It’s no surprise the big cities in Japan are shopping paradises.
Muji is my favourite store in Japan. They specialize in minimalist products that often look fantastic, as if they were designed by Dieter Rahms of Braun fame. You can buy many things at Muji, from food to clothing to household items. In a way it’s comparable to a classier IKEA with less of a focus on furniture, although you can buy furniture as well.
Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ, Tōkyū Hanzu)
Tokyu Hands is a department store which started as an arts & crafts shop for hobbyist but has now expanded to sell just about everything from toys to furniture to lighting appliances. The original hobbyist focus remains intact though - this is the place to be for arts & crafts supplies.
Of special note is the Ikekuboro location, which contains a cat café on the top floor.
Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ)
Don Quijote — commonly referred to as Donki — is a weird discount chain store that tends to sell very random items. It’s open 24 hours. Each Don Quijotes has its own level of weirdness. The Shinjuku one ranked high, where it looked like the shop owners just filled the store randomly with random items: police sex costumes next to toy dolls next to hair wax next to wigs.
The Asakusa one is actually pretty organized and part of it looks more like a supermarket.
Uniqlo is a clothing brand that mostly specializes in minimalist clothing: think no-print shirts, pants and blazers. However, they also have collections with prints. It’s the ideal place to pick up a ¥500 T-shirt if you’re out of clothes during your trip.
Yodabashi stores are giant electronics stores. The Akihabara Yodobashi has a whopping 9 floors. On the top floor of this branch is a fun spot that is both a golf and batting center.
There is also a giant Yodobashi in Osaka near the Umeda and Osaka railway stations.
- See: Activities - Batting
Labi is a big electronics chain.
Obviously this shop sells cameras but also a variety of electronics.
Books and media
Kinokunya is a book store. There is a big one in Shinjuku in Tokyo. This is one of the few places where I found some English books.
Tsutaya deals in CDs, DVDs and books. Be aware that DVDs are region locked and can be terribly expensive. It’s not uncommong for a movie to cost ¥5000.
Book Off deals in second hand books.