Buying gifts for friends and family can easily take up a whole day of your precious holiday time. Looking for just the right thing can be agonising and expensive. To take part of the pain away, try to do the following.
- write a list of who you need to buy things for
- decide what they would like or what makes them laugh
- work out a budget and don’t go over it. Don’t buy a better version in another shop – I’ve made this mistake many times before.
See the photos and maps on the shops mentioned below.
Marugin sells traditional Japanese souvenirs including hina dolls, craftwork and fireworks (try getting past immigration with those!).
Saiwa, opposite the Kabuki Theater (currently under construction) has Japanese snacks in beautifully designed packaging. Shiseido The Ginza has amazing toiletry bags plus the full range of Shiseido beauty products and a spa upstairs.
In Marui department store, Blue Bleuet has lots of girly modern things at cheap prices including handbags, jewellery and trinkets. Village Vanguard, also in Marui, is a fantastic bookshop which stocks apart from books, gadgets, keychains, fish flipflops and the latest fun stuff. Choholic Swimmer is full of kitsch, girly things – pink is everywhere and the designs are very cute. Takamura is a traditional Japanese paper shop selling washi paper, fans and postcards. For diehard Hello Kitty fans (or Kitty Chan in Japanese), Giftgate is the ultimate Hello Kitty shop – everything you could wish for including the latest iphone covers.
This area is a gift giver’s paradise. For classic kitchenware head to Madu, for kids’ toys go to Kiddyland and Stories for cartoon clothing. Bebe Sol in Harujuku sells recycled goods, for example, bits and bobs of fabrics put together to make beautiful and original bags. Spiral Market on the second floor of Spiral Hall is a very sophisticated shop selling upmarket stationery, bath products, a full range of ribbons, jewellery and kitchenware. Gallery Kawano is where you’ll find samples of original kimono and obi fabric and kimonos for men and women. Tokyos Tokyo in Tokyu Plaza has modern Japanese goods including stationery, headphones and some Hello Kitty things. Oriental Bazaar is a huge shop which carries chopsticks, kimonos, furniture, tenugui and trinkets. Pink Latte is a pink themed shop for young teenage girls and there’s an actual plane in the shop! If you’ve completely run out of ideas then go to Daiso, the 4 storey 100 yen shop where the gift receiver will never know how much you’ve spent – almost everything is 100 yen and the novelty of Japanese goods will certainly be intriguing to the receiver.
In Galleria, Tokyo Midtown, there are a plethora of gift shops. A couple that have caught my eye are WiseWise which sells traditional Japanese goods but are chic and elegant and The Cover Nippon which has furniture, tenugui and house slippers. Wirebag by Anteprima has gorgeous handbags for women and are very cute but a little expensive!
Shinjuku also has tons of places as you wander around the Lumine department stores within the station. Easy to get lost but in a good way – the shops never seem to stop and most are dedicated to women. Roomsshop in Lumine 2 is great for items such as modern jewellery, cute purses and cushions.
I have saved the best shop for last. Bingoya, two stops from Shinjuku on the Oedo line, is the top dog of all traditional Japanese souvenir shops. Four floors chocablock full of washi paper, stationery, ceramics, kokeshi dolls, traditional toys, fabric and more. It’s like a museum, smells like a Shitamachi house and is absolutely to die for. Folkcraft has never been so cool!
If you’re looking for food items, go to the basement of any department store and heaven will await you. If you’re flying food out of Japan, check the expiry date and if it needs to be refrigerated.
For more photos and details about these gift shops go towww.windowshoppingintokyo.wordpress.com