discounted prices for jeans will go as low as 590 yen each! However, unlike Uniqlo, which offers plus sizes in both their online store and a handful of branches, GU is strictly an S-XL-sized clothing chain. Just beside Okachimachi Station, Yoshiike Building houses Uniqlo on the 1st to 4th floors, and GU on 5th and 6th.
While most clothing stores carry the same design in various sizes, in Shimamura (しまむら), finding similar design clothing in a different size can be a challenge. A Japanese casual clothing chain, shirts and blouses range from 700 to 900 yen are aplenty in Shimamura. Despite Japanese fashion being notoriously unkind to plus-sized travellers, Shimamura is particularly famous for carrying plus-sized clothing at a steal. Sizes can go up to 5 XL for both genders for both tops and bottoms.
2. Vintage (second-hand) clothing
A better name for second-hand clothing, vintage clothing shops blend in perfectly with local brands on popular shopping streets. It is good to note that Japanese keeps their pre-loved clothing in excellent conditions and is resold almost as new. These pieces are, however, priced below halved its original cost. You can easily find these vintage shops in Harajuku, Shibuya and Shimokitazawa. Amongst the numerous stores, RAGTAG and Jumble Store in Harajuku are two notably big stores that carry almost everything you need.
Credit: Ragtag and Jumble Store official website
With its glass exterior, RAGTAG fits better with the high-end clothing brands along the streets of Aoyama and Omotesando. Likewise, most of the clothing and accessories in RAGTAG are pre-loved brand names or limited edition products. Similar to its namesake, Jumble Store carries a wide variety of brands, with inexpensive brands to pricey big names such as Chanel and Prada. At Jumble Store, it is not impossible to come across shirts as low as 200 yen! Ladies clothing and accessories are available on the ground floor while the men section is on the second floor.
RAGTAG: 6-14-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
Jumble Store: 4-26-4 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
Cost of living in Tokyo has reduced thanks to the abundance of 100-yen shops around the city. From household to personal care products, as well as fresh food and cooked bento, these 100-yen shops have since started carrying uniquely Japanese souvenirs. Many of these shops are plainly named 100-yen shops can be found nearly everywhere in Tokyo. They will also appear when you key in 100-yen shop into Google maps, if you need to find one near you. It is also wise to look out for Lawson-100 and Daiso, the latter which we have in Singapore. Do not miss out on visiting the Daiso at Harajuku, a 3-storey (plus a basement!) pink building on Takeshita-dori.
A discount chain store, Don Quijote (affectionately nicknamed Donki), is a personal favorite when it comes to shopping for souvenirs and food in Japan. Carrying everything that you might need, from a new luggage to Japanese electronics, souvenir such as keychains and Japanese fans to food (fresh and cooked), snacks and medicine; they have it all! It is also great to know that their prices are one of the lowest you can find in Japan. While the Mentholatum menthol lip-balm in 100-yen shops might be a bargain, Donki carries them at only 80 yen. Plus, a pack of matcha kit-kat typically priced between 480 to 525 yen is only 280 yen in Donki!
With over 160 locations throughout Japan, it is not difficult to find one in Tokyo. The branch in Asakusa is a 24-hour, 7-storey building packed with merchandises. They had recently added a Muslim-friendly corner with souvenir and snacks that are Halal, making it easier for travellers. If you are looking for anime-related products for souvenirs, Akihabara’s Donki is the place. With opening hours from 10AM to 5AM, it is just the place to do any last minute shopping before heading to the airport. Keep your eye out for the penguin mascot!
Little savings here and there will make the trip to this expensive city a lot more affordable and fun. Plan your next Tokyo trip with these little tips on where to go. You can always help fulfill requests on Airfrov while you are out on your shopping spree.