Tokyo is in my top three of world’s best cities for vintage shopping. So after spending a week in Japan for 500’s Kobe Pre-Accelerator, I took the bullet train to Tokyo for a few days of intense vintage shopping.
Tokyo is great for a few things. 90s era streetwear (think old school Polo sweatshirts and Fila tracksuits), vintage kimonos, Japanese denim, souvenir jackets (sukajan) and high-end vintage.
I’ve outgrown a lot of 90s streetwear (unless you have a Snow Beach Polo you want to come up off of).
When I set out, I had a few rules:
Don’t buy anything you can easily buy at home. Tokyo has great shopping and I was staying in Ginza, which is the heart of luxury shopping. But I can go to Barneys in San Francisco. It has to be special. So as much as I love Isabel Marant, I skipped it. And even though their inventory varies across cities, I skipped Zara and H&M too.
Have a little self-control. Tokyo is a great place to pick up a vintage kimono, but I just bought one at the Manhattan Vintage Expo about 6 months ago. So as gorgeous as they all were, I had to pass. Instead, I bought two vintage haori — short jackets that are an easy, everyday wear and great to pair with jeans.
Pack light and bring an extra bag. As a point of logistics, when I go somewhere where I plan on doing a lot of shopping, I pack an extra duffel bag. I’m a ‘no checked baggage’ traveler, so I don’t mind checking the extra bag on the way back home.
Pro-tip: I follow stores I’m interested in on Instagram so that I get a sense of their inventory before I get there.
💄VINTAGE QUEEN💄 . 〈@pour_mademoiselle ラメボーダーフレアスカート black〉 12,800yen 〈vintage CHANEL top〉 SOLDOUT 〈vintage CHANEL earrings 〉 108,800yen 〈@pour_mademoiselle ラインストーンチョーカー〉 5,000yen 〈vintage CHANEL chain belt〉 69,800yen 〈vintage CHANEL pearl nc〉 98,800yen 〈vintage CHANEL mini hand bag〉 198,800yen #vintageqoo @pour_mademoiselle
If you’re in the market for a vintage investment piece, there are two places you should go:
Amore Vintage – 5 Chome-39-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Qoo Vintage – 4-3-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo Central Omotesando Room 515
They’re both within a few blocks of each other in Shibuya. Qoo is in a nondescript office building on a side street (I walked past it three times), but go up to the 5th floor, knock on the door, and a salesperson will lead you into a tiny, compact boutique that is the Holy Grail of vintage Chanel along with a smattering of other designer vintage from YSL, Gucci, etc.
Amore Vintage is a mix of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks from the 1800s alongside Ferragamo, YSL, and <drumroll> some select pieces of the highly coveted 2017 Louis Vuitton X Supreme collection.
The great thing about vintage is that you can go low or high or mix it all up. Overall, I chose a small number of unique pieces that I really love now and will always remember as my Tokyo finds.
Tokyo is a great shopping city all around, so I also made sure to hit up Le Labo (for their light and woodsy, only-available-in-Tokyo scent Gaiac 10) and a few paper goods stores for one of my other obsessions — notebooks.
In three days, I made it to Daikanyama, Harajuku, Omotesando, and other pockets of Shibuya and Ginza. If you want an efficient route to jumpstart your vintage crawl, I made this Google Map of some of the best places to shop in Tokyo.