If you only had time for one shop in Japan then it would really have to be Tokyu Hands, not least because they sell just about everything. They call themselves a Creative Life Store which includes art and craft supplies, homeware, stationery, novelties, luggage, cookware, furniture and DIY tools. Whether you’re after a spanner or a self-watering cat planter, you’ll find it at Tokyu Hands.
The crafts and stationery sections are especially good, with cute stampers, papercraft stickers, washi, mizuhiki, pens and more, plus cute diaries, letter sets, invitations, washi tape and stickers galore.
You’ll also find the cutest kitchenware you’ve ever seen along with many gadgets that are either crazy, genius or both. Tokyu Hands can be a bit hit and miss, but you’re certain to find many many bizarre things you never knew you needed until now.
This makes it perfect for gifts and souvenirs – much of it is very much ‘only in Japan’ and will amaze and baffle your friends! Look out for weird flavoured sweets and drinks, costumes, beauty products and many more inexplicable things, plus some of the best gashapon machines I found.
Some branches also have a cafe or restaurant, which is great if you need a break from shopping. I really enjoyed my taco rice and melon soda at the Hiroshima branch. The Ikebukuro branch also has a cat cafe, Nekobukuro! Unlike other cat cafes, you don’t need to make a reservation and can stay as long as you like.
How to get there
There are nine branches of Tokyu Hands in Tokyo, plus more across Japan. Check the website or Google Maps to see them all. The Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and Shibuya branches are all close to the stations and easy to find. I also recommend the Hiroshima and Osaka branches, both of which had things I didn’t see in Tokyo.
Last updated: 24 August 2016