Having recently returned from my third visit to Tokyo, I felt it would be good to add the new stores I went to and can recommend to this list.
It’s a great city for shopping, particularly in the little quiet streets behind Harajuku and Omotesando. Many of these places are tucked away in there.
Below is the original post from 2017, but with 12 new shops added at the top of the list, above the 15 originally included.
Tokyo is arguably the most varied, creative and stimulating retail experience in the world.
Not only is the city huge, but each area has a distinct feel and atmosphere, reflected in its shopping.
There are small, niche brands everywhere, as well as workshops and artisans. Many of those are unique to Japan, but even the designer brands up their game – often with striking stores and developments.
There are simply too many to list here, but these 15 should provide a good starting point for the sartorial shopper. And as with previous guides, we have focused on stores that are pretty much exclusive to Tokyo.
I recommend looking up the various stores on the map and grouping them into areas: the size of Tokyo means it could take a while to get from one area to another.
And once in an area, whether glitzy Ginza or funky Daikanyama, take the time to wander around and see what else pops out. You might wander into Tsutaya books, for example, and end up whiling away most of the afternoon.
It’s also worth saying that unlike London, most bespoke artisans are in small studios on the first or upper floors of buildings. They don’t have a storefront, as they usually don’t offer ready-to-wear, and you should try to make an appointment in advance.
New 12 stores, 2019:
Anatomica is one of the most remote stores listed in this guide, being a few stops north of the centre, tucked down the side of a canal.
I think it’s worth the visit though. The combination of French and Japanese creative directors means the clothes are a fascinating mix of cultures and styles, with berets and traditional Japanese handkerchiefs alongside original workwear designs.
Although the shop carries Drake’s and John Smedley, 80% of the designs are original and Anatomica branded – including long linen work coats, short collarless ones with cloth-covered buttons, and T-shirts with double-thickness panels across the chest, inspired by French military shirts.
There is also a branch in Paris, so worth visiting that one if you travel to France more often. If not, do visit the Tokyo store.
2 Harajuku vintage: Fake Alpha, Berbejin, Vostok
Japan has a justified reputation for being great for vintage clothes. Over the years, Japanese buyers have obsessively bought up American vintage in particular, and in their stores they rigorously categorise and list every era and design variation.
There are three stores in close proximity behind Harajuku in Tokyo, which are part of the same group: Fake Alpha, Berbejin and Vostok. There is also a grouping in Nakano City (including Jack Road vintage watches) that’s a little further out.
All three shops are quite small, and the range might seem a little disappointing at first glance. But put together, the range is good.
Fake Alpha does more of the high-end denim and workwear, Berbejin carries this and more sportswear (premium pieces are downstairs) and Vostok has cheaper things, including band T-shirts.
Beware though, nothing is cheap. Vintage 501s (all labelled by their precise model type) range from £300 to £3000 for the very rarest.
3 Vintage eyewear: Solakzade, Gig Lamps
Not far away from these, out on the commercial shopping strip of Omotesando, is vintage jewellery and glasses specialist Solakzade.
The shop is not immediately obvious – it’s on the basement floor down a small flight of steps – and is a stone-and-gold cavern inside.
Run by Tatsuya and his brother, the range is eclectic, everything from the nineteenth century to the 1970s. But everyone there knows the stock inside out, and it’s worth talking to them about styles if you have even just a passing interest in old frames.
Upstairs is men’s jewellery, but this can also be discussed and accessed downstairs. Also worth a look is Gig Lamps Eyewear, in Meguru City – a few metro stops away.
4 Workwear: Time Worn Clothing, The Flat Head, Full Count
Tokyo has full stores for many of the Japanese workwear brands that are obsessively followed in the US and Europe, such as Full Count and The Flat Head.
They have many things in common, with the range focusing on denim, leather and vintage-style sportswear. But just as with sartorial clothing, each has its own, subtle character, and products that are particularly sought out.
Full Count, for example, is particularly known for its jeans, being one of the famous Osaka 5 that pioneered Japanese denim in the 1990s. The Flat Head is more motorbike-orientated, and I personally buy their slim-fit circular-knitted T-shirts and brushed flannel shirts.
Time Worn Clothing is less well known and not always the friendliest to non-workwear obsessives, but has a big following for its At Last denim brand and Butcher sportswear.
Yoshihito Kinoshita runs this Italian tailoring shop in Aoyama, and is interesting for being one of the few offering the style as a small store in Tokyo – a city dominated by the bigger department stores.
Kinoshita wears a lot of La Vera Sartoria Napoletana, but sells under his own brand, and hosts the occasional trunk show from the likes of Sartoria Solito.
6 Nakata Hangers
It won’t surprise most readers to learn that there is a Japanese brand taking hangers to a particularly high level. Here it is Nakata Hangers, a 70-year-old family business that supplies many of the country’s brands and department stores, but in recent years has also focused on selling particularly high-end pieces to end consumers.
The stand-out pieces are those made of a single piece of wood (unlike the vast majority, which have a seam in the middle). And the top end involve lacquer work and hand painting.
The shop in Minato City is more set up for wholesale than retail, but if you want beautiful, unique hangers for your bespoke tailoring, it’s worth a visit to see the products in person.
Sarto is an interesting business. Essentially an alterations tailor, it has grown to the point of having several branches, altering and repairing everything from suits to leather jackets, trunk shows with the likes of B&Tailor and Craftsman Clothing, and even its own in-house shoemaker.
The workshop is next door to the first-floor shop, and the best tailors as well as brands send their pieces there to be repaired.
It’s not a retail destination, but if you need anything repaired or altered, it’s certainly the first place everyone would recommend.
Original 2017 list:
Department stores in Japan do things very well, from the brand mix to the merchandising. But the thing that will set them apart for most readers is the presence of bespoke and made-to-measure clothing, from all around the world.
Isetan is worth seeing for the pure department-store experience, but also make sure to visit the made-to-measure area (above), and look out for any trunk shows going on at the time. Oh, and there’s a whole building just for menswear.
Strasburgo takes this a step further. With a more select range, and slightly more sartorial approach than the other department stores, it has several branches around the city.
I recommend the Minami Aoyama branch, for both the RTW selection and the Tailor’s Lab (above) that was established here on the third floor a couple of years ago. There you will find a workshop housing artisans such as shirtmaker Masanori Yamagami and tailor Noriyuki Higashi (Sartoria Domenica). Trouser-maker Igarashi also started out here.
10 Beams F and International Gallery Beams
Beams is also a smaller, more curated store (or rather, series of stores) and is worth visiting for both the taste level and the comprehensiveness of great American and European brands.
It never fails to depress me how many great Italian brands, for example, don’t get stockists in London. New York is better, but Tokyo is the best. Both stores mentioned here are worth a visit: Beams F for more sartorial European brands, and International Gallery for more casual and designer clothing.
Compared to the stores above, Tomorrowland is more fashion-focused, but the men’s side tends to be fairly classic and have some interesting variants on menswear staples.
It carries its own brand as well as range of others, including Acne Studios, Dries Van Noten and James Perse. It also opened a branch in New York’s Soho a couple of years ago, so is no longer exclusive to Japan.
12 Bryceland’s Co
Bryceland’s Co is a niche menswear store opened in 2016 by Ethan Newton, one of the founders of cult menswear store The Armoury in Hong Kong. It mixes soft Italian tailoring with American workwear, with a good deal of vintage pieces to purchase as well.
Ethan has a very particular outlook on both design and fit, with jackets tending to be large in the sleeve and chest to give a classic, masculine look. Also worth highlighting are the Saint Crispin’s shoes and Ambrosi trousers. Tailor Anglofilo works out of the back.
More on Brycelands here
13 Bespoke shoemakers: Yohei Fukuda, Marquess and others
Japan has a huge number of bespoke shoemakers, perhaps more than the whole of Europe combined. They are largely young, working in small workshops, and good value for money – though the small size can mean there are long waiting times. Most importantly, their quality is amazing, often excelling those European masters they learnt from.
There are too many to try and recommend any specifically, but it is certainly worth trying to see Yohei Fukuda (above) and Shoji Kawaguchi, the latter operating under the brand Marquess.
More on Japanese shoemakers here.
14 Sartoria Ciccio
There aren’t quite as many new tailors as shoemakers in Japan, but the quality of the work is still very high. They are largely influenced by the soft tailoring of the south of Italy, although some also trained in Florence or Milan. English influence is felt only in the older, more traditional tailors.
Noriyuki Ueki, who runs Sartoria Ciccio, trained in Naples and cuts a soft-shouldered suit with a Japanese level of precision. He moved into new, larger premises last year, where you can also see the shoes of Hidetaka Fukaya, a Japanese shoemaker who works out of Florence, Italy.
More on Ciccio here
15 Igarashi and Osaku
There are a couple of workshops making only bespoke trousers worth highlighting: Igarashi and Osaku. Of these two, Igarashi is in the centre of Tokyo and is therefore easier to visit. Osaku works from a small town outside of the city, and comes in for appointments.
There is a similar level of precision to their work as there is with the rest of Japanese craft, and a focus on details such as curved waistbands and neat pick stitching.
Of the bespoke menswear craftsmen listed here, leather master Naoyuki Komatsu probably has the most stellar reputation. He runs a small workshop called Ortus, which does 90% bespoke pieces such as day bags and wallets.
Everything is entirely hand sewn – in fact, Komatsu even goes as far as to make the brass hardware himself, crafting these additions small works of beauty in themselves. Trade mark designs include the ‘music bag’ – a briefcase made of one piece of leather with a brass bar securing the single handle.
Dedicated post on Ortus here.
Those wishing to see traditional Japanese craft in Tokyo should consider visiting Motoji, the most famous of the kimono makers in the city. Although none of the work is done on-site (fabric is produced all round Japan, and tailoring done outside the city), the shop, its bolts of cloth and finished kimonos are a virtual museum of craft in themselves.
Keita Motoji, son of founder Komei Motoji, is doing much to increase awareness of both Japanese kimono traditions and the weavers they use in different parts of the country.
Shifting our focus from tailoring to workwear, Okura is a great stop for anyone that loves indigo-dyed clothing.
The shop in the Daikanyama area of Tokyo is stocked floor to ceiling with indigo-dyed jackets, T-shirts, sweatshirts and kimonos, both from brands like Blue Blue Japan and cheaper variations not made domestically. Look out for pieces in sashiko cloth in particular.
Around the corner from Okura is a tiny outlet for UES, a Japanese brand inspired by the lack of waste – of wearing, repairing and re-using – in traditional Japanese and American clothing. (The word ‘ues’ is a Japanese pronunciation of ‘waste’.)
Specialist pieces include western shirts, deck jackets, chinos and T-shirts made from a mix of standard organic cotton and Desi cotton. Make sure to take advice on sizing, as pieces can be either ‘shrink to fit’ or made to grow out with wear.
20 45 RPM
This is largely included for the beauty of the shop itself, although I’m sure there will be fans of 45 RPM’s denim and workwear that want to visit the mothership as well.
Located in a largely residential area of Tokyo, the store is up a small path that is easy to miss. At the end is a wooden Japanese home, raised off the ground, that you have to climb a steep set of stairs to access. Inside customers must take off their shoes (as in some other Japanese stores, or changing rooms), don slippers and browse the handful of beautiful rooms. There is both men’s and women’s clothing, mostly with an influence of denim and indigo dyes.
21 Ring Jacket
Ring Jacket is the first Japanese tailoring brand to have achieved serious recognition around the world, largely thanks to the promotion of The Armoury in Hong Kong and New York. There are two stores in Tokyo, in Ginza and Aoyama, and it is also stocked in Isetan.
The style is Italian and soft-shouldered, although there is a range of models (a decent reason to visit one of the standalone stores rather than just Isetan) and they also offer accessories and leather goods, all with rather Italian styling as well. The tailoring is well made and good value, particularly in Japan compared to imported Italian brands.
22 Arts & Science
Arts & Science is a small chain of stores in Tokyo founded by stylist Sonya Park. It is an interesting crossover between Japanese crafts and modern, minimal sensibilities, with accessories, menswear and womenswear.
Although the clothing offering is pretty small, it is a good place to find unusual (if expensive) homewares and accessories, in simple styles and colours. Look out for loose linen jackets, wooden boxes and leather pouches. We recommend both the Aoyama or Daikanyama branches.