Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.
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Thrift shopping is fun! Not only is it good for the environment to give perfectly fine clothing a second lease on life, but the recently blowing up vintage culture and clothing can also give you a fashionable edge. It’s not likely that you’ll see someone else who is wearing the same clothes as you, and second hand shopping allows you to be creative without the constraints of what is currently ‘popular’. And let’s not forget that purchasing thrift shop items is usually very friendly on the wallet too. High-quality brand items can often be purchased for a fraction of their original price! Tokyo has its fair share of second hand clothing shops, and most of them are concentrated in certain areas. Let us introduce the 5 best areas for thrift shopping in Tokyo: Shimokitazawa, Koenji, Harajuku, Shibuya, and Kichijoji.
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1. Vintage Shopping in Shimokitazawa
Situated in the western part of central Tokyo, Shimokitazawa is probably the most famous destination for vintage shopping. Besides clothing, you can also find other (sometimes rare) second hand items here such as records and art. The area is also known for its many cute cafes, so you can easily make a day out of it by going shopping and eating. And if you fancy some live music in the evening, one of Shimokitazawa’s many live music venues will definitely have something that suits your taste.
The underground shop Florida specializes in men’s clothing, sneakers, and funky accessories. If you are looking to browse through a large variety of clothing from all eras, New York Joe Shimokitazawa is the place to go. Going here feels a bit like a treasure hunt because of the sheer number of items! Not the cheapest but with a high chance of finding something rare and special is HAIGHT & ASHBURY, where you can also find many original items from the US. ROSE Shimokitazawa is another great option that mostly sells various different kinds of clothing for women.
2. Thrift Stores in Koenji
Only one station away from retro and subculture paradise Nakano is local neighborhood Koenji, which is famous for its annual Awa Odori traditional dance festival. Over the last 50 years, Koenji has become a magnet for all that’s hip and retro-style fashionable. Just like Shimokitazawa, Koenji has its fair share of small live music venues. Koenji can be described as a bit more mature and edgy compared to Shimokitazawa because of its links to punk culture in the 70s.
For some of Tokyo’s most affordable second-hand fashion, you should head over to Furugisho Otora right next to Koenji Station. They sell clothing for men and women including kimonos at a bargain price. With not just one but two shops right next to each other, Safari 1st Shop and Safari 2 are a true paradise for vintage lovers who are looking for something that’s just a bit different to what you see on the main streets. They have everything you would expect like Japanese-style souvenir jackets (‘sukajan’), military wear, denim, and 80s/90s fashion. Used & New Shinto is a small shop that offers friendly service and reasonable prices as well as lots of discounted items. Largo Koenji is a must-visit for people who are interested in a great selection of men’s oversized clothing.
3. Second Hand Fashion in Harajuku
Quirky Harajuku is especially known for its vibrant youth culture and colorful main street Takeshita Dori. There are many small galleries with exhibitions by yet to be discovered young artists. Food and drink trends are also often seen in Harajuku before other places. But one of the coolest things about this famous part of Tokyo is the narrow back streets where all kinds of interesting shops including vintage stores are tucked away.
At KILO SHOP Laforet Harajuku you choose what you want, weigh it, pay for it by weight and take it home with you. Needless to say you can make some great savings here! Santa Monica Harajuku is an American West-Coast style second hand clothing store for women on fashionable Cat Street. The shop space is pretty, and the clothes they curate tend to be more colorful than what you usually see in other Japanese stores. KINJI Harajuku is one of the biggest vintage shops in Harajuku, so if you are in the mood for an extensive shopping session, this is the place to go. This is one of the best shops to visit if you are looking for gently used designer clothes for a great price.
4. Used Clothing Shops in Shibuya
Lively and bustling Shibuya is known all over the world for its busy scramble crossing and locally for being the most popular spot to go drinking and clubbing for the younger crowd. The area also boasts plenty of restaurants and other entertainment such as cinemas, billiards, galleries, and live venues. Shibuya is also a great shopping destination with many large international chains represented as well as popular local brands.
When it comes to thrift shopping, you can have a ball in Shibuya. Tucked away in a residential building is Grace Shibuya, a store that is dedicated to American vintage clothing, shoes, accessories, and miscellaneous goods. Another well-hidden thrift store is oz.vintage, where the emphasis is on dressy, colorful clothing. If long dresses are your thing, you should definitely check out this shop. SebasTian is right in between Shibuya, Harajuku, and Omotesando, and this is where the classic American 50s and 60s style lovers come to get their fix.
5. Treasure Hunting in Kichijoji
Only 15 minutes from central Tokyo’s western areas is Kichijoji, which has been voted the most desirable place to live in Tokyo many times. It is not only a comfortable city to live in, but tourists like to make the trek west to the beautiful Inokashira Park (especially during cherry blossom season) and the lovely Ghibli Museum which is a must-do for all Studio Ghibli fans.
For thrift shopping, many people head to dracaena NORTH Kichijoji, a rustic shop with a wide variety of local as well as international vintage clothing. Flamingo Kichijoji sells mostly pastel colored clothing that blends in well with Tokyo’s streets, and their assortment is well-sorted so it is easy to find items that match. Anyone can find something to their liking at Amber Lion, which mainly sells original and reworked American items.
Shopping Tour in Tokyo
For families who are coming to Tokyo and are interested in shopping in Harajuku and Omotesando, we offer a 3-hour specialized shopping tour in one of Tokyo’s hottest shopping areas. An experienced local guide who knows the area inside and out will take you and your family to all the most popular as well as interesting hidden spots in the neighborhood, and of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to buy cool items including second hand fashion.
We also offer other tours in Tokyo such as private highlight tours, a fun and educational Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour, as well as an Asakusa local food bar hopping tour. No matter which tour you choose, you will always be matched up with a fun, knowledgeable, and experienced local guide. We hope that you can make it to Japan and check out some of the best areas for thrift shopping in Tokyo!
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