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A fashion writer’s guide to exploring Tokyo’s iconic districts



Travel Tip: A currency conversion calculator and a list of European product rates is always useful for vintage shopping to score a great find. If you’re looking for an equally diverse selection, head to Atlantis Vintage at Koenji Pal shopping street in Suginami City, a 30-minute train ride away. Ask to be guided by Yuji, their international store manager and a crowd favourite with a fan base on Instagram and YouTube.

Shibuya, for iconic Japan-owned brands

When in Shibuya, you’ll find the things to do in Tokyo a straight-up comparison to New York City’s Times Square, the spirit is electric. Here, witness the iconic Shibuya scramble crossing — a busy pedestrian intersection teeming with millions of people from every corner of life, flanked by some of Japan’s best luxury brands.

Where to shop:

Comme des Garçons & Junya Watanabe — If you want to see how Rei Kawakubo and his protégé’s minds work, head to the store where the magic happens.

Yohji Yamamoto — Consider this a gallery of the master and do it for the memory.

Muji — The multi-level Muji store in Shibuya is sure to loosen your purse strings with the best stationery, but it’s worth it. If you’re lucky enough to get a reservation, stay at the Muji Hotel.

Onitsuka Tiger — A no-brainer for sneakerheads

Where to Eat: Ichiran Ramen, for its celebrated bowls and broths

Travel Tip: To view the Shibuya Crossing from a unique vantage point, book the Shibuya Sky experience in advance, and select the 5:30 pm slot to capture the sunset.

Harajuku, for the most innovative street style

In sharp contrast to the rest of Tokyo’s subdued palette, Harajuku is an alternate universe that brings out the city’s eccentric side. On entering the streets of Harajuku, your eyes are in for a treat — from Kawaii-inspired fashion to punk and gothic styles, the rule is that there are no rules.

Where to shop:

Laforet Harajuku — Spot local and emerging Japanese brands within this eight-storey shopping complex, and grab a local delicacy there too.

Tokyu Plaza — At the intersection of Harajuku and Omotesando, you’ll find Tokyu Plaza, known for its Instagrammable kaleidoscope entrance portal. The plaza has several international and local brands to shop from.

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