While the Japanese government has yet to announce a full lockdown of the capital due to the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has made it crystal clear that citizens should avoid unnecessary outings, avoid crowded places and stay inside as much as possible. While it might be our best bet to “flatten the curve,” local businesses have certainly been hit in unprecedented ways.

As Tokyoites adjust to this new lifestyle, businesses are doing what they can to keep providing their services and are urging locals to consider them as their first course of action. So what can you do to help Tokyo’s local scene get through? Here are a few tips.

Eat Local

Order Takeaway or Delivery

We’re not necessarily suggesting that you order take-out every day (you do you), but maybe one or two days a week is a nice trick to have something to look forward to and to have some hint of normalcy spread out throughout the week. Local restaurants are slowly embracing this new way of sustaining themselves.


One of our nominees for the TW Readers Awards, OUT, is offering to take home some of their delicious handmade pasta and sauce. Available for pickup at their restaurant in Aoyama or delivery (charges apply), it’s perfect If you want to treat yourself while working from home. Punk Doily, the famous spot for Australian meat pies has also switched to takeaway, offering customers frozen pies delivered straight to their door.

Popular Delivery Apps

If you’re curious to see what’s around you, there are a few delivery mobile and web apps that you can use in Japan. We’re all familiar with Uber Eats, but some restaurants might have deals with other companies. The following two require some basic understanding of Japanese, but if that’s not too much of an issue for you definitely give them a try:

Rakuten Delivery

Buy From Local Farmers

The idea of buying in bulk is strong with this outbreak. As many sources have already pointed out, panic buying can be quite harmful to those who might not be able to afford or simply can’t store that much food (or toilet paper). If you can avoid eating convenience store food, definitely do so. You’ll feel better mentally and physically, and it makes for a lot more flavorful meals. When shopping for produce, consider your local market. This isn’t only eco-friendly, but will also provide some support to farmers who might have a little more stock than usual. Plus, spring ingredients are particularly delicious. If you live far from even the closest supermarket, consider getting your produce delivered. Oisix is a Japanese app that can help you do just that. Live in KyushuVegery offers delicious Kyushu-grown vegetables and fruit available for delivery.

Shop Local

Of course, food isn’t the only thing on our minds. You might be in need of some new clothes, forms of entertainment and or simple bare necessities during this time. Even then, there are ways to help businesses around you.

Double Tall Shinjuku Gyoen

Buy Your Coffee at Your Local Coffee Shop

While it might not be your preferred choice, buying coffee beans or grounds at your local coffee joint beats any store-bought bag. This is not only great because you’d be helping them with making sure their inventory doesn’t go bad, but also hopefully avoids taking any trains (and thus avoiding crowded places). Bonus points if it’s a little bit of a walk; we could all use a little bit of outdoor time.

Shop Online, but Make it Local

This maybe goes without saying, but if your favorite local vintage store or book store has to close its doors, it might be good to browse their online store if they have one. Be mindful of delivery though, as it might severely be affected by the outbreak. I recommend avoiding requesting express shipping to not add any additional pressure to retailers and warehouse workers. If you’re used to shopping on Amazon or iHerb, try looking for local alternatives or reconsider whether you really need to shop right now.

I understand, however, that sometimes you might need or are looking for something very specific. Lohaco is a great app that allows you to browse from a selection of stores offering a range of products, from electronics to clothes. This can be a really good option if you want to avoid going to shopping malls or outlets altogether.

Share What You Know

Finally, not so much a tip as an idea, consider sharing any information you might know with your community, friends or just your Twitter followers. Any bit of information can be useful to somebody out there.