Surprisingly, this crowded alley on the west side of Shinjuku station is the one of the best places in Tokyo for authentic local cuisine. On Omoide Yokocho you can satisfy your craving for just about every kind of Japanese food. From sushi and soba to yakitori and izakaya, there’s a wide choice here. There are also plenty of places to enjoy a drink in the area; we recommend heading to Albatross bar. Set over three tiny storeys, this is a funky place with a large chandelier dominating the bar area. If you’d rather stick to non-alcoholic beverages head to charming Tajima-ya coffee shop instead.
Probably the most famous street in Tokyo, if not the whole of Japan, Takeshita-dori is renowned as the birthplace of many trends including the Harajuku fashion scene. Here you can expect to find the latest in young fashion from every tribe, from kawaii to goth, steampunk and more. We recommend paying a visit to Milk to invest in ultra-feminine Lolita-inspired pieces. If you’re feeling brave, ACDC Rag is where to head for avant-garde items; think metallic skirts, cartoon-print leggings and hoodies complete with furry animal ears. Even if you don’t buy anything, this is a great store to browse.
Located in the Akihabara area, which is also known as Electric City, Chuo-dori is the place to head to if you’re looking for anime (or Japanese animation) memorabilia, electronics and Japanese photo booths, or purikura. Every Saturday and Sunday Chuo-dori is closed to traffic, making it much easier to browse the busy street. We suggest heading to Don Quijote, a one-stop shop where you can find just about anything you could ask for, as well as a lot of unexpected items too. The fact you can buy a camera in the same place as a Japanese schoolgirl costume is a testament to the inimitable character of Tokyo.
If you’re after souvenirs, Nakamise-dori should be your first choice. It forms the approach to Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensō-ji, and is the best place to pick up an authentic piece of Japanese craftsmanship. Numerous stalls line the little street, many dating back to the 17th century, so you can find just about any traditional Japanese item you might want here, from wooden clogs and paper dolls to chopsticks and fans. These are ideal presents for your loved ones back home.
For luxury fashion, you should to head to Omotesandō. Lined with lush trees, this avenue is home to the world’s most sought-after luxury brands, from Chanel and Louis Vuitton to Alexander McQueen, Maison Margiela and many more. Omotesandō is often compared to London’s Bond Street and the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It’s the perfect place to pick up a new designer handbag or classic watch. Many of the buildings have been designed by award-winning architects, so even if you’re not in the mood to shop it’s a great place for photos and sightseeing.