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Shopping is universal. We humans find pleasure in searching for unique items as well as those bargain “sale” items. This holds true especially when we are on a long awaited vacation visiting lands afar. Tokyo is home to Ginza one of the world’s most famous shopping areas. Tokyo is also home to several unique shopping experiences that take shopping to a different level for both Japanese and foreigners.

Nakamise Shopping Arcade
Nakamise Dori (street) has its roots that date back to the late 1600’s as neighbors of Sensoji Temple were Nakamise dorigiven special rights to open their shops to visitors approaching the temple. During the course of over 300 years, Nakamise dori has gone through changes due to political (Meiji restoration), natural disasters (earthquake in 1923), and World War II.

Today, Nakamise dori has 89 shops lined along 250 meters of stone pavement. One can find traditional Japanese souvenirs and delicious food items. A must stop would be at Honke Barin-do which features Ningyo-yaki which literally translates to “fried dolls”. These delightful delicacies are usually filled with sweet red bean paste and come in various shapes and designs.

With over 500 shops, both foreigners and locals are sure to find something that meets their fancy at Ameyayoko-cho.   From basic food items to imported high end goods, shoppers will delight at the tremendous variety of items and the excitement that permeates at this bustling market. Shoppers will be able to find discounted items from candy, seaweed, handbags, sneakers, watches cosmetics, and casual clothes.  

Ameyayoko-cho has its roots as one of the largest black markets after World War II. It now reminds us of the “shitamachi”, the spirit of old downtown Tokyo. Ameyayoko-cho has been a long time favorite for housewives looking for food bargains. More recently, it has now become chic with the younger Japanese but for a different reason. The younger Japanese are very brand conscious. At Ameyayoko-cho they can find cosmetics, designer sunglasses, accessories and clothing at discounted prices.

100 yen shop
Throughout Japan, one can find what is akin to the $1 stores found here in the US as well as other countries.   100 yen shops are now similar to department stores in terms of size and scale.  Located near 100 yen shoptrain stations and shopping districts, shoppers will find such bargains as chopsticks, fans, tableware, and stationary all for 100 yen. Combine low prices with the high quality standards of the Japanese, shoppers will be amazed not only at the price but the quality of these items 

One of the largest 100 yen shops in Tokyo is Daiso Harajuku which is just steps away from Harajuku station. A visit to a 100 yen shop is a must to impress friends and relatives on the “expensive” gifts that you brought back from your trip to Japan.

So on your next visit to Tokyo, make sure to add shopping as a must do excursion. As you can see, Japan has so much to meet the universal desire of shopping.

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