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Motherhood & Parenting in Japan - Shopping in Japan

My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan For Kids’ Clothes and Shoes

Last Updated on 2024-02-15 by Teni

My latest post is inspired by a recent shopping adventure at GU to pick up a few pieces for my daughter and myself. You’ll notice that several suggestions overlap with the places I recommend in my post, “My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan for Baby and Toddler Clothes.” While my daughter is no longer a toddler, I still love shopping at these places. My 5 favorite places to shop in Japan for kids clothes and shoes have their own websites and/or apps so you can shop at home.

Know Before You Go

When it comes to shopping for kids’ clothes in Japan, you’ll want to know your child’s height (in centimeters) and weight (in kilograms). These numbers are often used to determine the size of kids’ clothes in Japan. If your child is in kindergarten, or daycare, you’re in luck as children’s height and weight are measured every month and recorded in their renrakucho notebooks. For elementary school children, their height and weight and measured every term during health checks.

As for shoe shopping, try to get your shopping done in the afternoon as this is when feet tend to be at their largest. If this is not possible (or you’d rather not take your kids shopping), have your child put on socks, and trace an outline of  their feet on cardboard. Cut it out and take it with you for stress-free shoe shopping!

Now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s take a look at where I buy kids’ clothes in Japan

My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan For Kids’ Clothes and Shoes

5. ABC Mart

 

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I’m kicking off this list with ABC Mart, one of the largest shoe store chains in Japan (and the official reseller of Vans in Japan).  Its stores are everywhere, and you’ll no doubt immediately notice its bright yellow logo with bold red letters.

ABC Mart stands out not only because of its logo, but because of its large inventory of kids’ shoes. There’s classic brands like New Balance, Puma, Adidas, Converse, Nike, etc. But, you’ll also find Japanese brands of kids’ shoes like Syunsoku, which is Japan’s best selling children’s shoe brand. Along with sneakers, ABC Mart also stocks formal shoes, sandals, boots, galoshes and and more.

When it comes to shopping for shoes at ABC Mart, it’s best to try on in store, then pick up online, especially if you like earning points! However, when you shop in person you might be able to take advantage of special in-store only sales.

4. Nishi Matsuya (西松屋)

 

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Nishi Matsuya is the to-go place for all your child’s seasonal gear. Think rain boots, umbrellas, swim suits, pool bags, swim goggles, and so on. I also recommend Nishi Matsuya for when you need to buy essentials for kindergarten and elementary school, such as bento boxes, water bottles, hand towels, etc.

Nishi Matsuya also has a kids’ clothing line called El Fin Doll, which ranges from babies (80 cm) all the way to 160 cm. Personally, I find their selection to be very limited and underwhelming, but most pieces are under 1,000 yen. If you’re out of town and need to quickly pick up spare clothing, you can’t go wrong with Nishi Matsuya!

3. Carry-On (キャリーオン)

Carry On is Japan’s largest reseller of used children’s clothes. What makes Carry On different is that they only stock gently used “name brand” apparel from domestic brands like Mezzo Piano, Any Fam, and Miki House, along with overseas brands like Carter’s and Ralph Lauren.

I recommend Carry On if your kids need clothes for a formal occasion or a special day. In my case, I found nearly everything (except socks) for my daughter’s kindergarten interview on Carry On!

They also buy kids’ clothing in exchange for Carry On points, Amazon gift cards, or cash (bank transfer). Their buy-back scheme is very generous if you opt for Carry On points. I sold around 20 pieces of my girl’s old summer clothing and got about 6,000 yen in store credit!

What I like about Carry On’s buy-back program is that they’ll mail you a shipping bag with detailed instructions on what brands they accept and how to prepare your items. All you have to do is wash and fold the clothes, drop it off at the post office or combini, and Carry On will do the rest! Once everything is checked, they’ll send you an email with the amount you’ve earned.

If you’re interested in shopping on Carry On, I do have a coupon code to share: INVITE20 for 20% off! (Not an affiliate code; it’s for any new user.)

2. Uniqlo (ユニクロ)

 

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When it comes to simple yet durable undergarments, socks, T-shirts, and outerwear, Uniqlo is THE place to go. I simply can’t say enough about Uniqlo’s Heattech technology, which work as a fantastic insulating layer to keep kids warm on cold days and night. I also recommend picking up a few breathable Airism tank tops and underpants, which are a must for humid Japanese summers!

But, I absolutely love the fuzzy zip-up fleece parkas and lightweight puffy coats from Uniqlo! For the fleece parkas, I buy one size up so that my daughter has room to layer her clothes underneath. I also buy them in multiple colors so she can rotate them throughout the week as well as keep one in her classroom locker.

1. GU (ジーユー)

 

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These days, I’m all about GU for my daughter, and I’ve even started to shop there for myself! In the past few years GU has really stepped up its game and transformed itself from Uniqlo’s “teen” brand to a fashionable and affordable spot for the entire family!

Many of the clothing its its kids’ section are unisex, and range from 990 yen to 2990. (3490 yen for coats). One thing worth nothing with GU is that while its size range goes up to 160 cm, 160 cm is only sold online, unfortunately.

For more shopping in Japan recommendations, please check out the following posts:

Babies & Toddlers: My 5 favorite places to shop in Japan for baby and toddler clothes

Women: My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan For Women’s Clothes and Shoes

Birthdays and Special Occasions: The Best Japanese Gifts For Kids

My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan for Kids’ Clothes and Shoes

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