5. Hipster Heaven in Shimokitazawa
If your heart palpitates for vintage gear, you'll be gushing as you explore every corner of Shimokitazawa. The area, which exudes a chill and artsy vibe, is filled with shops that offer predominantly vintage finds. One famous stop would be Mode Off, where expensive fashion label items—think Ferragamo!—sell for under ¥3,000, with some pieces in mint condition selling for only ¥500.
While many shops here sell secondhand stuff, a few stores also offer items with price tags still attached. This is also the place to find LP records, shabby chic home items and one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces. A day in "Shimo" would be time well spent—especially if you also get to enjoy the area's famous soup curries (Magic Spice and Nan Station are personal favorites!) in-between shopping. And don't forget the hip cafés tucked away in Shimo's various nooks and crannies!
4. Treasure-Hunting in Treasure Factory
Treasure Factory outlets abound within the 23 wards of Tokyo and beyond, with branches ranging from those that sell only secondhand fashion goods to those that sell furniture and even home stuff.
Treasure Factory is the perfect place to find seasonal clothes because the shops offer great value for your money. Imagine finding the usually expensive Tsumori Chisato spring cardigans for under ¥1,000, and getting Lowrys Farm sweaters for about the same price.
"T-Fac" regularly refreshes stock, and a weekly trip will still guarantee a new find. The bigger branches have furniture and kitchenware as well. If not for the problem of storage space, you could surely hoard Le Creuset stoneware pieces that sell here for only one-tenth of the standard retail price!
3. Cute Finds in CouCou Jiyugaoka
You may know that Jiyugaoka is the place for everything posh and pricey, but you probably don't know there's an affordable ¥300 haven in the area called CouCou.
While ¥100 shops like Daiso, Seria and Can☆Do—not to mention ¥300 specialist 3Coins—all have cheap stuff, the items in CouCou are cut above the rest. They even have home décor, baking supplies, wood and tin items and made-in-Japan dining ware that the other shops don't offer. So if you happen to be in Jiyugaoka to have coffee with a friend, pass by this shop and it's almost certain you won't leave empty-handed!
2. Secondhand Electronics in Akihabara
Right now I'm typing using a secondhand Macbook Air that would have cost me only ¥10,000 more if I'd bought in my home country, where the cost of living is a lot lower than it is in Japan. I got it from Sofmap, a very reliable shopping chain for secondhand electronic goods and gadgets in Akihabara.
Akihabara may be known for video games, anime, maid cafés and AKB48, but really, Akihabara's Sofmap is a shopping destination in itself. Each Sofmap branch has a huge variety of items, not to mention very honest salespeople who'll tell you upfront the upside and downside of every item you consider buying. Thanks to Japan's high standards for quality and customer service, secondhand shopping is generally quite safe, making Sofmap the place to be if you're up for techie-shopping sans the hefty price tag.
Of course, if you'd like to check out a few other shops—as well as a full list of Sofmap locations—take a look at the link below!
1. Shop-Hopping on the Streets of Isezakicho
There's something about the old street of Isezakicho that makes it downright charming. The bonus is that it's also a good place for shopping for cheap finds.
Block after block, you'll discover that the entire street has everything from secondhand clothing shops (like EcoWearMarket) to secondhand appliance shops, pre-loved luxury items and pre-owned books and gadgets.
Score deals like a 20-kilogram suitcase for ¥3,000, or an old yukata (summer kimono) for less than ¥2,000. Formal blazers sell for ¥500 in some shops, while some tops go for as low as ¥300. Some stalls also sell bicycles, or even pots and pans. The street also has the usual establishments that don't sell secondhand items, but sell stuff that's already cheap, like Daiso, Uniqlo, GU and Don Quijote.
Should you tire from shopping, the street is also lined with interesting food shops like Temma curry and cafés like Mameya, which features coffee from around the world. Although Isezakicho is actually south of Yokohama Station, just outside of Tokyo, it's only an easy 45-minute train ride from Tokyo Station.