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Japan Shopping October 2014 Help!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'll be heading to Japan for 11 days with the wife in a few months. We plan on doing about 4 days each in Tokyo and Kyoto and a couple of days in one other location (recommendations welcome).

I will likely get about 4 hours each in Tokyo and Kyoto on my own that I can use for shopping so I'm looking for a plan to be as efficient as possible.

I live in Zurich and visit London a few times a year so have I have limited access to a bit of Cabourn, Real McCoys, Iron Heart, Flat Head, Buzz Ricksons, Mister Freedom etc. but I'd love to see the full range for some of these.
I'd also like to go to some places that sell a lot of these kinds of brands or similar stuff that is very hard to get hold of outside of Japan.
Brands I'm keen to see in the flesh include Freewheelers, Rolling Dub Trio, VISVIM and Samurai but I'm sure there are lots of others that I'm currently unaware of.

Through searching around online and magazines like Inventory, I can find the addresses of dozens of single brand flagship stores (eg Cabourn and Real McCoys) and interesting multi-brand places like Beams but not knowing Japan, I don't know how conveniently placed they are and how many I would be able to visit in one go.

What I'm looking for is a recommendation of 4 or 5 stores in a particular area that could be walkable from each other in an afternoon, in either Tokyo or Kyoto. Does this info already exist somewhere? Is the superfuture shopping guide worth dropping $20 on? There is so much info on Japanese shopping out there I don't know where to start.

post #2 of 8

I'm excited for you - I love Tokyo. Over the years I've found that the best way to do Tokyo is to hit your 3/4 fave stores and then just wander. It's a great city to explore on foot. I've found some amazing stuff just wandering around. Daikanyama is good for that, for example.


Four hours isn't long, it's going to be tough. That said, based on the brands you mentioned, I reckon Ueno will be your best bet. That's where there's a concentration of shops selling those brands.


You should do it in the afternoon, though - some places will open at 10.00, but many don't open until 11.00 or 12.00. 


Check out these guys on Rakuten:


They have a store in Ueno and you can see the brands they carry - most of what you mention are listed. This is the address in English to put into Google Maps:

4 Chome-7-17 Ueno, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan

There are a few stores like that in Ueno, with lots of denim, down the side of the train tracks.


I'm a big fan of Beams, but they don't really carry the brands you listed.


I can't help with Kyoto - I've never been.


Maybe someone else can chip in with recommendations for Kyoto.


Good luck.


If you have any more questions feel free, I'll help if I can.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
That's great 1989, thank you very much
post #4 of 8

Seems like Harajuku is an area you should visit - Jingumae is the location address - Beans and United Arrows are all there - as well as a few other shops. I would get a guide book to help you around - Superfuture will have done the leg work. Okachimachi near Ueno may also be worth a visit for the denim and street fashion side. Freewheelers is a short walk from Harajuku. Listing up addresses and googling them in advance is the best way to get around. It`s a little more dispersed than you think for the first time visitor.

post #5 of 8
I will be in Osaka and Kyoto 4-7 October. Will appreciate any shopping recommendations for either city. Thanks,
post #6 of 8



You should definiely visit Ueno for the Americaya General Garden Store, as that first reply mentioned. There's also the the Hinoya shops either side and Sun House opposite. I think most of the other stores in that location—under the railway arches—are not worth bothering with ... you will see what I mean once you're there. Four hours isn't very long though, so you're not really going to have time to check shops, say, around Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku as Ueno is about 25 minutes away on the Yamanote line. I was there yesterday, by the way, and after doing Ueno I didn't have the time I thought I would have for much else. (I did get a bit lost later, though.)


Thanks very much!

post #7 of 8
Thanks for the reply. All the places you've mentioned are in Tokyo, are they not? I'll be in Osaka and Kyoto. I appreciate you letting me know 4 hours won't be enough. You think 4 hours and 20 minutes might make it feasible? (I'm there from 4 October to 7 October, which is 4 days.)
post #8 of 8

Yes, all the places I mentioned are in Tokyo. The Yamanote line is the circular overground train line that goes around the centre of Tokyo. I don't think the extra 20 minutes will be of much help; but it depends, I suppose, on where you're starting from and where you have to get back to. Thanks!

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