Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2009

Despite its reputation as Tokyo’s leading youth-fashion hub, the 109 shopping complex can be a forbidding place for foreigners. Wall-to-wall teenyboppers and floor upon floor of kawaii style madness make for a vibe that’s intense, if not downright freaky. So the appearance of the first English publication devoted to this retail palace makes for a welcome addition to the ranks of Tokyo guidebooks. Released by über-popular Japanese fashion mag Glitter, the 80-page guide is packed with info: a floor map, introductory blurbs about all the shops, interviews with gyaru idols, a history of the 109 building, and feature stories like “Why Hollywood Celebrities Shop at 109.”

¥580, available at bookstores (Kinokuniya, Tsutaya, Book 1st, Yurindo and others) and conbini nationwide and overseas and Amazon Japan.