Different kinds of T-shirts, from those with kanji characters and Japanese designs to shirts with funny illustrations and comments that take guts to wear, are staple souvenirs for foreign travelers. Here are five shops where you can buy T-shirts that you can only find in Japan.
Oriental Bazaar, which carriers various Japanese souvenirs from traditional handicrafts up to interior goods, also sells a wide array of T-shirts. Aside from T-shirts that have kanji and Japanese designs, there are also reasonably priced casual kimono, yukata (light summer kimono) and happi coats (worn during festivals). This is a shop that specializes in goods for tourists in Japan, so you’ll be happy to know that there are many sizes available here and its products have English labels.
1. Oriental Bazaar
Harajuku I-RIE is a shop that mainly sells funny T-shirts that are widely popular among Japanese people. There are also branches in Saitama and Shizuoka, but the shop in Nakano is a lot of fun thanks to the colorful interior design. There is a rich lineup of T-shirts with different designs, such as those that showcase the appeals of people’s blood types (in Japan they say your blood type reveals your personality), shirts with messages like "genius" or masochistic jokes, as well as parody shirts and shirts so funny you'll laugh without realizing it. There is no doubt that you will get a lot of attention if you wear the shirts from Harajuku I-RIE while traveling. This shop is also filled with small trinkets such as earrings, stockings, and smartphone cases. If you do some research into the origins of the designs of the T-shirts available here, you just might end up becoming an expert on Japan’s subcultures.
2. Harajuku I-RIE Nakano Branch
BUDEN SHOUTEN, a T-shirt brand based in Osaka, sells a wide range of T-shirts that will likely make you laugh unintentionally as they have cute character illustrations and humorous Japanese designs. All tees are made in-house, down to the graphics. They also use carefully selected materials, so they are extremely comfortable to wear. There are various series available, including shirts with Japanese designs such as a mosquito coil, maneki-neko (cat figure that beckons good luck) and Mt. Fuji, as well as sayings and proverbs. Each of these tees is an elaborate piece of work. This shop is recommended to those who are not satisfied with just Japanese designs. BUDEN SHOUTEN does not only sell T-shirts, but also original sweats, hoodies, socks, and bags, among other items.
3. BUDEN SHOUTEN Yodobashi Camera Umeda Branch
As per its name, Omoshiro T-Shirt-Ya (Funny T-Shirt Shop) is a store that carries a wide array of T-shirts that bear designs depicting Japanese customs and traditions. All of the T-shirts available are overflowing with Japanese vibes such as tees that have characters for matsuri (festival) and mikoshi (portable shrine), as well as shirts that have stylish designs such as a flurry of falling cherry blossoms and lanterns. You can say that its products represent the standards of funny T-shirts in Japan. This store is located inside Haneda Airport, so you can come here and buy all the souvenirs you need while in transit. You can also purchase small items such as fans, handkerchiefs, and wallets with Japanese designs. The Haneda Airport branch is inside the shopping mall that was designed based on a town from the Edo period, so you might also find it fun just to walk around.
4. Omoshiro T-Shirt-Ya Haneda International Airport Branch
T-SHIRT-YA.COM, the retail shop of an Okinawan T-shirt brand, was made popular by their T-shirts that are not only full of Okinawan vibes, but are stylish to boot. They only sells T-shirts with unique designs, such as shirts with classic designs that include bitter gourds, an Okinawa specialty, and Ryukyu designs of ancient Okinawa. It’s the perfect place for people who want unusual shirts.
5. T-SHIRT-YA.COM Kokusai-dori Branch
The shops in this list have a rich assortment of T-shirts that are popular among tourists in Japan. Try to find a shirt you like and create a sense of stylishness with an original Japanese design.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.