I’m going to be posting a few shopping guide type posts in case you have the chance to visit Japan. I know international travel isn’t an option for everyone, but I hope they’re fun to read anyway, and if you save hard enough, you can still make it some day. First up, my favourite kawaii stores.
If you only have time for one kawaii shop, Kiddyland is the one to go for! The main Harajuku store is easy to get to by train or subway and has six floors of packed full of cuteness. The highlight is undoubtably the San-X/Sanrio floor where you’ll find all the newest goodies featuring Rilakkuma, Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Sumikko Gurashi and more. The ground floor is also well worth exploring in detail as it has all the newest crazes, characters and collaborations – look out for Pusheen! There’s also a smaller branch on Odaiba with lots of gashapon machines and if you get the chance to visit the Osaka branch, do it! It’s absolutely enormous, with multiple areas spread over two floors of a shopping mall and you’ll find a much bigger range of characters and products.
A bit of a cheat as it’s a whole area in the basement of Tokyo Station, but everything is close together so it’s a great place to grab some kawaii and exclusive souvenirs. My favourites are the Rilakkuma and Miffy stores but you’ll also find shops dedicated to Pokemon, Ghibli, Hello Kitty, Tamagotchi, Kapibarasan, NHK (Domokun) and many more! Don’t miss Okashi Land nearby for Pocky and KitKats – I’ll have a separate guide for candy soon.
Stationery fans will go nuts in Loft as there’s a whole floor of stickers, notepads, pens, planners, washi tape etc. Check out all the other floors too as you’ll find lots of kawaii including character goods, kitchenware and bento supplies and cute traditional items like fans and towels. There are stores all over Tokyo but the best one is in Shibuya next to Muji.
Yamashiroya is handily situated opposite Ueno station, so great if you’re visiting the park, museums or zoo. It has six floors and they really cram in the products. You’ll find all your favourite characters, lots of cute stuff you’ve never seen before and all the latest crazy gadgets (I was very tempted by a Pom Pom Purin ice cream maker). Head around the corner to Yodobashi Camera after as there are huge rows of gashapon capsule machines outside.
Passport / HAPiNS
We discovered Passport (now HAPiNS) on our first trip to Japan and I always make sure to go back as it has so many cute plush and homewares that you won’t see anywhere else. I usually pick up an adorable pillow for the plane home and got one of these cats this time. It’s also one of the few places you can buy Hannari Tofu and Alpacasso. Find it in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City mall, which is full of great shops.
All photos by Marceline Smith
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.