We took the subway into Shimokitazawa early in the morning. Our first stop was Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory, a cafe/bakery that makes Totoro shaped cream puffs. It was a bit of a walk from the main shopping area, but totally worth it!
They have a variety of different flavours, as well as a seasonal flavour depending on the time of year. At the time we went, it was strawberry, which was the flavour of choice in Japan during the winter. Each flavour has a different decoration on its head. I got Banana and Lynnette got Egg Custard.
Shimokitazawa is a shopping district best known for second hand clothing shops and cafes. It's split roughly in half by train tracks. We had more fun shopping on the north side of the tracks. There's a pretty good map located on this website. It's trendy, but not as much of a tourist spot as, say, Harajuku.
Our first stopping shop was Shimokitazawa Garage Department which is home to a series of small shops with second hand clothing, accessories and more. Our favorite shop was Sukonbu, where artists/makeres rent a cubby to sell their wares in. It was mostly accessories, like jewelry, coin pouches, pins, key chains and other small wares, but since there’s so many different cubbies, it takes a while the browse them all. We both ended up buying quite a lot of fun goodies!
Next, we wandered around the neighborhood. We weren’t shopping for anything in particular, so we went in almost every used clothing store we came across. There is a huge price range, from cheap to pretty expensive, depending on the shop, and a lot of vintage American clothes.
Eventually we stumbled upon the B-side Label store. I bought a coin purse from them in a gift shop in Osaka, so we were interested to see the full store. The shop is a collective of artists and the primary item they sell is stickers. SO MANY stickers. The walls are literally lined with tons of stickers from dozens of different artists. They also had small pouches, keychains, tenugui (a type of Japanese towel), cell phone cases, washi tape and more. It's pretty common to find a small selection of their stickers in other shops, but for the full experience, the store is super fun.
The staff were really nice and we chatted about being artists in NYC with the shop girl, who was so sure that NYC is way cooler than Tokyo. The grass is always greener, right?
We stumbled upon our first of many WEGO (sort of the Japanese equivilant of a Forever 21), which is a shop that sells cheap, fashionable clothing and accessories. The one in Shimokitazawa also had some second hand items.
After more shopping, we went to the other side of the tracks to find a store we had looked up online called Grand Bazaar that sells designer and Lolita goods. At the moment, they didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted, but used clothing shopping is always hit or miss and it was fun to look around.
After Shimokitazawa we decided to wander around Shibuya to avoid rush hour train traffic. I used to hang out in Shibuya a lot back when I was in college in Tokyo, so I wanted to see the area again. We went to the huge Tower Records store, the Disney store and then had dinner at the spacious and randomly chosen Hangout Hangover which has an unusual mix of Mexican, Carribean, Japanese and American food. It was pretty good though!
Our last stop for the night was Don Quijote to buy snacks, drinks and toiletries. Last time I was there (granted this was 10 years ago,) the shop was only 1 floor. Now it’s a HUGE shop with multiple floors worth of items. I’m pretty sure you could find literally anything in that store if you tried hard enough. (Lynnette's Note: Including a very nice bathroom!)
We headed back to the Airbnb after that, because we had an early morning planned at Tokyo Disney Sea! We simply do not know how to gently go to Disney anywhere, so if we're not there from almost open to almost close, it's not a Disney day. But more on that next week!