This is a MEGA beauty shopping guide in Tokyo Japan complete with all my recommendations listed on a Google Map and linked to a shit ton of individual photo tour posts so you’ll be a prepped shopper. First, start with my post on general Tokyo Shopping Tips As A Tourist so you’ll understand how tax-free and duty-free shopping works. I was on a mission to visit as many beauty stores in Tokyo during my one week stay because your girl has a small hoarding problem. Although most of my google searches told me to go to a Japanese drugstore for all J-Beauty needs, I wasn’t satisfied with the results. I looked up beauty haul and shopping guide videos on YouTube where I was able to find better information and compiled a list as best as I could from various sources. I think it helps to know the type of shopper I am so you can gauge if this list fits your taste. I tend to buy low to mid range products because I believe there are very effective products out there without the luxury mark-up. I’ll occasionally buy a luxury branded item if the hype is real. You can see my Japan #beautyp0rn from Haul Post and below are most of the stores I raided in Tokyo. Be ready to bookmark this guide because you’ll want to reference this again!
You may have heard Jill Stuart the clothing brand but did you know she also designs a beauty line made of all my childhood dreams of lace and floral? The cosmetics line is my inner girly on steroids and what makes it even more covetable is that the line is not widely available in the United States – you can only order it online however there are many counters in Japan where you can test and swatch colors. Thoughtful touches like pavé crystals, gem-shaped lipstick bullets, built-in flip-top mirrors, and even a chain attaching your brush to your compact makes me drool over these products. It comes at a pretty penny though because a lip gloss will set you back about $42 USD if you get it shipped within America but it’s 2,500 Yen in Japan (about $22 USD). To own one of these pretties, you can buy these tax-free in the many Japanese locations and in the Narita Airport.
When I was researching the best places to shop in Tokyo, I was surprised to see a lot of mega-sized department stores listed but I’m just not a department store type of shopper so I needed a lot of convincing. It’s intimidating because they’re so large as well as being more on the expensive side. Japanese department stores average 7 to 9 stories which make American stores dwarf in size. A constant recommendation however, was to go to Isetan in its original location in Shinjuku. Not only does Isetan house some of the most coveted beauty brands but there’s also an entire floor devoted to natural beauty and a must-go impressive food hall for locals and tourists alike. While I didn’t really shop for clothing at Isetan, I looked at the beauty sections! Click on to see more and recommendations for Japan-only beauty brands.
Yodobashi Camera is a popular electronics store in probably the “geekiest” district in Tokyo, Japan. Yodobashi is located in Akihabara where you can visit Maid Cafes, anime and manga shops, video game arcades, and various electronic stores. There are even Manga Cafes (Manga Kissa) where you can read/watch manga and use the Internet. Akihabara is the center of otaku culture (diehard fan) so it may be a dream come true if you grew up with Japanese anime/manga. I’m not into anime/manga nor am I really an electronics geek but it was fun watching people dress up in cosplay and maid costumes to get tourists into their restaurants/shops. There are also anime porn shops so be aware if you have little ones on your trip. I was able to find a nice, surprising beauty section full of products and tools in the Yodobashi Camera (also written out as Yodobashi – Akiba with Akiba referring to a local shrine in the neighborhood). This stop isn’t a necessity if you’re already planning to go to LOFT, Ainz & Tulpe or any of the Matsu-Kyo/DonQi stores as it pretty much carries the same assortment of drugstore beauty but it’s a nice option if you’re pressed for time and cannot travel outside of Akihabara.
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.