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clothes shopping in Japan

Clothes Shopping in Japan on a Budget

By Brie Schmidt Apr 8, 2021

When it comes to clothes shopping in Japan, the options are seemingly endless. It’s easy to find a range of styles and garment types, from traditional kimono to designer pieces to quirky 100 yen shop accessories. But when it comes to finding stylish, high-quality clothing on a budget, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Best Places for Clothes Shopping in Japan (That Don’t Break the Bank)

For visitors and foreign residents alike, it can be a challenge to know which shops offer the best quality and prices. And this is especially true when it comes to shopping for clothes. Sizes may differ greatly from other countries, which can be especially frustrating for those who don’t fit into Japan’s typically petite sizing. Some of the styles and fits in Japan may also not fit everyone’s preferences – for example, it’s not uncommon to find women’s clothing in Japan to err on the side of femininity, with frills, bows, and cute characters, which may not fit everyone’s personal taste.

Even still, there are a variety of budget-friendly clothing stores and shopping destinations in Japan that offer styles fit for nearly everyone. From Japanese staples to online options and more, read on for our recommendations.

clothes shopping in japan, shopping in tokyo

Japanese Clothing Stores

If you’re shopping for inexpensive clothes in Japan, your best bet is to shop where the locals do. And often, Japanese people shop at Japanese chain stores like UNIQLO. UNIQLO is known for wallet-friendly wardrobe basics including t-shirts, jeans, innerwear, jackets, and more. Though they’re known for offering a range of casual clothing, they also offer professional options such as work skirts and suits. UNIQLO also offers clothes for all ages, from baby to adult.

GU, UNIQLO’s sister chain, is a similarly affordable option, offering pieces that are trendier and more youthful than UNIQLO’s. However, they’ve recently released their “オトナ GU” (translating to “adult GU”) line of polished items for both men and women. And like UNIQLO, GU offers clothes for children and babies as well. 

Muji is another staple all around Japan for budget-friendly clothes, loungewear, and more. Known for its minimalist style, Muji offers simple sweaters, t-shirts, pants, shoes, and more for all ages. And though the prices at Muij are typically higher than shops like UNIQLO, you can still easily find basics like striped t-shirts for around ¥2000, plush hoodies for around ¥3000, and undergarments for ¥400.

Non-Japanese Chains in Japan

If you’re not from Japan, you may find yourself missing the familiar clothing stores you knew from back home. Thankfully, Japan has several well-known foreign clothing shops, especially in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. And better yet, many are budget-friendly.

One such shop is the Swedish retailer H&M, known for its affordable fast-fashion styles for all ages and genders. And with locations from Hokkaido to Okinawa, it’s easy to find a nearby H&M wherever you are in Japan.

Zara is another inexpensive option, especially during their sales periods. This Spanish retailer specializes in styles that look high fashion, yet they’re priced at a fraction of designer clothes. And there are options for women, men, and kids. To get the best deals, check for the “Special Prices” section in Zara stores.

Bershka, another Spanish clothing store, offers punchy, casual styles, mostly aimed at young adults. Though prices are often similar to Zara, there are budget-friendly deals to be found, such as distressed jeans around ¥3600 and cropped blouses for ¥3000.

While H&M, Zara, and Bershka can be quite trend-heavy, there are also shops such as GAP offering basics that rival UNIQLO’s. And with locations spread across the country, GAP is a great option for denim, casual outerwear, and more. Be sure to check for their frequent sales and markdowns for the best deals.

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Used and Thrifted Clothes

Used and thrifted clothing in Japan isn’t always cheap. However, if you know where to look, you can get great deals on unique and hard-to-find styles.

One such option is the Hard Off family of stores – the mega-sized Book Off Bazaar and Mode Off shops in particular offer gently used clothing, accessories, and shoes. Of these, Mode Off is entirely devoted to fashion finds (while Book Off Bazaar includes books, homewares, among other used items). Be on the lookout for Japanese shopping mall brands such as United Arrows and Ships – but at a discounted price!

Another popular used clothing store is Treasure Factory, or TreFac. This shop also carries used clothing, though the prices may be steeper. This is because many of the items carried at TreFac are brand and designer pieces. Still, there are deals available if you dig, and some items are placed on sale, allowing you to save even more money.

Online Shops

Though many of the shops already listed have online stores, there are some budget-friendly clothes shopping stores that are either exclusively online or offer their best selection online.

ZOZOTOWN is one of these stores, though it’s best described as a collection of online stores. Because there is such a large selection available on ZOZOTOWN (including women’s, men’s, and kids’ clothing), there is something available for even the most cash-strapped shopper.

Large online retailers like Rakuten and Amazon offer a similarly vast range of options. However, with these shops, there can be great finds as well as cheap low-quality clothes, so be sure to check reviews for different brands and items.

While some of the most budget-friendly clothing shops in Japan offer one size only (often called “free size”), it can be refreshing to find inexpensive clothes that are available in a variety of sizes. Belluna and Nissen are two such shops, offering sizes for nearly every body type. Search their online shops for plus size outerwear, undergarments for curvier bodies, pants in petite and tall sizes, and more. Both shops offer clothes for men and women, but keep in mind that the styles tend to be basic and slightly mature, rather than being trendy or having unique styles.

Clothes Shopping in Japan on a Budget Is Possible

While Japan may not be known as an inexpensive shopping destination, there are plenty of bargains and deals to discover. And when it comes to clothes shopping, there are a variety of options for different ages, styles, and sizes.

Want even more budget-friendly shopping in Japan? Try outlet stores, with high-quality items marked down to affordable prices. Here’s our recommendation for an outlet mall with a stunning view of Mt. Fuji:

Gotemba, Number One Premium Outlet in Japan