Travel 2 minutes 16 June 2024

Tokyo’s Best Neighborhoods for Vintage Clothes Shopping

Discover a different side of Tokyo’s fashion scene

Tokyo by The MICHELIN Guide

See the Tokyo guide

Tokyo is a shopper’s paradise, offering a dazzling array of stores, exquisite products and Japan’s legendary customer service. Chances are you’re already familiar with the youthful energy and creativity of Shibuya fashion, or the chic department stores and luxury brands of the Ginza, but did you know that Tokyo also has a thriving vintage clothing culture?

Vintage and secondhand stores alike can offer visitors a fun shopping experience, with unique, one-of-a-kind items at great prices, while also contributing to sustainability. What’s not to like? Moreover, literally every segment in vintage fashion is covered in Tokyo, with highly knowledgeable shop staff who are passionate about what they do. And if you’re visiting from abroad, you may be able to take advantage of Japan’s tax-free shopping system at some vintage stores, so don’t forget to take your passport on your shopping spree.

ⒸPeera_stockfoto
ⒸPeera_stockfoto

Shimokitazawa

Reached in less than 10 minutes from both Shibuya and Shinjuku Stations, Shimokitazawa is a Bohemian enclave brimming with stores selling vintage clothes, shoes and accessories. And it doesn’t stop at fashion—this is also a great area for secondhand books and records, too. Shimokitazawa—or Shimokita as it is affectionately known—attracts an eclectic mix of students, young professionals, creative types and, increasingly, savvy international shoppers. Stores showcasing vintage streetwear, denim, leather jackets or lacy dresses rub shoulders with colorful accessory shops and quirky cafes. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that Shimokitazawa is known as much for its thriving café culture as the vintage clothing. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, visit on a weekday but take your time getting here, as the vintage shops tend to open at 11am or noon. That said, if you come in the morning, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to check out some cafes before hitting the stores.

Getting there: Access Shimokitazawa Station by taking the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku or the Keio-Inokashira Line from Shibuya.

While you’re there: Take a break from shops at attractive Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine, which is less than 10 minutes on foot from the south side of the station. If you’re visiting in February or early March, check out the plum blossoms at Hanegi Park, a 15-minute walk in the other direction.

Nearby Restaurant:

Chukasoba KOTETSU

ⒸPage Light Studios
ⒸPage Light Studios


Koenji

Another neighborhood that has developed a reputation for vintage and recycle shops is Koenji, just a few train stops from Shinjuku. Compared to Shimokitazawa, Koenji exudes a grittier, more mature vibe with fewer tourists. A lot of the shopping areas near the station are in the form of shotengai—traditional covered streets lined with stores on both sides. The vintage clothing shops are mixed in among small neighborhood business and chain store brands and, in some cases, they are tucked away up on the second floor of another shop. You might have to search a little harder to find the vintage shops here, but there are some amazing bargains once you do. The food offerings in Koenji tend to be hearty and unpretentious, with retro-style Japanese coffee shops, diners serving lunch specials and izakaya (Japanese-style pubs) where the locals flock after work. Koenji was the epicenter of Tokyo’s punk rock scene in the 1970s and early 80, and this legacy is reflected in the area’s thriving “live house” (live music club) scene.


Getting there: Access Koenji Station by taking either the Chuo Line or the Chuo-Sobu Line from Shinjuku.
While you’re there: Located very close to the South Exit of Koenji Station, Koenji Hikawa Shrine is the go-to spot for prayers for good weather. People typically write their prayers on small wooden tablets called ema but the ones at Hikawa Shrine are quite unique. These tablets are shaped like geta (traditional wooden sandals), inspired by a children’s sandal-tossing game used to predict the next day’s weather. If you're in Tokyo at the end of August, don’t miss the extremely popular Koenji Awa Odori Dance, a fun-filled spectacle in which some 12,000 performers parade through the streets around Koenji.

Nearby Restaurant:

Tensuke

ⒸPage Light Studios
ⒸPage Light Studios

Top Image: ⒸPage Light Studio


Travel

Keep Exploring - Stories we think you will enjoy reading