Shopaholic Heaven: Shopping in Shinjuku

Lily Crossley-Baxter

Without the high prices of Ginza or the rough and ready areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku is a one-stop shop of department stores and megastores, with every name you’ve heard of and plenty more you haven’t.

shinjuku shopping
Photo by Yoshimitsu Kurooka used under CC

If you need souvenirs, tomorrow’s lunch or just want to go window shopping, Shinjuku is a fantastic place to start, with everything from luxury brands to discount shoes. As the busiest train station in the world, it’s no surprise that there are multiple department stores attached to it, with an entire underground maze as well as countless big-name brands just around the corner. Whether you wander into the overwhelming world of Don Quijote or stroll through the aisles of a tempting depachika, you won’t leave empty handed, so here’s our guide to the best Shinjuku shopping spots to give that hard-saved yen some action.

Department stores

Perfect for browsing fashion, food and perfumes, department stores can really vary from old-fashioned to completely modern!

shinjuku shopping
Photo by Frances Ellen used under CC

Isetan (East)

Founded in 1886, the Isetan department store is easily spotted for its grandeur both inside and out. As the flagship store for the brand, here you can vast arrays of high-end items, from perfume to suits, with a dusting of class liberally sprinkled (probably by the elevator attendants). Known for its eye-catching window displays, especially at Christmas, it is host to plenty of the top name brands you may be familiar with. There is an English support desk on the 6th floor and the depachika (food floor) in the basement (pictured above) is considered to be the best in Tokyo, so treat yourself!


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Lumine (East)

Lumine is a great set of three department stores focused on street fashion and younger styles. Lumine 1 and 2 focus a little more on clothing and accessories while Lumine Est is larger and has a wider array of stores, including HMV and Beams which includes an outlet section. All three have floors for restaurants and are great places for gifts with stationery and beauty products aplenty.

Takashimaya Times Square (South)

With 15 floors and popular names like Tokyu Hands, Disney and Kinokuniya Books, Takashimaya is a great place to go if you don’t know what exactly you’re looking for. The open layout is a refreshing change to stuffy reputation of your grandmother’s department store, and you’ll be able to while away hours (if you have them) wandering from store to store. The top three floors are restaurants, you’ll find a good depachika in the basement and an information booth offering support in English and Chinese on the second floor.

MyLord (South & West)

Great for street fashion and Japanese clothing, MyLord is popular with half of Tokyo’s youth thanks to its 7 floors of young women’s fashion and higher restaurant floors. Inside you’ll find trendy brands such as Jins and Mercibeaucoup as well as smaller names too. There are plenty of subculture clothing stores here, many unknown outside of Japan, so if your tastes are a little more unusual this is a great place for a browse. MyLord is also home to the outdoor alley of Mosaic Street, a small collection of high end and cute souvenir shops found between Keio and Odakyu.

Odakyu (West)

shinjuku shopping
Photo by Nakashi used under CC

Another more old-fashioned department store, Odakyu has big names like Chanel and an entire attached store called HALC for sportswear and electronics. With 16 floors and two basement levels dedicated to food, the department store has everything you could ever need, like expensive perfume, clothes and Sanrio souvenirs. It is aimed at an older demographic however, more aligned with the Isetan store, but delicious food has no age limit at all! An excellent spot to pick up a treat or gaze at the incredibly expensive foods (individual grape anyone? or a bunch for 10,000 yen?) you can easily work up an appetite.

NEWoMan

A newly built hub for female fashion (like the name didn’t give it away), NEWoMan has a collection of high-end brands, salons, clinics and restaurants across 7 floors with a rooftop garden and mezzanine. Attached to the bus station, it’s handy if you have time to kill but is aimed predominantly at a mature audience fashion wise. With cafes like Dean and Deluca as well as an Oyster Bar and Rosemary’s, there’s plenty of places to eat if you’re looking to be a bit fancy.


Megastores

shinjuku shopping



Don Quijote

One of the biggest in Tokyo, the Shinjuku branch is considered the most intense—with a wider range of goods and plenty more insane offers than usual. Located on the corner of the recently renamed Godzilla Street, this branch is open 24 hours a day and sells everything from sex toys to snacks to socks, as well as a few million other things on the side. If you like variety, want some crazy gifts for home or need something unusual, this is your best bet—and it’s a great place to kill some time if you’re waiting for the first train after a night out in Kabukicho!

Address:

Muji

One of the largest stores in Tokyo, you may be familiar with the minimalist brand already—and if not, then what are you waiting for? Known for quality and simplicity, Muji is great for those hipster friends (or your hipster self) as it has everything from notebooks to clothing and household items including some great travel accessories. They offer styling consultation and have a food area and a Cafe & Meal which offers hot lunches and dinners at reasonable prices.

Address: 3-15-15 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 



BICQLO

shinjuku shopping
Photo by IQRemix used under CC

As you may have deducted, this is a combined monster store of Uniqlo and BIC Camera, meaning you can buy everything from Beats headphones to cute Moomins T-shirts and everything in between. With 6 floors of tech and 3 of clothing, as well as alcohol, bedding and beauty products dotted around, this is excellent if you’re looking to make the most of the tax-free element of shopping in Japan with a foreign passport. They have a foreign currency desk, a 7-11 ATM, free wifi, Apple repair service and countless other handy things as well as an ophthalmologist for some reason. The tax-free desk can be found on the 6th floor along with airport delivery services.

Yodobashi Camera

With two large stores in Shinjuku, one East and one West, you’re never far from one of these electronics megastores. The East side store is their flagship, with 13 smaller shops called pavilions that sell much more than the odd Sony or Panasonic. A bit of a sign overkill when you enter the main Multimedia Pavilion, be prepared to have your eyes (and soul) die a little from the pure amount of information hurled at you from each of the 9 floors. If you’re after tech or electronic items then this is where you need to be, with the tax desks heavily signposted. One Pavilion which is especially fun to explore is the Game and Hobby Pavilion – with a myriad of toys and models which will melt the heart of any otaku visitor. Yodobashi also has a great price on Instant cameras if you’re after one, so check out their Repair and Film Pavilion.


High Street shops

Koiki Shinjuku
Photo by Kevin used under CC

With familiar names like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 being a worldwide presence, if you’re after Western sizes or cheap basics these are great places to go, and each has a large store in Shinjuku. For shoes try ABC Mart on the east side of the station or the nearby Attagirl for something more suited to a night out or have a look at our shoe article for more names to look out for.

If it’s souvenirs you’re after and Don Quijote doesn’t quite float your boat, head to a Tokyu Hands or a Loft for a wide range of choices. If you’re after traditional, check out Koiki on Mosaic Street—they have a classier style with cute sumo bath salt, chopsticks and a wide range of beautiful tenugui, the fabric pieces often carrying seasonal designs and perfect for a small lightweight gift.

For sheet masks and all things beauty related, head straight for Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a tax-free beauty store with bargain bins and deals galore.

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