When coming to Japan and specially Tokyo, there most likely are many people back home who are waiting for some kind of souvenir, but Tokyo being so huge, it might be hard to know where to go for each person to get something. This article will give you info of some good places to find different kind of souvenirs, so depending on do the people back home want antics, games, clothes or something else, here are few suggestions. You also might want to bring your passport with you when you go specially to the bigger stores, many of the stores offer tax free shopping.
If you are looking for more of a traditional Japanese stuff or the usual souvenir stuff Asakusa is a great place to find it. Around the Sensō-ji Temple in Asakusa there are hundreds of small shops, selling all kinds of basic souvenirs, from traditional paintings, Japanese style Fans, traditional clothing to cheap katanas and sake cups. But buyers be aware, make sure you can actually get the stuff back home in one piece and that they fit your luggage. Also, it is good not to buy the first things you see, walk a bit and see what you can find.
Address: Senso-ji Temple, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
In Asakusa there is also the Kappabashi Dori where they sell all kinds of kitchen ware and utensils.So if you enjoy cooking or know someone who does and want to get something special, this is a place to go for that as well.
Address: 3-18-2 Matsugaya Taito-ku Tokyo
Akihabara or Akiba is known for its electronic shops as well as it’s anime, manga and game shops, but really from this unique place you can find almost anything though it is best for Electronics, games, anime, manga and the different kind of merchandize connected to these things, you can find a lot of different stuff there. For example, there is the Akiba Don Quijote where you can find almost anything. So, if you have friends who are in to games, anime, manga, airsoft, models, card games, toys, electronics you should definitely go to Akihabara to get them something, but even if not, you really should check out you might make finds that you were not expecting. Make sure you have lot of time when you go to Akihabara because there are a lot of different shops there.
Address: 4-3-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Harajuku and Omotesando
Harajuku is the place to find the craziest fashion, there hare small shops all around, selling cool and cute clothes of all kinds. If you are looking for a T shirt or a hat to get to your friend, be sure to check out Harajuku for something very original, because most of the shops are tiny, some of the merchandise actually are unique. You can also see a lot of people dressed in goth Lolita fashion among other things in Harajuku, for anyone interested in fashion this is the place to get something nice and different.
Address: 1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Right next to Harajuku, is Omotesando, Omotesando has more of a high-class fashion and clothing. If you want something very special omotesando is a good place, though you should be ready to also pay more for the cloths. Walk around both of the areas, Harajuku as well as Omotesando and specially some of the back streets and you might find something very unique.
Address: 3 Kitaaoyama Minato-ku Tokyo
Moving on from Harajuku but in the same area is Shibuya. Shibuya is a rather large station, and actually you could never leave the station and not walk away with some awesome gifts. Tokyu department store is the name of the main section, but across the street you will find Shibuya 109, which is a number representation of Tokyu (to = 10 and kyu = 9 in Japanese). 109’s main and largest store is for women, but there is a smaller section for men’s clothes as well. Center Gai has many shops ranging from the everyday fashions to a little bit of hip-hop and urban wear. If you continue up Center Gai you will come across Tokyu Hands. This large shop is a mix of already made goods and do it yourself. The Shibuya one is 7 floors of discovery, so take your time and enjoy! After Tokyu Hands a trip to Tower Records is in order. While most music has gone digital and record shops are almost extinct in the states, this place keeps on going. You could pick up some rare vinyl, never before released CD’s in the states of your favorite artist, and some cool t-shirts (but are you shopping for yourself of souvenir shopping?). Shibuya doesn’t stop there or disappoint, so keep on trucking around and you’ll dig deeper into what really makes Shibuya, well Shibuya.
Shinjuku and Ikebukuro
The last larger stations to check out and explore are Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. At Shinjuku station you will find Lumine, Odakyu, and Keio department stores, but be aware Shinjuku station is one of the world biggest stations, so it will take a bit of time to find what you want. At Ikebukuro you will find Seibu, Loft, and Parco. The same applies to these stations as well; you could do all your shopping inside, never stepping foot outside but these are your basic huge apartment store, so they do not cater to a certain taste as much as the other places. Once here you should also walk out and see the smaller shops around these areas, there are lot to be found.
A specialty shop I highly suggest while you are out shopping for your friends and loved ones is Village Vanguard. This store really does have it all; from cool watches, crazy things for apartments and houses, awesome books, and edible products. Village Vanguard stores are not just in one location, and sometimes they are buried inside larger department stores.
One of the locations for Village Vanguard shop is in Shinjuku, so while shopping in Shinjuku be sure to stop by.
Address: 160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−38−1
Opening times: 11:00-22:00 (Differs by shop)
Website (Only in Japanese): http://www.village-v.co.jp/
Book off is a chain of stores selling mostly used books and manga, but also music, games, movies. This is a good place to buy some cheap manga or to do some record searching, you might hit a jackpot and find a rare cd from here and everything is very cheap. There are many book offs around Japan and even in Tokyo, so when you see one while walking it is always good to check what that book off has to offer. There is a Book off for example in Akihabara as well as Asakusa
Akihabara location: 1 Chome-6-4 Kanda Sakumacho
Asakusa location: 1 Chome-3-5 Matsugaya, Taito, Tokyo 111-0036, Japan
Opening times: 10:00 - 23:00 (Differs by shop)
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.bookoffonline.co.jp/
Oriental Bazaar is located in Shibuya as well, it offers traditional Japanese goods and antiques. Much like Asakusas small shops you can find all kinds of very traditional things from this shop. You might end up paying bit more than in Asakusa in here but you will also get more quality in them. You just need to make sure to pack your stuff well so it won’t be broken on your flight back.
Address: 5-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001
Opening times: 10:00–19:00 (Closed on Thrusdays)
If you have done so much running around and forgot to buy something for your boss or family member, but have found yourself at Narita airport, don’t worry! Narita is like one big shopping mall as well. There are plenty of souvenir shops on the outside of security; however, there are more on the inside and all are duty free. The best part of Japan is that anything you take back to your friends is really a souvenir, because they can’t just drive down the street and get it themselves, but I suggest you grab something that will be treasured by them and that can be found almost anywhere in Tokyo’s gift shops! And while this list is short and could never encompass all of the small things to buy and the many other stations that offer gift shops, make a plan to come back soon! You could literally spend the rest of your life just shopping here in Tokyo! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!