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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogShibuya 109: The Ultimate Kawaii Shopping Hotspot

Shibuya 109: The Ultimate Kawaii Shopping Hotspot

By Karina Ikedo
July 23, 2022

Shibuya is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tokyo and is home to the iconic Shibuya 109 – a shopping mall housing over 120 shops offering the latest trendy fashion and cosmetics items. This mall has 10 floors filled with all sorts of trendy brands that draw attention not only in Japan but all over the world. Japan is known for its unique and one-of-a-kind shops, and the Shibuya 109 department store commands attention in the center of Tokyo.

The shops here sell women’s clothing, beauty products, accessories, and even costumes for cosplay. Ever since its opening in 1979, this department store has been popular with the stylish youth of Tokyo. Keep on reading to learn more about this iconic building featuring the latest of Japanese fashion and cosmetics trends!

History of the Shibuya 109

The Shibuya 109 building first opened in April 1979. Since it opened in 1979, the mall has come to symbolize Shibuya’s leading cutting-edge trends ever since the “gyaru” (gal) street style was popularized by young girls with dyed blond hair, fake tans, miniskirts, and outlandish makeup. Today, the mall remains popular among Japanese and foreign celebrities. Besides the main mall in Shibuya, there’s also Shibuya 109 locations in Abeno (Osaka), Kagoshima, and Hong Kong.

Shibuya 109 was designed by architect Minoru Takeyama for Tokyu Malls Development Corporation and was initially developed in a spirit of competition. At that time, the Seibu department store chain was gaining serious traction in central Shibuya, so Tokyu thought it was time to muscle in on the action. The shopping mall was built to be a fashion community of different retail stores that cater to women in their 30s, but the demographic soon shifted to teenage trendsetters.

Also called “Marukyu,” the secondary name comes from the last two numbers of 109, with ‘0’ being ‘maru’ and ‘9’ being kyu. The design of the shopping mall was created so that shoppers have to go from the elevators and pass by various shops on each floor before reaching the next one. 

The exterior of Shibuya 109 with many people walking around outside of it and a red advertisement on the front.
This building is now so iconic that you can’t think of Shibuya Crossing without thinking of Shibuya 109. Image via Shutterstock

Top Fashion Stores

If you’re a fashion fan interested in Japanese street fashion, Shibuya 109 is the place to go. Although they’re best known for their association with Gyaru culture, they cater to a variety of subcultures and styles from Larme Kei to Lolita, and more!

Murua

Murua has an almost cult following among Tokyo fashionistas who want to look girly but not too sugary-sweet. The perfect mix of feminine style with an edge, this store on the 5th floor creates a unique mood of femininity based on a cool black coordination that enhances it. Here, you’ll be able to snatch up some of the brand’s cute dresses, logo tees, printed skinny jeans, bags, and funky platform heels.

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Esperanza XYZ

Located near the entrance of the mall, Esperanza XYZ is a store containing only shoes made in Japan. Great news for those larger-footed folks, the store has plenty of size options, including sizes bigger-than-typical Japanese sizes. Shoppers can find anything including platform heels, sneakers, or boots to suit their taste. There is also a wide range of colors and designs to choose from, so no one is left out.

Bubbles

Located on the seventh floor, this store has unique clothes that won’t disappoint! If your style has a bit of a cute and dark twist, then Bubbles is the brand for you. Described as urban goth, it features elegantly cute clothes in a dark palette for those with a bit of an edge. Most of their clothes have bows, ruffles, and puffy sleeves that feature details typical to the Larme Kei style, focused on a bold kawaii aesthetic!

A girl is a cute Lolita-style outfit sits and pouts on a a flight of stairs in a cute pink and white dress with ruffles and puffy sleeves and a white bonnet.
Because Shibuya 109 is all about youth fashion, stores that provide Larme-kei and other lolita-esque styles are plentiful here! Image via Shutterstock

Honey Cinnamon

The name Honey Cinnamon makes you think of something sweet and warm, which is exactly what their clothes are. Created by Larme model Kanako Hiramatsu, their Shibuya 109 shop opened on the seventh floor after winning the Shibuya 109 annual stage contest, meaning they could open up their shop there.

Honey Cinnamon features Larme-styled clothing and is more aimed at the sweeter side of Larme kei. The concept of the brand is ‘stylish and sweet young girl’, which describes the brand perfectly well. Their designs also have a retro vibe featuring cute vintage dresses adorned with ruffles and bows, as well as hoodies highlighted with teddy bears and ribbons.

SwanKiss

For all that Lolita girliness, Swankiss is your one-stop shop for ultra-sweet cuteness. Think pinks, frills, roses, over the top girly embellishments and love hearts galore. Located on the sixth floor, it’s like a teaser for what comes on the next level.

An adorable reimagination of vintage 30s and 40s styles, featuring tweed and lace highlighted with pearls and rhinestones, their designs are both classic and elegant as well as modern and youthful. Whether you’re a fan of Larme style or vintage clothing, SwanKiss will incorporate kawaii style into your wardrobe!

Top Cosmetics Stores

Shibuya 109, frequented daily by Tokyo’s young and trendy women, also has its own beauty section. Despite being well known for fashion, it also has amazing cosmetics stores featuring some of the best makeup and skincare brands! They even have some of the best Korean makeup brands!

Etude House

The interior of an Etude House shows off some cute skincare items like animal -shaped moisturizers, cute character hair masks, and hand creams.
Etude House is a perfect addition to any kawaii skincare routine with products with super cute designs. Image via Shutterstock

For those fans of Asian beauty products, Shibuya 109 houses an Etude House, so you can get your Korean beauty fix. They make really fun and creative cosmetics, like popsicle-shaped lip jellies and their famous Playstick, a multi-function color stick for eyes, cheeks and lips that creates color with a smooth and sheer finish. 

Etude House makes beauty dreams come true with fun, playful products and packaging. This Korean makeup and skincare brand is a must-visit on the second floor.

Innisfree

Innisfree is another Korean skincare brand also on the second floor. They’re immensely popular in Korea and Japan. Regarded as one of the best affordable Korean cosmetic brands, Innisfree promotes the traditional Korean approach to skincare with an emphasis on prevention and protection. They lean for a more mature and older crowd who want natural skincare products.

One of their best-rated skincare products is their Pore Clearing Clay Mask. Made with Jeju volcanic clusters and lactic acid, it absorbs excess oil, exfoliates, and minimizes the look of pores. This mask leaves your skin clearer, smoother, and softer every time you use it.

SBY

SBY offers a diverse selection of the latest trending cosmetics. The concept behind the shop is the joy of discovering new things. Here, they feature more than 200 types of false eyelashes made in-house varying in color, length, and shape, making it easy to find ones best suited to you.

In the rear of the shop there’s a makeup room where you can try out the latest cosmetics free of charge, electrical outlets limited to women only, a photo studio, and a selection of specialty tapioca drinks. Ladies crowd the cafe for frequent hot events such as makeup courses and talks by popular models.

The interior of Shibuya 109 where giant cute donuts are hanging from the ceiling in front of a purikura station.
Shibuya 109 even embraces the kawaii aesthetic with interior decorations like big tasty-looking donuts. Image via Shutterstock

Dress Table

Located on the first floor, Dress Table by ShinQs Beauty Palette houses the most iconic makeup and skincare brands, like RMK, Cree Mare, Too Faced, MAC, Estée Lauder, and more! They have an interesting concept called depacos, where if you post with the hashtag “#109” in the review video application “ViiBee”, the video will be featured on the iPad installed in the cosmetics corner of Shibuya 109. 

You can also get help from the kind beauty experts in the store and see review videos and makeup tutorials while trying some of the best beauty products out there!

Vouex

Voeux, in the basement, is worth a visit to marvel at the array of colored contact lenses. The shop stocks every conceivable color! Outrageously colored contact lenses are a must-have accessory for the young in fashion-focused 109 or any cosplayer, and you’ll find the biggest collection you’ve ever seen in Voeux. We’d say the color choices span the rainbow, but that’d be doing Voeux a disservice, with the selection making the rainbow look dull in comparison.

Do you have a store you want to visit in Shibuya 109? Let us know in the comments below!

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