Where I Shopped in Japan
Y'all know I'm a bonafide shopaholic; for pete's sake I even launched an entire company around my love of shopping! whenever Z and I travel we spend a fair amount of time (and money) shopping around for souvenirs; whether they be cute trinkets of cultural significance or just local clothing and accessories. Heading to Japan we knew we were in for some good shopping - from the famed Harajuku to the notorious styles of the Japanese we were prepared to get a bit lost in the sea of style. I wanted to share a few shops we came across that we absolutely loved and that you should check out if you're ever visiting Japan and looking for find some cool styles!
1. BEAMS Japan
This chain shop is a unique store throughout all of Japan. Every one we visited (and we visited a few) carried different price points, styles, and wares. At the one in Shinjuku, the flagship location with 8 floors, we found the most dreamiest Skull plate set and novelty wares like a coat hanger neon light and cool tee shirts. They had a small section of streetwear inspired clothes that you could tell pandered to anyone looking for a more harajuku feel. At the BEAMS in the Lumine mall (also in Shinjuku) we found more casual attire; a cute sweatshirt for my dad, a knit blazer for Z, and charming yet modest dresses in the women's section. We also visited a BEAMS in Shibuya, A BEAMS Lights in Shibuya (more contemporary pricing and styles) and one in the "hipster" neighborhood of Ginza. If you're looking for some cool styles definitely check out a BEAMS.
2. Blue Blue Japan
This small, wonderful brand has a handful of shops in Japan, the main one being in the main shopping strip of Naka Meguro in Tokyo. The wood façade brings you into an incensed shop of dyed indigo err'thang. they also have a second, smaller store in Kyoto right by the river that carries a small selection of their loved pieces in a lighter and brighter atmosphere. At the risk of sounding super hipster (please forgive me), everything in the shop is hand-dyed with indigo near the base of Mount Fuji. Each piece has a little red bell attached to it as well (our language barrier meant we didn't understand the reasoning behind this), but you can tell that each piece is expertly made and while you may pay the premium, it's well worth the price. We shopped here for traditional Japanese workstyle jackets, scarves, and gifts like knit hats and tee shirts for our family and friends.
Y'all know I'm a fiend for some good vintage shopping. After perusing the endless stalls of quintessential Harajuku style and beauty shops we happened upon Harajuku Jacks, just off the main strip. The shop owner has an affinity for Rockabilly and old school American style (think Elvis and old Rock n Roll). He spoke English and was so excited to chat with us about the history of Japan's style, and their famed silk bomber jackets (which he has an impressive collection of). We walked away with some cool tees and some pins and patches for our denim jackets (and still dreaming of one of those silk jackets).
I know, I know. I'm constantly waxing poetic about UniQlo even while here in the States. I'm always wearing their HeatTech as it is but when in Japan I wanted to go to my favorite Japanese brand's shop! We went to the one in Shibuya and, though there were many of the same pieces we could find stateside there were also some styles and cuts that were geared more towards Japanese style. I picked up a few on-trend velvet pieces (culottes, a boxy crop top) and Z snagged a few knit sweaters. If you love UniQlo as much as I do, then you should definitely pay homage and check them out!
5. Tokyo Hands
Tokyo Hands seems to be Japan's version of Macy's; a department store commonplace in every city carrying anything and everything you could need at a reasonable price for reasonable quality. We picked up snacks here to bring back home as gifts for people, and also bought a hardshell suitcase for ourselves (seriously, all the shopping got away from us and we needed more space!) as well as some vacuum sealing bags for all of our new Blue Blue jackets and UniQlo knits.
While Tokyo definitely had the most options for great shopping, I personally found my slice of heaven at Three stars Kyoto. This vintage shop that I happened upon one night was so good that I strategically brought Z there the following night. you walk into the most 'grammable stairwell (complete with clawfoot tub containing tropical flora, white walls, and a chandelier) that serves as a gallery and event space before scaling the stairs to the main shop. It's HUGE, exceptionally well organized, and extremely well priced, carrying a huge selection of vintage and thrift apparel as well as a section of new items from local designers and artisans. I found overalls, in every size for around $12USD. I found a Versace Couture Jacket (which you may have seen over on IG) for $15 USD. And a velvet galaxy print mini dress. And that velvet 90s pink top.... Yeah, they're good. We also scored some earrings made by local artisans, and Z picked up a tote bag and sweater by a local street wear designer. If you go to Kyoto and don't go here I'm sorry but I don't think we can be friends.
Have you ever been to Japan? What shops did you fall in love with?