The Travelling Fine Art Photographer

Forget Harajuku - Vintage Shopping in Tokyo

The streets are alive with the colours of vintage

Harajuku and Omotesando are the main streets you hear about if you want to shop in Tokyo. Conveniently located straight out of the train station in Shibuya, opposite Yoyogi park. But If you’re looking for something a little more unique and a little less kitschy, make like the locals and head for Koenji (stop at Koenji station) or Shimokitazawa!

Koenji and Shimokitazawa

Shinjuku - Koenji

  • Take the JR Chuo line (orange) towards Takao from Shinjuku station to Koenji. 
  • 168 yen one way.

Shibuya - Shimokitazawa

  • Take the Keio - Inokaashira line (dark blue) from Shibuya station to Shimokitazawa station. 
  • 126 yen one way.

Both districts are easily reachable from Shibuya station, and as soon as you step your foot on the pavement you’ll be in a maze of winding streets and avenues; streets packed full to the brim of vintage shops and eclectic little eateries.

One of the best little quirks about the place is the little speakerphones that line the streets. We were there in early November and the Christmas music was in full swing, I was overjoyed to hear the She & Him Christmas album so far away from home. Every time I listen to that album it takes me back, whatever time of year. It’s never too early for Christmas music I say!

If you like your vintage straight from the past then look no further. Western stores tend to rework a lot of items to make them appeal to a modern Audience, shortening the hems and removing shoulder pads. For the most part, the dresses around these parts may set you back a ten or two, but they are in their original condition. Floor-length glory, colourful maxi dresses and gowns galore.

There’s also a bunch of little haunts flaunting wares that are a straight-up blast from the past! Tokyo is a fashion capital and you’ll find all sorts of styles here, from full-on baby doll Lolita style, decked out pastels with accessories to match, to full-on gothic!

It was hard not to spend every last penny on the treasures I found here but I somehow managed to curb it at one beautiful Powder Blue puff sleeve dress and a pair of leather frill hem boots. Or maybe I bought three dresses, who can remember…

FYI, there are some super-indulgent foodie spots here too. Just what you need for that hangover. A bit of retail therapy and a really large burger! This is a shopping trip not to be missed! If you can only do one I would suggest Koenji, and be sure to visit a doll of a place aptly named ‘a little trip to heaven.’

Have a super classy trip! I am so jealous

B x

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