Jimbocho, or 'old book town', gets its name from the 140 secondhand bookstores located in the Kanda area. There are also 30 bookstores specializing in new publications, and nearly 500 publishing houses, one of them being the Isseido Shoten. Since many of Japan's foremost universities are located in this area, this bookstore is even more significant. A trip to Jimbocho wouldn't be complete without a stop at Isseido Shoten, known for an extensive collection of old and rare books and manuscripts. Browse for bargains or just to soak up the rich wealth of stored knowledge. English volumes as well as Japanese editions are available.
Maruzen is one of the major bookstore chains in Japan. The Nihonbashi store is the flagship of the line, located in the center of Tokyo near the Imperial Palace. Maruzen has a voluminous collection of titles in English and of course an almost unparalleled collection of books, CD-ROMs and microfilms in Japanese. There is also a broad selection of periodicals and newspapers in English and Japanese. Photo buffs will find a superb assortment of books in English on photography and the visual arts.
Akihabara refers to the eastern side of the Chiyoda section of Tokyo. A vibrant and trendy hub, it is sometimes referred to as the "Electric City" because of the high concentration of stores selling all things electronic. Find the latest video games, gadgets, iPods, and cameras at Yodobashi Akiba, a nine-story flagship store, or peruse the Tokyo Animation Center where you can watch showings and demonstrations on gaming and animation. Almost every shop here deals with electronics, so the possibilities are endless for technology lovers!
Landmark Tower is located in the ultra modern Minato Mirai 21 development on Yokohama's waterfront. It is Yokohama's showcase community of sleek high-rise buildings, ultramodern shopping malls, museums, hotels, convention centers, office buildings, and homes. There's even an amusement park with a huge Ferris Wheel that's perfect for sightseeing. As Japan's tallest skyscraper, Landmark Tower is the centerpiece for Minato Mirai 21 and is home to the Yokahama Royal Park Hotel Nikko, the Sky Garden Observatory, Landmark Mall with 190 shops and boutiques, a medical clinic, 48 floors of office space, a 230-meter moving walkway that connects Landmark Tower with Sakuragi-cho Station, and three floors of underground parking that accommodates 1,400 cars! Landmark Tower also features one of Japan's important cultural properties, the Dockyard Garden—an authentic replica of the stone dockyard originally constructed in 1896. This is a playful reproduction with scores of restaurants "hidden" behind the huge stone blocks of the drydock.
World Porters is a huge complex housing shops, restaurants, a multiplex movie theater with eight screens and seating for 1,600, conference and meeting rooms, and exhibition halls. There are over 170 shops, many of which are import stores specializing in overseas fashions, and the prices are quite reasonable for Japan. The great variety of cuisine available among the over thirty restaurants gives you plenty to choose from when the shopping tires you out. If you want to catch movie while you are here, the eight-screen multiplex variety puts on road shows, recent Japanese blockbusters, cinema classics and reruns.
Originally built in the early 20th century as a customs warehouse, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is now the most fashionable shopping complex in the waterfront Yokohama. Inside the building you will find the variety of boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Outside the building is great harbor view of Yokohama. most suitable for sightseeing and dating.
A particularly modern, bright and inviting department store, Hankyu offers many popular and familiar brand names, GAP, DKNY, Kenzo, Miyake, Cerruti and Nicole Farhi to name a few. The men's collection is just as good as the women's and the English floor guide is not only comprehensible, but lists everything by brand name. The Yurakucho branch also has a second H2 Sukiyabashi building on the next block (beside the Sony building), which houses more fashion and household goods plus HMV. Shopping is made refreshingly easy here.
This store, located in the Ginza district, is truly a heaven for shopaholics. Wako was established in 1881 and was originally a watch and jewelry shop. Now considered the oldest and most prestigious design store in the city, Wako has exclusive watches, jewelry, handbags, porcelain and dishware. The store also has a wide clothing collection for men and women. You can find the store's branches in Hiroo, Minato and Haneda Airport as well. Situated within an old-fashioned building with a clock tower, the store is something else to behold at night, with fancy lights drawing attention to it.
Boasting the largest selection of technology related products in Japan, Yodobashi Akiba is an impressive complex of 9 enormous floors. Whether you're looking for an exclusive gadget from Japan, or just need to do some high-tech shopping, you'll be able to find it here. Don't worry if you find yourself feeling lost in this mini-metropolis; English-speaking staff members can help you find what you need. On floors 7-9, specialty places like Tower Records, a Golf Shop, and several restaurants round off this one-stop shopping experience. Additionally, there is direct access to and from Akihabara Station. Now that's service!
Nestled along the main business street in Akihabara is the Anime and Manga haven known as Animate. Several locations of this successful establishment reside in Japan, however, the Akihabara store boasts a 8 floors of specialty products. Everything from Japanese comics to Japanese animation, and related items such as Anime soundtracks and character goods, await your arrival. Expect to spend a few hours sifting through all of the eye-catching artwork if you're a hardcore fan, otherwise, it's still an interesting place to browse through and pick up something a little more unique than chopsticks. Overall, whether or not you're into cosplaying and anime, you'll definitely appreciate the zest for it in this superstore.