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.
Across the street from Shiseido The Ginza is Shiseido Parlour, the original building of where the company was founded. Shiseido Parlour is an old-timey style confectionery shop on the ground level with Faro, an Italian restaurant, cafe, penthouse bar and banquet hall on the upper levels. You’ll naturally gravitate towards the glossy, dark red exterior of the building and be greeted by giant roses made out of lipstick bullets! Half the reason you come to Japan is for the food and there are quite a few snacks you can buy to bring back home or dine-in to enjoy the ambiance of Ginza’s high-class culture.
One of the first brands I associated with Asian beauty is Shiseido as it was my mother’s preferred luxury brand when I was growing up. Shiseido was also one of the most accessible brands to purchase before there was the Internet or online shopping. In fact, there were a couple of Shiseido franchise stores that opened right in Chinatown, NYC where salesladies were able to make sales by speaking Cantonese to my mom. For my epic Tokyo vacation, I naturally wanted to visit the Shiseido Flagship right in the heart of Ginza, Tokyo’s premiere shopping district. The flagship has four floors with each providing a unique beauty experience. Right across the street is Shiseido Parlour, an old-timey style confectionery retail shop. If you’re a Shiseido fan, or at least a fan of any of Shiseido’s many sub-brands, look at through my mini photo tour to see if you’d like to step inside.
If you love cute character items and cosmetics, It’s Demo is a MUST-VISIT. The little kid inside you will scream with joy because it knows adult-you can buy everything you ever wanted as a child. This is getting a little meta but It’s Demo is the best store to indulge all those irrational desires for a Sailor Moon shaped compact or a My Melody phone case. At least with makeup and fashion accessories, it’s quasi-functional. It’s Demo has been described as a fashion convenience store because it also houses hair, phone and general accessories, hosiery, totes, decorative cookies and of course cosmetics as the main attraction. Their specialty is carrying almost anything with a cartoon character on it which ranges from Disney’s Frozen (and all Disney Princesses), Pokemon, Spongebob Squarepants, Doremon and even classic OG Sanrio characters like Keroppi, My Melody, Little Twin Stars, and Cinnamoroll! The store seems gears towards the 13 – 25 demo as the majority of the items were a little too kiddy for my personal taste but it was still worth a visit! I took photos from the Shibuya location where my Airbnb was located. Click to read more and peek inside.
Ainz & Tulpe is like an elevated chain drugstore in Tokyo. Unlike the traditional drugstore like the Matsumoto-Kiyoshi with its garish discount signs and cramped aisles, the Ainz & Tulpe is a spacious and modern way to shop for beauty.You will find all the best drugstore brands, certified organic beauty, and even international brands popular in Europe. They have a skincare rankings wall that lists out their top picks so you can research ahead of time the popular items in Japan (and it’s NOT what you think)! The name is German and it stands for “One & Tulip”, derived from their pharmaceutical parent company. How is this store different than the Loft, another recommended beauty shop for tourists? For one, Ainz & Tulpe focuses on beauty, cosmetics and facial tools and doesn’t have room for anything else like home goods or stationery except if they are trending hard. There are also beauty consultants in the downstairs basement who work for Shiseido, SK-II, Kose, Kanebo and Sofina so you can get one on one attention for your needs. I’m not sure what the level of English proficiency is as the Ainz & Tulpe attracts both tourists and locals. Their excellent product displays, stylish store setting and wide selection makes it into one of my recommended stores to visit in my Shopping Guide for Tourists in Tokyo, Japan. Click to see more!