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Japan Shopping October 2014 Help!

post #1 of 10
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 10

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 10
Thread Starter 
That's great 1989, thank you very much
post #4 of 10

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 10
I will be in Osaka and Kyoto 4-7 October. Will appreciate any shopping recommendations for either city. Thanks,
post #6 of 10



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 10
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 10

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!

post #9 of 10
Okay, so no bread crumbs for me to follow so I'll leave a trail.

I had 5 free hours in Osaka and learnt about Shinsaibashi, a district of high-end retail shops. Having only the address of the Beams store I exited the subway at Shinsaibashi station and found an English speaking subway employee who provided me a neighbourhood map and pointed me in the right direction. On my walk to Shinsaibashi I visited the the shops of JM Weston, Berluti, and Regal (a well-known Japanese shoemaker); all shops on street level. I also stopped at a tailor shop named either Strasborg or Strausborg that sells Edward Green shoes; the men's store is on the 2nd floor and the women's store is on the ground level. (A word of warning. The sidewalks are also used by numerous bicyclists who pass you at a fast pace with no warning such as bell, horn, or voice. I almost was creamed a few times. For you pervs who enjoy up-skirt panty viewing many of the female cyclists oblige by wearing quite high miniskirts.) Key landmarks to look for are the Louis Vuitton, Max Mara and Dior shops. The Dior shop is a key one to locate because the Shinsaibashi covered shopping arcade / pedestrian mall is the lane behind it. There are several hundred shops in the arcade.

First up is United Arrows in the Daimaru Department Store - there are 3 buildings and United Arrows is located at the North building: . United Arrows has several boutiques in this store. The main men's one is on the ground floor,and there is also another men's boutique on the 2nd or 3rd floor. After you purchase your items, and you have your passport with you, go the the tax refund office on the 5th floor. You'll get 5% back. Be prepared to queue.

Continuing my stroll (I'm assuming south) in the Shinsaibashi pedestrian arcade I found these shops that may interest you.

1) Journal Standard,

2) Urban Research,

3) Rose Bud, . Mostly women's clothing but a small selection of men's.

4) RL Denim and Supply. Yes, this is RL's low-end stuff, and quite pricey, but the store was impressive.

5) Wego, This is multi-floor and very cheap store. There is one entire floor of vintage clothing if that's your thing. I recall used Dr. Martin's boots are priced at approx. $75.

Once you reach the river you're finished with the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade, but there's still plenty to see all over the place if you have the time. Walk one block to the main street that runs parallel to the arcade, I believe this is Mido-suji street. Walk north (back to the Dior shop where you started) and you'll find the Beams Store. This store is definitely worth your visit, They gave me a 5% discount right at the counter for being a foreigner; the clerk said if I'd take my receipt to the Daimaru Department Store I'd also get the tax refund, but I didn't have time to do that again.

I didn't have time to dig into Umeda, Namba and Amerika-mura. What I read there seems to be much to be found in those areas too.
Edited by curzon - 10/4/14 at 9:51pm
post #10 of 10

Hello Curzon, thanks for all the information. I see now that I got you mixed up with the OP in my previous post—apologies. I hope to go to Beams Tokyo this Sunday; first time visit as I only found Beams International when I was in Tokyo last. Thanks!

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