Shopping in the famous shopping districts of Tokyo, such as Ginza or Shibuya is fun. But where do locals buy daily? The answer is: in small shopping streets. Minato City has a wide range of shopping streets (over 53!). Each of the shopping streets has its own character and is fun to explore. This time I visited with my friend Yena the chic, retro “Shirokane Shopping Street”.
Shirokane shopping street is about a 3-minute walk from Shirokane Takanawa Station. We started our tour with a visit to Hikawa Shrine, which is located near the entrance to the shopping district. From there we roamed from one end to the other end of the shopping street.
Typical for traditional Japanese shopping street is a large sign at the entrance, displaying the name of the street. Oftentimes, music plays out of loudspeakers, the street lamps have a uniform design (very retro!), and the street is decorated with ornaments depending on the season. Although the Shirokane Shopping Street is located in the middle of one of Tokyo’s luxurious residential areas, it has retained its old-fashioned charm. If you like taking pictures, you will find plenty of motives here! It’s a retro paradise!
Where can you buy cheap kimonos in Tokyo?
The traditional clothing of the Japanese is – as we know – the kimono. If you try buying a real kimono in Japan, you have to spend at least 100,000 yen. However, choosing a second-hand kimono can save you a lot of money. Japanese kimonos are clothing items that are ordered and then cut and sewn to the size of the wearer. So for example, even if you sell an unworn brand new kimono, it won’t be considered “new”. It’s always “second-hand”, or “recycle” (as the Japanese say). That’s what Koji Kawauchi, the store manager of Kimonoya Rofutei, told us when we visited his shop.
Mr. Kawachi is a former Kabuki actor. He said that in the last 20 years he wore Western clothes for only three days. That may be why he knows so well about kimonos. “The kimono and other traditional Japanese clothing (“wasou“) are very flexible: they adapt to the body shape, and you do not have to follow any rules, just combine a kimono with western clothes, and kimono jackets work well with jeans!”, he explained.
“Kimono Rofutei” offers kimono, haori (kimono jacket), kimono sashes, straps, etc. starting from 500 yen! Some of the items are still brand new, or made of real silk! This shop is a recommendation for anyone looking for traditional Japanese clothing items.
An authentic German bakery
A little further on is the “Bäckerei Blauberg”. Opened in 2015, this bakery specializes in “German bread”. Of course, as a German, that makes me very happy and curious! Finding “real bread” (as we Germans say) in Tokyo isn’t always easy. It is not an exaggeration to say that Germans need their pretzels, cheese bread, rye bread, etc., to survive. In this bakery, you will find these basics.
However not only that, but there are also typical Japanese delicacies, such as “melonpan” and French baguettes. In the shop, we saw some foreign customers who were shopping for their everyday bread there. Yena and I bought a variety of bread and ate it on the bench in front of the shop. It tasted really good! If I lived closer to the bakery, I would come every day!
By the way, we also got “World Cards” for the “Minato City World Festival” here. (Click here for more details about the event!)
In Shirokane Shopping Street, there are many other well-known shops, such as a chocolate store and a famous croquettes shop. Strolling through the shopping street and exploring the individual shops is fun! Especially clothing stores or grocery stores, which have been there for many decades, give insight in daily life in Japan. Since most of the shops are privately run, you can have a chat with the owners and meet locals. Why not plan a visit to a shopping street in Minato Ward’s “shopping street paradise” on your next trip?
Shirokane Shopping Street Official HP (Japanese):
3-10-9 Shirogane, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Bäckerei Blauberg (Bakery)
3-9-6 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo