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Where to Buy
Hotel arcades, shopping malls, department stores, specialty shops and flea markets are fun places to shop.
Hotel Arcades and Shopping Centers: Many clerks speak English at shops in hotel arcades or in shopping centers located near major hotels.
Department Stores: Japanese department stores offer superb service and a vast choice of merchandise, from basement food emporiums and designer clothing to crafts and household goods. Many hold frequent art and craft exhibitions, boast rooftop playgrounds, offer dining venues and have promotion halls with special sales of discounted merchandise. Receptionists can summon English-speaking staff for special assistance.
Underground Shopping Malls: Underground shopping malls are found at or near most major railway stations and below busy streets in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo and other cities. For details, clients should see the "v" information office in each city.
Specialty Shops: Many specialty shops, selling everything from stationery to haute couture, can be found in fashionable districts of big cities.
Discounts and Bargains
Supermarkets: Japanese supermarkets are the staple of Japanese neighborhoods, with prices that are lower than at department stores. Clients can browse aisles packed with food items, cooking accessories and everyday items from shampoo to hosiery. The major chains include Seiyu, Jusco, Itoyokado, and Daiei.
Discount Stores: Located near train stations and other high-traffic areas, discount stores undercut competition with high-volume sales and a steady turnover of inventory. Clients should inquire at the local tourist information office for tips on where to go.
Bargain Markets: Wholesale districts can be found in bigger cities, with concentrations of shops selling the same type of merchandise at bargain prices. Tokyo's Shinjuku and Ikebukuro districts, for example, are good for cameras and audio gear, while Tokyo's Akihabara and Osaka's Nippombashi are recommended for those seeking electrical and computer ware. Kappabashi in Tokyo and Doguya-suji in Osaka abound in shops selling wholesale restaurant supplies, from woks to noren (shop curtains).
Shops: These bargain stores have taken Japan by storm. A wide range of
products—from food to items used in daily life—are sold at the uniform price of
100yen. They're located near train stations and in shopping districts. Clients can
find inexpensive souvenirs ranging from chopsticks to sake bottles.