Source : www.tourist-note.com
Selling everything from fashion to lifestyle goods, electronics, stationery and toys, Japan’s department stores offer one of the country’s most popular shopping experiences. Well-known brands and high-quality goods are a hallmark, as is beautiful gift wrapping and exemplary customer service. You’ll be greeted with the welcome call of “irasshaimase” and elevator girls dressed in neat uniforms who are often employed to provide information on what’s available on different levels.
If you’re looking for a unique Japanese department store experience, keep an eye out for these popular shopping destinations.
From its flagship store in Shinjuku, Isetan has emerged as one of Japan’s most successful department store exports, with branches in Hong Kong, London, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. It is considered a trendsetter in fashion, with window displays often created by leading artists. The Shinjuku store also features an entire building dedicated to men’s fashion. Aside from this flagship store, there are also branches in Fuchu, Tachikawa, Matsudo, Sagamihara and Urawa-ku.
Isetan Shinjuku Address: 3-14-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Operated by the same company but a little more upmarket than Isetan is Mitsukoshi, one of Japan’s oldest department stores. It was founded in 1673 as Echigoya, selling kimonos door-to-door, before establishing its own shop premises in 1683. The Chūō-ku store in Tokyo is one of Mitsukoshi’s most famous and was recognized as an Important Cultural Property in 2016. It is situated in an area which is renowned for its high-priced real estate and has become a meeting spot for locals to shop and socialize. But there are also numerous other Mitsukoshi branches across Japan, as well as in Taiwan, China, Korea, Europe and North America.
Mitsukoshi Chūō-ku Address: 4-6-16, Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tokyo
Together with Seibu department stores, Sogo operates as a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings Co. which owns the Ito Yokado supermarkets and Seven-Eleven convenience stores. Sogo was founded in Osaka in 1830 and originally sold used kimonos. It has since established an extensive network of branches across Japan as well as numerous international stores which are now operated as independent franchises. Sogo sells a range of goods from fashion to electronics, but also has a reputation for its high-quality food, with many Japanese opting to shop here while indulging in a zeitaku (luxurious) lunch.
Sogo Yokohama Address: 2-18-1, Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
Daimaru traces its origins to the early 18th century dry goods store of Dai-Monjiya in Kyoto before a store named Daimaruya opened in Nagoya in 1728. It flourished into a chain which operated as Daimaru Dry Goods K.K. from 1920, before simplifying its name to just Daimaru eight years later. In the 1960s, Daimaru was the largest retailer in the country and its flagship store in Shinsaibashi, Osaka is set within an elaborate building which dates to 1922. Daimaru is known for its imported designer brands (you can even get a tailor-made suit here), as well as gourmet cuisine on its food floors. It also operates the Daimaru Peacock supermarket chain and has its own high fashion label, Dominique Sirop for Daimaru, in partnership with the famous French designer.
Daimaru Shinsaibashi Address: 1-7-1, Shinsaibashisuji, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka
If these four stores don’t satisfy your shopping cravings, then check out some of Japan’s other popular department stores in our article “More department stores to discover on your visit to Japan” (https://tourist-note.com/20170709164917).