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The Ultimate Guide to Thrift Shopping in Tokyo,Japan

Published on
April 25, 2024
The Ultimate Guide to Thrift Shopping in Tokyo,Japan
What is the mountain range that separates europe and asia?

The mountain range that separates Europe and Asia is the Ural Mountains.

what city of south asia is a world-renowned launching ground for treks in the himalayas?

The city in South Asia that is world-renowned as a launching ground for treks in the Himalayas is Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

What is the highest mountain in Asia?

The highest mountain in Asia is Mount Everest. It stands on the border of Nepal and China's Tibet Autonomous Region in the Himalayas and is the tallest peak globally, reaching an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level.


When most people think of Tokyo, images of glittering skyscrapers, neon-lit streets, and ancient Buddhist temples likely come to mind. If you're anyone like me, you'll know that behind that all that glitters to the eye is a world that sets you back in time. Tokyo has another side to it, giving life to timeless vintage classics and retro-inspired items from years back that will make you nostalgic as you go through each store. Each item you find in a thrift store is like a part connected to a certain era, it's like you are experiencing history as it happened!

The Tokyo Thrift Store Culture

Thrift Sopping in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo has always had a special spot in my heart. Aside from the usual tourist sites like the Tokyo Skytree and the culture of Japan which is adored worldwide, it also is a gateway to another dimension: the world of thrifting. It is amazing that despite its modern reputation, Tokyo embraces slow, sustainable fashion through its numerous thrift and vintage shops. Areas like Shimokitazawa, Koenji, and Kichijoji have become hotspots for finding hidden treasures on their winding streets.  I never wanted to leave Tokyo again after shopping in these areas!

When you go shopping in Tokyo, the best part is it is family-friendly. All corners are safe and with Japan's reputation of being a low-crime country, you can shop around with your kids and feel safe roaming the streets.

Best Secondhand Items to Buy in Tokyo Thrift Stores

Secondhand Items in Tokyo Thrift Shopping

Let me tell you the best items I have seen while wandering through Japanese vintage and thrift shops. Japanese people have a high standard of quality so you are in good hands if you are concerned about the quality of items sold in Japanese thrift stores. Thrift shopping is also a way to combat fast fashion and its impact to the environment.

  • Vintage Clothing Galore - Whether you're on the hunt for designer brands, or any second hand clothes, you'll find everything from casual tees and jeans to formal kimonos and suits dating back decades.
  • Houseware - Complete your vintage look with funky old home goods like mismatched dishware, lamps, ashtrays and other knick knacks full of retro vibes.
  • Rare Records - If you are looking for music collectibles like vinyl albums, CDs, and DVDs of the past - this is a little trip to heaven for you!
  • Indie Bookstores - You will find great deals on used books here from photography books to literary masterpieces. Who said thrifting in Tokyo is only for fashionistas?
  • Thrifted Instruments - Tokyo is full of second hand stores even for musical instruments. If you're looking for branded guitars, pianos, and other musical instruments, you came at the right place!
  • Artisan Crafts - Handmade accessories, art, accessories, and trinkets by local artisans fill the shops, making for unique souvenirs and gifts.

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Best Thrift Stores in Tokyo - The Best Neighborhoods for Thrift Shopping

Ready for a day of thrifting through Tokyo's best neighborhoods? With convenient public transit, you'll have plenty of time to scour the shops and unearth unique treasures without breaking the bank.  You will find a range of good finds here from luxury goods to local brands, and the best part is if you are traveling with your family, the neighborhoods are all child-friendly and can be reached easily.

KINJI Shimokitazawaten (KINJI 下北沢店)

Kinji Thirft store

Nestled within the vibrant streets of Shimokitazawa lies a true vintage gem - KINJI Shimokitazawaten. As an avid thrifter, I was thrilled to explore this haven for secondhand treasures during my recent visit to Tokyo.

Upon stepping into KINJI, I was immediately struck by the sheer variety of items on offer such as:

  • Retro Jackets
  • Quirky Accessories
  • Vintage Duds
  • Cheap Costume Jewellery
  • Cheap Hawaiian Shirts
  • Tie-Dye Tees

Most items in the men's section were priced under 1,000 yen, and I noticed similar pricing in the women's section as well.

Visiting during the Autumn or Winter months? You might find prices slightly higher due to the abundance of trousers and jackets on sale. However, this didn't deter me from indulging in some seasonal shopping.

One aspect that added to the convenience of my experience was the option to pay by credit card for purchases over 3,000 yen. This came in handy as I found myself eager to snag several unique pieces.

Top of the Hill in Koenji

Top of the Hill in Koenji

Stepping into Koenji, I can finally sense its eclectic energy. The narrow streets are lined with vintage shops, promising nostalgic finds, while colorful street art injects a creative buzz into the neighborhood. Live music spills out from intimate venues, serenading passersby with indie tunes and jazz melodies. Cozy cafes and izakayas invite me to linger over coffee or a pint of craft beer. Amidst this lively atmosphere, Koenji's diverse inhabitants create a welcoming mosaic of creativity and acceptance.

One store I have found in Koenji is the Top of the Hill, which has a reputation for being one of the most popular clothing stores in the area. It offers a blend of American brands like Tommy Hilfiger alongside Japanese fashion streetwear. Their inventory includes:

  • Men’s Apparel
  • Women’s Apparel
  • Hats
  • Glasses
  • Accessories

However, it's important to note that everything in the store comes with a significant mark-up. For instance, Disney t-shirts are priced at 4000Y, and items like jackets may seem cool and vintage but are often marked up considerably higher than their original value. I experienced this firsthand when I bought a jacket, only to find out later that similar ones from the same brand were priced much lower elsewhere. In my case, the jacket I purchased was marked up to 12500Y, whereas similar jackets of the same brand were priced at less than $50. Despite this, Top of the Hill remains a destination for high-end thrifting enthusiasts.

Rag Tag in Kichijoji

RagTag in Kichijoji Tokyo Japan

During my recent exploration of Kichijoji, I found myself completely enchanted by its lively and diverse atmosphere. From the moment I stepped out of the station, I could feel the pulsating creative energy flowing through the streets. It's no surprise that artists, intellectuals, and innovators are drawn to this vibrant community. As I leisurely wandered through its picturesque streets, I discovered charming cafes, inviting izakayas, and captivating boutiques, each adding to the area's distinctive allure. Despite being nestled in the heart of Tokyo, Kichijoji seamlessly integrates nature into its urban environment, with the tranquil Inokashira Park offering a serene retreat. Moreover, the food scene is outstanding, boasting a rich variety of authentic Japanese dishes and international flavors.

But perhaps the highlight of my visit was stumbling upon Rag Tag, a gem of a thrift store specializing in high-grade apparel. This second-hand shop boasts a curated collection of designer brands, both local and international, including:

  • HYKE
  • Acne Studios
  • Chanel
  • Gucci

What's truly remarkable is that they thoroughly clean their clothing before putting it on display, to the extent that one might wonder if they're used at all. And with a supply sourced from a community of brand-conscious locals, the chance of finding limited-edition pieces is incredibly high. Just be prepared for the price tag, which tends to average around ¥10,000 (~USD95.84) per item.

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Guide to Thrifting in Tokyo, Japan

Thrifting in Tokyo
  • Go mid-week to avoid crowds. Tokyo is already a busy area brimming with tourists, it is a good idea to at least lessen the "competition" with the locals by going on a weekday.
  • Be prepared to go on foot. Most of the stores are on walking distance from major train lines, do not miss the opportunity to find another hidden gem and wander your eyes through the city to find your shopping haven!
  • Bring cash. Cash is still king in most small stores in Tokyo, but some bigger establishments can take credit cards and debit cards as payment options.
  • Ask for a sizing guide Do note that most clothes cater to the major population in Japan which could be a little bit different from your own country's sizing guide. Do not hesitate to clarify or ask the store assistant to help you.
  • Be careful in handling items. If you go to vintage stores with merchandise that is fragile, you best handle it with extreme care because once you break it, it is considered sold.
  • Take your time going through the racks. Thrift stores in Japan are neatly organized by store attendants but you may find some items in disarray especially if you arrive at the store at a later time. Check the item thoroughly before you purchase
  • Take a "second look" for the item you want. If you already have a piece that you fell in love with, go to another thrift store to compare the price for a better deal! Chances are you can find the same item on another store and you may get a lower price.
  • Respect the culture of thrift shopping. Shopping for second-hand items is not for everyone, it is important to understand that Japan is combating single-use of goods and we should support it in saving the environment.

What’s the Best Thrift Store in Tokyo: Final Verdict

You will never go wrong with thrift shopping in Tokyo. There is always something for everyone in all thrift stores around the metro. Be sure to enjoy the experience and soak in the overwhelming but charming vibe of Tokyo and its colorful thrift store scene. I love every single store in this list and as I’ve said, I personally curated this list for you because I love them all and I enjoyed every moment I spend going through endless racks and hangers of every thrift shop in Tokyo!

The best takeaway from a thrift store escapade is that you are not only saving dollars (or yen) for every purchase of a second hand item that you make - you are also saving the environment by reusing goods that would end up in a landfill otherwise. Enjoy!