The streets of Japan’s capital city are well-known for being a fashion mecca for high-end stores, streetwear styles, and vintage shops packed from wall-to-wall with hard-to-find brands. But the mere idea of finding the hidden gems on my own was more than overwhelming, so I turned to Rola, Japan’s It-girl, for help.
Rola, born Eri Sato, has been the country’s It-girl for some time thanks to her endless endorsement deals, her contracts as a television host, and her more than 5.2 million Instagram followers.
First, I wondered, what trends should I be looking out for?
“I know it's been around in the west for a while already, but the integration of athleisure into Japanese fashion is much more recent and going around a lot lately,” Rola told Travel + Leisure. “It's a big departure from Japanese fashion up until now because it's all about simple and athletic whereas Japanese fashion has been much more formal and busy in the past than what I'm seeing lately.”
I enlisted Rola as my virtual guide to the best places to shop for athleisure and more knowing there was no better guide to be had. After all, she was discovered on the streets of Shibuya, one of the best shopping districts in the city. Here are five places Rola said I shouldn't miss — and neither should you — during a Tokyo shopping journey.
Dover's Street Market: Ginza
The first stop on Rola’s must-see list is none other than Dover Street Market, a department-like store for high-end streetwear brand aficionados. Imported from London, the store is six floors of out-of-this-world shopping with the likes of Supreme, Gucci, Comme des Garcons, and more. Do not enter unless you’re ready to spend serious cash on daring clothing.
Ginza Six: Ginza
What’s Rola’s favorite part of Ginza Six, another luxury shopping complex in Ginza? “They serve wine for the customers to drink while shopping.” If that doesn’t entice you perhaps its combination of clothing, beauty, food, and art retailers will. Just make sure to map out your shopping excursion before you go, otherwise you will get lost.
“It’s a cool select shop that has a lot of shoes,” Rola said. Of course, like her other favorite stores above, Restir too sells plenty of high-end clothing from Balenciaga, Namacheko, Vika Gazinskaya, and more. But its shoe collection is the true star. Inside, sneakerheads can find both rare and hard-to-find releases from Vans, Nike, Adidas, and every other brand in between.
Rola heads here for “lots of cool accessories.” Hidden away in a back street alley in Harajuku, the shop is packed to the gills with cool belts, bags, shoes, hats, and jewelry all worth your shopping dollars. Just be careful with your time as you can waste an entire day inside the store trying every last accessory on.
La Foret: Harajuku
As one of Rola’s favorite all-around shops in the Harajuku neighborhood, La Foret certainly delivers. La Foret is another stellar department store in Tokyo and is sort of reminiscent of malls in America in their heyday. With 13 floors and countless boutiques to peruse you’re bound to find something for everyone inside. Just make sure to walk away with something special for yourself too.