Swimwear Shopping in Tokyo
A Summer Savvy Guide
Shopping for a new swimsuit is probably one of the most universally dreaded activities for women of all ages, shapes and sizes.
In a country where most brands seem to only sell swimwear in one size (or two, if you’re lucky) and where the styles are bafflingly both extremely padded and offer zero support, we have our work cut out for us in Japan. But don’t give up hope just yet—if you know where to look, there are some pretty cute and practical options to be found here in Tokyo.
From sporty to girly silhouettes, we’ve done our best to round up our top picks for where to buy swimsuits this summer. Happy shopping!
Every summer, GU releases a limited swimwear collection that comes in a size range of XS-XL available in-store and on the website. Pricing-wise, it’s also on the cheaper side. While the colors and styles might be limited, most of them are pretty basic in terms of silhouette and don’t use bold patterns. They offer special discounts toward the last few weeks of summer so if you’re still on the hunt for swimsuits, the price range alone would be enough to have you consider one or two pieces. During the sale season, you can find bikini tops for as low as ¥590 and one-pieces priced at ¥1,990.
Peak&Pine is a Japanese swimwear brand and store that sells swimsuits all year round. They offer eye-catching, feminine swimsuit designs from florals to ribbons. Unfortunately, their limited sizing in store might make it hard to find a suit as they only carry two sizes in limited stocks. However, their online shop has a search bar for bigger sizes up to XL. Aside from swimwear they also have a small collection of coverups for the beach to help you complete the look. Prices start from ¥8,000 to ¥16,000. You can shop for their swimsuits at their Tokyo branches and online.
San-ai Resort sells an assortment of trending swimwear styles in Japan. They often collaborate with local designers for their swimsuit collections to produce both swimwear and resort wear. San-ai Resort’s swimsuit designs are colorful and use a generous amount of prints. Similar to other local brands, their in-store selection more often offers only a limited sizing range so it would be best to check out their online site for bigger sizes up to XL. Their prices range from ¥7,000 to ¥17,000.
One trick to seeing the most popular Japanese swimwear brands in one place is to check out e-commerce websites like Zozotown. Even if there are no English translations, navigating is quite simple. You can sort your swimsuit preferences down to size, design and pricing with a few clicks and have your swimsuit delivered right to your doorstep. This might be the solution if you don’t feel like going out in the heat until your big beach trip.
For inexpensive, trending and youthful swimwear pieces there’s always H&M. Not only are the pieces made for a wider range of body types, but you’ll also find an even assortment of colorful printed bikinis among more conservative designs. Though the prices (starting from ¥599 to ¥5,999) are more affordable than the usual swimsuit store, these pieces might not last as long as others. H&M has a total of 11 stores in Tokyo and aside from that, their online store makes it easy to check which styles are still available and can arrive at your doorstep without a hitch.
American Eagle’s lingerie and swimwear brand got tons of positive press and even a large boost in sales after it started its #aeriereal campaign and announced that it would no longer photoshop its models. It was a smart, media-savvy move that has paid off, but it wouldn’t be enough if the brand didn’t also offer some great products. Bikini tops and bottoms are sold separately, with many underwire styles made in bra sizes ranging from A to D cups, which are perfect for ladies looking for extra support. There are also tops inspired by sports bras with strappy backs, which promise to stay put even on the waves or in downward-dog. Prices range from about ¥3,000 to ¥5,000 per piece, but sales are frequent. Aerie can be found online.
Calzedonia is an Italian legwear and beachwear brand with both online and in-store shopping. While the Shinjuku and Omotesando stores don’t carry the brand’s entire vast range, there are likely enough options that you’ll be able to find something to suit you. Many styles are designed specifically for buxom babes, and a fitness-inspired surf collection is perfect for when you want to do more than just lounge on the beach. The beautiful, brightly colored beach cover-ups are another bonus that will help you get to and from the water in style. Prices start at about ¥2,500 for a simple bikini bottom to ¥11,000 for an elaborately printed one-piece.
Aside from yoga gear, Lululemon also offers a number of simple, timeless designs both on their website and their four stores across Tokyo. You can expect the same kind of quality and comfort as their yoga pants and tops, though it comes at a significant investment with a single bikini top starting at ¥8,000. However, if you’re looking for a swimsuit that will last you over time, this might be where you end up buying it. Not to mention, they offer a much wider size range than most other brands.
In recent years, the lines between athletic swimwear and fashion swimwear have become increasingly blurred, with many of the big surf brands now creating options for women that are high on both style and performance. One of our favorites is Patagonia, which offers a range of styles—many of which are reversible—in bright colors and fun prints. Prices range from about ¥5,000 to ¥13,000 per piece, but this is quality that lasts. Find them at some Patagonia stores or online. Another reliable women’s surf brand is Roxy, which carries a wide variety of swimwear (priced from about ¥6,000 to ¥14,000) in addition to rashguards and wetsuits. Also worth checking out are Ripcurl and Billabong.
What are your favorite stores for swimwear in Tokyo? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!