Tokyo is very easily one of Asia's leading fashion capitals—and, as expected, the shopping experience is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Still, you tend to gravitate towards more well-known stops like A Bathing Ape and Emoda; while those are great and definitely must-sees, why not dig deeper and hunt down some quaint concept stores and independent labels? Here, we give you 10 of the city's best-kept sartorial secrets! Fair warning: you'll want to bring all the yen you can.
Stroll in for up-and-coming designers that are worth keeping an eye on, with lots of futuristic silhouettes made of unusual materials. Among the striking selection are headpieces by Kunio Kohzaki, a hairstylist who turns hairpins into geometric accessories, and genderless clothes fit for a night out by Noir Fr, an independent Japanese label. The shop's tagline pretty much sums things up: Xanadu promotes an avant-garde "dress-up style for all people."
3 Chome-34-7 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo; +81 3-6459-2826
Arts & Science is a small chain of stores in Tokyo founded by stylist Sonya Park. Look here to find an interesting crossover of handmade Japanese crafts and modern, minimal sensibilities, with accessories, menswear and womenswear in simple styles and subdued colors. Snap up understated-yet-top-quality loose linen jackets, wooden boxes and leather pouches. Tip: they carry homeware, too!
6-6-20 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
A staple of Tokyo street fashion, everything from clothes to accessories and bags is kawaii here, so expect to find frothy ruffled minidresses, sailor collars, neon PVC bags, animal-head backpacks, and glitzy platforms the second you walk in. The store is an awe-inspiring mishmash of influences, too, fusing today's top trends with dolly kei, a Japanese aesthetic inspired by antique dolls.
25, 4 Chome, Jingumae, 35, Shibuya, Tokyo; +81 3-3405-4562
We're pretty sure you've seen that red-framed, now-cult-favorite logo around. Operating out of a teeny-tiny shop in the predominantly-residential Nakameguro district, Have A Good Time is a boutique store known for books, art, music, and an assortment of knick-knacks that the team collects on their travels. The store also stocks a few independent clothing labels as well as its in-house brand which, following a series of collaborations with names like Beams and Isetan, has garnered a dependable following amongst Tokyo-underground aficionados.
1 Chome-2-14 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0061
Not exactly a hidden gem, but a Tokyo sartorial must-visit! Like its iconic British namesake, Dover Street Market Ginza is the physical manifestation of Rei Kawakubo's signature Comme des Garcons aesthetic; a weird and wonderful world unlocking the tactile and visual elements of Japanese fashion retail. Expect striking art displays, unheard-of niche labels, and the all-encompassing notion that you’re experiencing something totally, completely unique.
Ginza Chuo-Ku, Ginza Komatsu West 6-9-5, Tokyo 104-0061,
Studious is a carefully-curated department store that specializes strictly in Japanese brands. Labels such as Number (N)ine, John Undercover, White Mountaineering and Jam Home Made are proud features here, all displayed in a pristine, well-lit space.
3 Chome-38-1, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022
Revered Japanese retailer United Arrows & Sons’ Beauty & Youth Cat Street location, opened in late 2016, is a women’s-only store specializing in the brand’s own flagship labels as well as offerings from a select number of likeminded names. Think simple, easy-to-wear, understated garments that blend into every well-dressed Tokyo lady's everyday wardrobe. Fuss-free style!
1F, 5-17-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Reflective of its Shibuya geotag's bustlingly bright environment, Candy/Fake Tokyo stocks some of the scene's most hyped brands to pair with over-the-top outfits few would dare wear in public. This fine fusion of crazy and cool is what keeps 'em coming back for more, though; a favorite amongst celebrities the world over, expect household names like Gosha Rubchinskiy, Hood By Air, and PHENOMENON posed alongside burgeoning labels 99%IS- and D.TT.K.
18-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042
Founded in 2008 by Hiroyasu Fukuzawa, this concept store offers a selection of sophisticated brands from home and abroad in an unassuming space that channels both Parisian chic and light-wood Japanese influences. Find garments and lifestyle items from the likes of DIGAWEL, Maison Margiela, Scye, and UNUSED placed meticulously throughout the airy space! Across the street is the more spacious 1LDK “apartments” location, great for an assortment of women’s clothing and home decor, alongside books and some jewelry.
1-8-28 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0051
An airport signboard displaying the latest arrivals greets customers at the front, a prelude to garments by ACRONYM, Y-3 SPORT, OAMC, ARC’TERYX VEILANCE, Raf Simons, and Comme des Garcons Homme Plus. Eliminator’s own retro-inspired collaborations with the likes of Umbro hang neatly on the racks as well, alongside rare sneakers, books and steel accessories (many of which are exclusive to the store).
26-13 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0033