With so many eye-popping goods for sale at every turn in Tokyo, it’s easy to get lost in its mass of glitzy shopping centres and flashy stores. For an enthralling alternative in retail therapy, follow Culture Trip’s guide to Tokyo’s smaller retail moments that really draw you into the real city.
While Japan’s capital city is famous for its cutting-edge, high-concept, high-tech retail centres, it also has an array of markets that are well worth checking out, from flea markets to food markets, from retro clothing to eye-boggling Harajuku fashion.
Flea markets have become increasingly popular in Japan in recent years, and many of the country’s second-hand set-ups are organised by locals, civil organisations or recycling councils. At the popular Mottainai Flea Market, tucked in the heart of electronics shopping district Akihabara, organisers aim to reduce waste by peddling second-hand clothing as well as books, CDs, DVDs and more, all of which tend to be in perfectly good condition. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Two of the biggest and best electronics shops in the city are right next door: Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera.
Depachika, or underground food halls, are some of Tokyo’s best places to eat. Located in the basement of Tokyu Toyoko Department Store, Tokyu Food Show is one of them – a beehive of stalls selling sweets, pastries, deli goods, wines and a variety of foodstuffs from all over the world. The self-proclaimed “theatre of food” is one of the largest depachika in Tokyo, with an awesome spectrum of goodies. Many of the stalls are associated with established restaurants, and while the majority are takeout only, a few have counters where you can eat on the spot.
Alicia Miller contributed additional reporting to this article.
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