Photo Tour: Koreatown (Shin-Okubo) in Tokyo, Japan

Photo Tour: Koreatown (Shin-Okubo) in Tokyo, Japan

You read that right. There’s a K-town in Tokyo and it’s just like visiting Korea. Everything from the food, shopping and atmosphere – it’s just like walking over the border into Korea if you’re ever sick of ramen or sushi (God forbid). Japan’s Koreatown has K-Pop idol merchandise and K-Beauty galore. My idol merchandise buying days ended with the Backstreet Boys’ Black and Blue album so I had no interest in buying any more items with young boys embossed on them but I definitely wanted to check out the Korean beauty items and see how “Hallyu” has made its way into Japan’s city streets. I stuck to buying mostly Japanese beauty items on two week stay but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t curious about K-Beauty’s appearance on Japanese shelves.

Japan’s Koreatown is about a 15 minute walk from Shinjuku’s popular Robot Restaurant. Google maps will take you through local streets (you’ll see the back of local houses) but it’s the fastest way to get there on foot! The JR Shin-Okubo train stop is where you want to get off and you will need to walk under the bridge where there are murals along the wall. Once you see the first K-Pop store, IDOL PARK, you can keep walking along Okubo Dori.

There were two stand-out stores worth visiting, Mask Diary and Skin Garden! Mask Diary had Kakao items as well as a lot of recognizable road shop brands and on-trend products. Skin Garden is a two story behemoth and stocks OH-SO-MANY items. In general the mark-up is high so I didn’t buy anything except for a Korean “Hotteok”, or hot cake filled with savory cheese filling. Buying and shipping items via eBay or other online retailers like Jolse, RoseRoseShop or Vuty Design would have been cheaper than buying Korean beauty items in Japan and schlepping it back via luggage. This makes sense because there are Korean import taxes in Japan. When in Japan, stick to buying Japanese beauty products but this was a great little escape to see Koreatown in Tokyo! Let me know down in the comments how you liked seeing Japan’s Ktown!

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Walk underneath this bridge with mural after getting out of the JR station. Photo credit: Google Maps

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Once you see IDOL PARK, you’re in the right area! Keep walking down Okubo Dori if you can keep your ovaries in your pants!

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My view when I emerged from the back streets walking from Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant.

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Korean Idol merch, K-BBQ, K-Beauty. I’m so happy.

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Hoards of teens with palpitating hearts.

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I was looking for circle lenses but these little shops don’t carry astigmatism versions.

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The Saem franchise shop.

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Inside The Saem.

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Im pretty sure that sign says “No Pictures” lol.

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Japan is a little old-school in that there are still stores that sell CD copies.

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Missha Magic BB Cushions

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A shop with miscellaneous brands.

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Nature Republic x EXO hand cream sets.

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Recognizable road shop brands like Etude House and Innisfree on shelves but also a bunch I dontkn

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Esthemed? Ctom? or Gtom?

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Popular Skinfood tubs and some knock-off “egg” products. Brand

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April Skin’s Magic Stone Soap

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Labiotte’s Wine Lip Tints at a reasonable price, about $12 USD

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I spy Missha color correcting loose powder trio in the back?

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Yessss, my favorite Peripera lip products.

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KAKAO FRIENDS!!!!!!

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A lot of APEACH items were sold out. Grrrrr.

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Never heard of Suaviss.

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Little boys!!!

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Mask Diary and Skin Garden next door were gigantic.

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This Skin Garden store was 2 stories of amazing! You can find Kakao items too.

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K-Beauty playground.

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SUM:37, History of Whoo, The Saem…

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I believe this is the Berrisom Oops! Tint Star Eyeshadow pots.

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K-pop idols in mirrors…

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…and me in a mirror.

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Hope Girl cosmetics.

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There’s more…

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A Nature Republic section on the upper level.

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The Saem products.

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Hmmm. San Da Wah brand.

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Elizavecca and 3CE cosmetics.

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Level 2 looking down on Level 1

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Berrisom Placenta Hydrogel Eye Patches.

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