Well back from Tokyo, I really do love that city, its clean, interesting, has good food and nice people, oh and the shopping is awesome! Thus the reason why I headed over there in the first place, to go stock up on clothes, the only downside was the fact it was raining the entire time, not the best thing when your trying to carry bags and stuff around the place, however Tokyo in all its efficiency even packs your bags with plastic over top to keep the rain out! Anyways here is a recap of my shopping experience just in case you feel like checking out the areas I hit up.
Firstly Tokyo like any other city has its main shopping districts, usually divided up roughly into your certain style of shopping, eg big department stores (Shibuya) electronic zone (Shinjuku/Akihabara), Souvenirs, local products etc etc and of course within each of those areas will be small sub areas as well
Now my interests usually lie within the Urban/Youth culture areas where I can find hip hop/b-boy styled clothing and kicks. Now while you can find bits and pieces all over the place in department stores or flag ship Nike stores etc the best place hands down is Harajuku.
Now you can probably divide Harajuku up into 3 areas, you have the Main Street/boulevard which has a couple of big shopping malls with various high end stores scattered in between various coffee shops and other stores, then you have Takeshita Dori, basically a side street running mostly parallel to the Main Street that has all your other stores and most definitely the place you want to hit up. This street I would divide up into 2 sections, the first section that runs from the station to the first major intersection is mostly your cheap tourist trap stores with a few gems littered in between, the second section after the intersection is mostly your ’boutique’ stores where you can really start to find some good popular urban labels ‘but more expensive’ clothes.
The first section can be a bit of a mine field, you have a lot of touristy type stores and lost of highly annoying (and shitty sales manner) Nigerians’?’ Who wander the street trying to get you to come to their stores (usually run in concert I believe with a local) Now these guys I avoid like the plague, firstly their sales manner just pisses me off, sure I call my friends bro etc but if I am running a store, use some proper fucking manners, this isn’t the ghetto, excuse me sir sounds a lot better than being yelled at ‘hey bruah’. Secondly the stores they run have over priced generic shitty clothing imported from the same place as all the other stores these guys run… all over Asia! You will see the same shit in Tokyo being sold by the guys who run similar stores in Seoul, so if you want to wear the same shit other people buy then by all means go there, just remember to bargin them down because their mark up is already ridiculously high, I had one store (which was actually all Japanese) quote me a hat price, they said normal price was 6000yen, by the time I walked out the door it was down to 4500yen (there was no way I was buying it but as you can see, you can haggle with these people if your that desperate, just don’t buy their shoes)
On the bright side, in between the annoying stores is a couple of really good places, my advice is just avoid the Nigerians and go for the local run places.
Moving on past this area is the more ’boutique’ fashion stores, places where you can find a Bape store, or Kicks Lab among other shops that sell the more popular and expensive labeled urban wear. These stores unfortunately don’t have any bargaining room but you can pick up the occasional sale. But this is the area where you can definitely find some nice gear and it is worth having a good look around as most of the stores have lots of different stock and its all in the one area (the Main Street with a couple of side streets varying off to the big street) Not much to tell about this area except happy shopping and credit card beware!
Depending on your shopping style you can either burn through this area in an hour ish or you can take your time to check out the wears of every place, I would tend to allow for an afternoon at least, I’m a very decisive shopper and browse thru things quickly and I was there for maybe 3-4 hours (with a drinks break) so you experience may vary, also be aware this isn’t the only area to shop and if you are looking for very specific things, you might have to look elsewhere. As for sizing, that is hit and miss again, most common sizes are M-L but you can find XL in most stores (but not always however the L might just fit you, most L and XL will fit me, I’m kind of in between the 2 sizes so my guess is the sizing is kind of similar to western sizes, maybe one size apart) At any rate, happy shopping!