Found in downtown Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, as well as adjacent to train stations in these cities, department stores sell a wide variety of goods relating to general daily life, such as food, clothing, and home products. They are well-staffed, and sell high-quality articles through personal interactions. You can shop for famous brands while taking advantage of wrapping services and other Japanese-style hospitality.One particular characteristic of Japanese department stores is the “depa-chika”, or the basement floor, where a wide range of foods such as side dishes, boxed lunches, Japanese sweets, and western confectioneries are sold. Department stores are located in the centers of big cities, next to the private railroad terminal stations and as a core tenant of suburban shopping centers. They are generally open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., though restaurants may be open until 10:00 p.m.
Shopping centers are commercial facilities with retail stores of clothing, everyday goods, groceries and restaurants. These facilities center around department stores and large super markets, with leisure facilities, parking lots, and movie theaters. Depending on the location, there may also be a post office or bank. They are often located next to a station, which makes shopping convenient.
Shopping centers generally close between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., allowing for easy after-dinner shopping. If you’re looking to buy “kawaii” (cute) goods, there are many trendy, casual fashion and accessory stores popular with young Japanese women. Please be aware that each store may have its own tax-free procedures.
This is where you can buy the luxurious brands and brand-name products of department stores at affordable prices. Outlet malls contain over 100 stores that sell sports/outdoor goods, interior products, and cosmetics, along with designer brands, brand-name clothes, shoes, bags and fashion accessories. They are often located a short distance from big city centers, in suburbs along expressways, main roads or in sightseeing areas. As such, it is convenient to visit via car. Usually a fixed-route bus operates between the outlet mall and its nearest railway station. You can also take an expressway bus from the center of Tokyo. Be sure to check directions if you’re visiting by yourself. Although it may take a full day to make a round trip to an outlet mall, the unexpected deals are well worth the effort.
Freestanding Stores/Brand Shops
Much like London’s Regent Street or Paris’s Champs-Elysees, visitors can shop for high-end brands at popular streets and in central areas such as Ginza, Harajuku, Shinsaibashi, and Tenjin. You can find specialty stores or select shops like Beams and United Arrows as well as luxurious brands shops like Hermes, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Most stores are open from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., and some stores cannot be reached without checking a map or a guidebook. Many stores in Tokyo and Osaka offer tax-free shopping.
Visitors can also enjoy Japan shopping via supermarkets, which sell daily necessities such as groceries and clothing. Prices are reasonable due to quantity and self-service. Candies and sweets, fruits, beverages and cooked foods are popular, and some supermarkets are even open from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. If you’re looking to buy lots of souvenirs in the neighborhood, supermarkets are a good place to go, and though they are not often found in the center of big cities, they can be found anywhere in Japan.
Drugstores can be found anywhere in Japan, from train stations to nearby hotels. They sell a variety of products in addition to medicine, including cosmetics, daily necessities, and health food. Cold medicines, gastrointestinal drugs, eye drops and more can easily be purchased here. Many drugstores offer tax-free shopping.
Select shops sell Japanese and foreign goods and apparel that each store presents based around various concepts, such as trendy, kawaii, or classy. They are especially popular among young Japanese men and women. These stores sell cool, fashionable goods, and can be found in central areas like Harajuku, Shibuya, and Ginza, as well as in outlet malls and shopping centers.
Found all over Japan, convenience stores operate tirelessly from early in the morning to late at night. You can buy sweets, snacks, drinks, boxed lunches, and other convenient items, including stationary. Most convenience stores do not stock large quantities of goods. Items can be found at similar prices no matter which convenience store you visit. Aside from shopping, various other services are also offered at convenience stores. You can use ATMs and photocopy machines, and services like home delivery, money exchange, purchasing tickets and prepaid e-money cards are also available. Convenience stores also offer helpful services unique to Japan, including warming up your boxed lunch in a microwave oven.
Electronics chains sell all kinds of electronics, including PCs, games, cell phones, beauty appliances, stationery, TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioning, kitchen appliances, and vacuum cleaners. You can find such chain stores anywhere in Japan. Some mega stores also sell cosmetics and food. Prices are reasonable and some older models of products are sold at a steep discount in clearance sales. Many of these stores offer point reward cards (such as mileage cards). With this system, customers are given points according to the price of the products. The customer can use accumulated points when he/she buys a product during their next visit.
100 Yen Shops
100 yen shops sell a wide range of products including household goods, stationery, and food for just 108 yen per item (100 yen plus an 8 percent consumption tax), making them a great place to shop for travelers and residents on a budget. They are referred to as Hyakkin, or 100 yen shop. There are several 100 yen store chains found all across Japan. The shops have a large selection of goods and are popular not only among local residents but tourists as well.
Shopping streets have sprung up in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. They are also found in residential areas removed from the city center. There are even underground shopping streets in central areas. You can find a variety of daily necessities, including food, clothes, and accessories. These products also make for a perfect souvenir. There are also restaurants unique to the area, which will satisfy your appetite. Enjoy taking a walk along one of the shopping streets near your accommodation.