In Japan shopping is more than a leisurely pastime, it’s a national obsession. Nowhere is that more evident than its capital city. Whether you’re looking for limited-edition sneakers or the latest designer handbag, Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise. Here are some of the city’s most fashionable neighborhoods.
Daikanyama and Nakameguro
When you’ve had your fill of shopping, stop in at the shiny new Daikanyama T-Site, which houses a gorgeous bookshop, a slick café-lounge, a laid-back restaurant and a gallery, among other things. A short walk away, in the neighborhood of Nakameguro, you’ll find a treasure trove of vintage clothing shops and independent boutiques, funky bars and cool eateries along the picturesque Meguro canal.
Harajuku and Shibuya
Shibuya has a slightly more grown-up vibe, with major department stores like Marui and Seibu, and an 8-floor conceptual mini-mall by New York-based retailer Opening Ceremony, which counts high-end brands such as Alexander Wang among its collaborators. Scattered amid the mayhem are superb restaurants -- although you have to wander outside of the 10-minute radius from the station, where most of the tourists are concentrated -- and raucous izakayas (Japanese-style pubs), as well as great bars.
Omotesando and Aoyama
Some of the most cutting-edge examples of commercial architecture (such as the stunning Prada building designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron) can also be found here. The handsomely austere Omotesando Hills building, designed by architect Tadao Ando, is a collection of restaurants, high-end stores and small galleries. For unique souvenirs that don’t break the bank, check out the stylish sake shop Hasegawa and Pass the Baton, a vintage boutique selling used clothing and other goods that have been given new life by clever tweaks in design.
On Sundays, the main street is closed to traffic, and people come out in droves to dine and sip café au laits al fresco. If you prefer green tea to coffee, head to the stylish retail shop and tearoom Cha Ginza, from tea producer Uogashi Meicha; the second floor is a tasting room designed to resemble the roadside benches where travelers would stop for a cup of tea on their journey from city to city.