Heading To Tokyo? Here's 5 Stores You Can't Miss

Photo: Courtesy of Oribe Shimokita.
When it comes to fashion, Tokyo is a mecca for inspiration, offering up both contemporary trends and unexpected twists on vintage style. Strolling through the city is like hanging outside shows during Fashion Week: You’re constantly exposed to absurd styling (in the best way possible) and surprising color pairings. It's not just the outfits that are innovative, it's the designs you’ll find at shops across town.

Japan’s liberal attitude toward fashion makes it a playground for shopping adventures. And even if you're not interested in decking yourself out in head-to-toe kawaii, you can still find plenty of accent pieces to boost your daily wardrobe. To give you an idea of what you can find in Tokyo’s expansive urban sprawl, we’ve rounded up the best shops for one-of-a-kind, outfit-making pieces. Ahead, you'll find a combination of stores dedicated to showcasing relatively unknown Japanese labels, as well as designers focused on bringing the country's aesthetic back to the market.
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Photo: Courtesy of Xanadu Tokyo.
Xanadu Tokyo
This store trades in up-and-coming designers that are worth keeping an eye on, with lots of futuristic pieces made of unusual materials. It’s the type of place where you’d expect to actually see Vetements on the rack: Among the selection are headpieces made by Kunio Kohzaki, a hairstylist who turns hairpins into striking geometric accessories, and genderless clothes fit for a night out by Noir Fr, a Japanese indie label. With the tagline "dress-up style for all people," Xanadu Tokyo is a must-visit for those in search of avant-garde cuts.

Xanadu Tokyo, 3 Chome-34-7 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo; +81 3-6459-2826.
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Photo: Courtesy of Romantic Standard.
Romantic Standard
Don’t be fooled by the American name — Romantic Standard is a staple of Tokyo street fashion. Everything from clothes to accessories and bags is kawaii, so expect to find ruffled dresses, UFO-shaped bags, animal-head backpacks, shiny platforms, and vintage-inspired pieces. The store is a mishmash of influences, too, from today's trends to dolly kei, a Japanese style inspired by antique dolls.

Romantic Standard, 25, 4 Chome, Jingumae, 35, Shibuya, Tokyo; +81 3-3405-4562.
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Photo: Courtesy of Oribe Shimokita.
Shimokita Oribe
Pottery is one of Japan's oldest art forms, and at Shimokita Oribe you’ll find beautiful, authentic ceramics in a variety of styles. Irregular shapes and imperfections are a hallmark of Japanese design, and Oribe’s selection is filled with pieces that are raw and soft at the same time. If you’re dreaming of a sake set that will stand out, this is the place to snap it up.

Oribe is located in Shimokitazawa, a neighborhood in the western suburbs of Tokyo. With a bohemian vibe and dozens of vintage stores far away from the lights of the middle of the city, it’s the Brooklyn to Shibuya’s Manhattan. (Williamsburg, to be more specific.) Pro tip: Save time to explore this lesser-known alternative shopping district.

Shimokita Oribe, 2 Chome-2-3 Kitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo.
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Photo: Courtesy of Niko And.
niko and...
This quirky, bazaar-style market is a mix of Ikea, Urban Outfitters, and your favorite local coffee shop with a distinctly Japanese style. The flagship store is a two-story lofted interior with a woodsy decor and a warm atmosphere. Right by the entrance, a large communal table welcomes visitors to the café, where you can enjoy free Wi-Fi while sipping on single-origin pour-over.

When you’re ready to shop, you’ll find oversize pieces like samurai pants and wide-leg jumpsuits. On the second floor sit home goods with cool designs, such as Yoka’s line of ultra-light, portable furniture made from plywood. There’s also a plant shop for an extra cozy touch. Personally, I’d kill to find a one-stop shop like this in the United States.

niko and..., 6 Chome-12-20 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo.
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Photo: Courtesy of DOG.
This basement boutique’s entryway looks like the entrance to a sketchy underground warehouse party. And if it were, Lady Gaga and Rihanna would be walking in right behind you — both of them have already shopped there.

The store’s only sign is a tiny black banner, but you’ll know you’ve arrived when you see a mannequin styled in the most creative way possible. This will be your first taste of a huge collection of boldly customized pieces that would find a home at the MoMA just as easily as they would in your closet. Most of them are re-worked by hand by the owner and the employees. Don’t forget to check the second floor, where you can find the most unusual and artistic pieces. Have you ever imagined a vest that looks like an alien life form? Now you won’t have to.

DOG, 3 Chome-23-3 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; +81 3-3746-8110.