This year, I did most of my holiday shopping online, but there is no disputing Tokyo is an amazing place to buy whatever gift is on your list. Whenever I’m heading back to the U.S. or want to help a visitor find something special to take back with them, I usually head to one of these five places with them:
Hands down, my top department store. Matsuya Ginza offers the best fashion and beauty products (including top Japanese and Korean brands), but the magic really happens downstairs. The bottom two floors are a high-end Japanese grocery and prepared food market where you can find a variety of gift boxes at all price levels. Sweets, rice crackers, cakes, wine and macaron are all down there.
For the minimalist in your life, MUJI is paradise. Their affordably priced home furnishings are stripped of fancy designs but don’t skimp on function. I’ve had my eye on their sleek, white diffuser for a while to add a little more zen to our city apartment. You can also shop fashionable basics like denim, knitwear and shoes. Before you go, check out their selection of packaged treats to try as well.
LOFT is a store I find myself wandering through for unforeseeable amounts of time. The Japanese still love putting pen to paper and the selection of stationary, journals, planners and writing utensils is incredible. But they also have an enormous selection of Asian beauty products like sheet masks and makeup. I went in recently to pick up my new Moleskine planner and left with nail polish, a greeting card and probably something for the bathroom.
Anyone looking to bring home authentic Japanese pottery, chopsticks or other housewares needs to see this shop. My friend Phil introduced me to Ginza Natsuno when he came to visit and I’ve been back a few times since. Multiple floors are overflowing with beautiful handmade products. The staff will also beautifully wrap each of your items, perfect for the wrapping-averse like myself.
Similar to U.S. stores like Michael’s or Bed Bath & Beyond, Tokyu Hands seems to have everything. There is a floor for stationary, a floor for bath products, a floor for home furnishings, a floor for convenient little kitchen gadgets and so on and so on. Another place to easily lose track of time, if I need something random, I can trust Tokyu Hands has it.