The Best 9 Thrift Stores in Tokyo, Japan | Solo Female Travel
As a solo female traveller, the one thing that is always a headache for a trip besides planning it is packing for it. What to take? What not to take? We have all spent sleepless nights over it. While in Rome, do as Romans do. So when travelling to a new country, the first thing you must do is to read up what kind of clothes you have to carry depending on the season and also how conservative the country is because as a solo female traveller, the first priority is always our safety.
The same holds true if you are planning to travel to Japan. What you have to pack for your trip to Japan depends on the season, city, etc. It also depends on whether you are visiting a bustling city like Tokyo or strolling through a historical masterpiece of a city like Kyoto. But if you are racking your brains worrying about your luggage for Japan exceeding the desired limit, I have some good news for you. We are all aware that Tokyo is one of the top fashion hubs in the world. So why carry suitcases full of clothes when you can dip your toes in some high fashion there? Worried that the prices are too high? Fret not because, in this blog, I will tell you a little secret about the thrift stores in Japan.
What are thrift stores?
By definition, a thrift store is one where you can buy second-hand clothes at a really reduced price. But if we are talking about thrift stores in Japan, think high fashion but at unbelievable prices. Imagine how much you can impress your friends back home with clothes that look like they have been sewn by some of the best ateliers in the world.
Thrift stores in Japan are almost as frequent as Konbini or convenience stores. And as the capital city, Tokyo absolutely doesn’t disappoint! Entire districts like Harajuku and Shimokitazawa have now blossomed into treasure troves for second-hand and fashionable clothes. Not just thrift clothing, but today as the call for renewable and reusables has become louder, these fashion districts of Tokyo also house clothes made by recycling everyday items.
Thrift stores in Tokyo
Now that we have seen what the meaning of thrift stores is let me tell you some of the hidden gems that you will find splattered around Tokyo. Here are some thrift shops in Tokyo that you should absolutely check out on your solo female trip to Japan:
2nd Street: With over 250 stores all over Japan, 2nd street is what every shopaholic dreams of. Though it is a label haven in all stores, it is the store in Shibuya that will absolutely take your breath away. Even if you are the most nit-picky when it comes to brands and clothes, 2nd street will wow you for sure. Top brands like WTAPS, Supreme, and FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS adorn the racks in the shop, and prices are slashed by almost 80% on some apparel. Not just that, all stocks are brought in fresh almost every week, so you can pop in more than once and find a new style of clothes to take back home.
If fashion chic is not your vibe and you love to rock out some scruffy pair of clothes instead, this is just the place for you. It is a little hole-in-the-wall shop in Shibuya in the capital city that you might miss if you are walking too fast. This low-key but quaint shop is another value for money thrift shop in Tokyo that has some of the best quirky T-shirt collections to pair with your jeans. Check out their Instagram page to know more.
2. Kinji used clothing
This is one of the true treasure troves you can find at Shibuya near the Harajuku train station. This isn’t a shop but rather a warehouse packed to the brim with used clothing. But are you thinking that used clothing means tattered hand-me-downs? If that’s what you are thinking, then you are farthest from the truth. At Kinji used clothing, you might even be lucky to get your hands on a rare pair of Issey Miyaki or even a never-been-worn Christian Dior dress. At this warehouse, you will also find a wide range of sneakers and vintage jackets. The only downside to Kinji used clothing is that since it’s not a shop, sizes may not be available for you as Japanese sizes are very different than the rest of the world. You can catch some of their collection here.
3. Harajuku Chicago
What is a trip to Japan without taking home some colourful kimonos to remind you of the time you visited the land of the geishas. Just outside the Harajuku train stop, there is an outdoor flea market where vintage kimonos are sold. It might not be as easy on the price as some other thrift shops in Tokyo, but the traditional and vintage kimonos are the perfect clothes to take home to gift others and also to pair with your jeans or bodycon dresses.
4. Don Don Down on Wednesday
Don don is a Japanese word that means the sound of something dropping. And if you happen to be in Tokyo on a Wednesday, the sound of something dropping will reach your ears for sure. Correction: the sound of prices for some of the best clothes slashing and dropping. The funny thing about the prices at this store is that every piece of clothing has a fruit or vegetable tag on it, and the longer an item sits on the rack, the cheaper it gets. But it can go both ways. While you may wait for the price of your favourite jacket to come down further, someone else might be snapping it up. Speaking from experience, if you really love something, do not wait for more than a week, or else you will have to kiss it goodbye forever.
I found this store when I Googled best vintage store in Japan even before I boarded my flight to visit the country, and I knew I had to visit this store while in Tokyo. If you are walking down the streets of Shimokitazawa, you cannot miss the huge neon sign of a flamingo. It is almost like it is beckoning you. Similar to Chicago, this shop also houses some of the classiest vintage clothes at an extremely low price.
6. Mujin No Fukuya
Located in the quiet residential area of Nogata, this store which literally translates to ‘Unmanned clothing store’ in English, is quite a different concept. Inside these tiny little shops, you will not find storekeepers or store managers. Instead, you will find racks and racks of clothing crammed up and a vending machine on one side. Each of the clothes is hung on a colour coordinated hanger, and when you decide what you want to buy, all you have to do is refer to the colour chart on the vending machine and pay for it. This is a blessing in disguise to people like me who hates having a storekeeper following me around when I step into the store. But on the other hand, the absence of a storekeeper also means that you have to do everything on your own and there will be no help if needed.
7. Stick out
If you are travelling to Japan on a very strict budget, this is the shop for you. Everything here costs just $5. So it doesn’t matter if it is shoes, vintage t-shirts, or anything else—the price is fixed at just $5. Now, if this isn’t a bargain, I don’t know what is. But on the downside, things at this shop aren’t kept in order. You have to literally hunt down a tornado of clothes and accessories to find what you are looking for. But to be honest, isn’t that a part of the charm of thrift shopping?— being able to sift through a pile of clothing and see what catches your eye.
But don’t be worried because the prices of everything are so low, there is no compromise on the quality of anything available at this store, and there are some hidden gems in here. All you need is patience. So if you really want to enjoy the thrill of thrift shopping, don’t miss out on Stick Out.
8. Number Me
Tucked away in the bylanes of the northern end of Shibuya, Number Me is rooted in upscale aesthetics. You will find all your Diors and Ralph Laurens and Givenchy all under one roof at a price that is unbelievable. Even beyond these world-known brands, this thrift shop in Tokyo houses clothes from local Japanese fashion designers that are cool and chic.
Check out their collection of satin pants, blazers, and pantsuits, which you will hardly find anywhere else in the whole wide world! Apart from their own brand of clothing, this shop also houses curated second-hand clothes that are just for you if you are unwilling to spend much on clothes here. Number Me has something for everyone, and I can promise that it won’t disappoint you.
9. Shimokita market
This little nook is one of those places in Tokyo that you would otherwise pass by without a second glance. But if you do, you might be missing out on a gem in the capital city of Tokyo. If luxury speaks out to you, then this is where you can pack it cheap. Where else in the world can you boast of buying anything for less than a dollar! Yes, you read that right. If you want to get an idea about what you want to buy even before setting foot here, check out their Instagram page for a better understanding. Fashion’s top brands will be screaming at you at prices you will not believe. A browse through the store can reveal hidden gems like a Burberry mini bag for a little over $7 or a Cartier purse for around $25. Mind you—these are authentic as they come.
The one piece of advice I would give you if you are planning to travel to Japan, pack extremely light because you can carry a whole wardrobe back home without burning a hole in your pocket. Tokyo is a huge city with many districts, and each district has its own food, flavour, style, and treasure troves called thrift shops. Keep an eye out for these hidden gems, and let me know below if you have found a thrift shop in Tokyo that you think we should add to our list.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.