1. UNIQLO Ekinaka
clothing for unexpected weather
You may be very unfamiliar with the climate in Japan depending on where you come from. If you hail from more tropical climate and encounter snow in Japan, you may need gloves, a scarf, a hat, jacket and umbrella that you have never needed to buy before.
Even if you are coming in Fall, you never know what kind of weather we are going to have in Winter. On the other hand, if you are coming from the north, you may be taken off guard by the hot and humid weather we have during the Summer.
UNIQLO is a perfect solution for climate confusion. They are nationwide clothing store and recently started to set up stores in train stations so that you can easily find whatever you need. They have all type of seasonable clothing, from under-shirts/pants, shirts, T-Shirts, jeans, and pants, to coats, and for men, women, and kids all with reasonable prices. They are the most popular clothing brand in Japan.
2. BIC CAMERA
when you need batteries, chargers, adapters…
You might forget to bring some tiny things from home, such as charger, adapter etc. Plus, Japanese power outlets might be different from those in your home country, so you may trouble using your hair dryer, shaver or battery charger. A tiny and yet very important thing to forget.
No worries, Bic Camera has everything you need to solve such problems! They also have appliances, PCs, printers, digital cameras and many other useful gadgets. You can enhance your time in Japan with digital products, either those you bring from home or those which you buy at Bic Camera. You can also ask anything about mobile phone/network contracts, in order to smoothly connect to the internet during your stay in Japan and avoid paying ridiculously high international fees. They may even have an interpreter available if you are fortunate.
3. TOKYU HANDS
for fun, friends, and family
TOKYU HANDS is a high-end variety shop selling bags, travel gear, cards, DIY items, stationery and more. You will find very interesting products, like miniature figures, models, board/card games and costumes (cosplay!), which can make your life in Japan more enjoyable. It is also a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family back home. TOKYU HANDS is great even just for window shopping. If you’re lucky, you may be able to see an interesting promotion or product demonstration there.
unbelievable variety, reasonable price
We cannot say that DAISO is a low-end variety shop anymore. They have a ton of daily necessities for use in the kitchen when studying, for cleaning, etc. People coming from outside of country tend to buy many goods at DAISO as inexpensive souvenirs. It seems that more and more people can be found bringing big DAISO bags to the airport. If you are not looking to spend a lot but you have to have something, this is the place to go.
5. Seijo Ishii
imported foods grocery store
People from abroad are sometimes reluctant to shop at traditional Japanese supermarkets, especially when they first arrive and have yet to get accustomed to Japanese cooking and cuisine. SEIJO ISHII has imported food (including spices) and drinks (especially wine and beer) that might be more familiar and comfortable for you. They also have pre-made meals that you can eat without cooking. SEIJO ISHII is a good place to check out if you get nostalgic for the tastes of your home country.
for coffee, wine, and other imported foods
KALDI is similar to Seijo Ishii, and becoming more popular. They are known as the “COFFEE FARM”, but carry many products other than coffee, such as spices, ham, cheese, snacks, etc. They always offer coffee tasting in front of the store, so you can follow the smell coffee and find KALDI easily. You will see many kinds of coffee beans in addition to coffee mugs, coffee makers, and other related items. If you are a coffee lover, this is a place you should definitely visit.
prepaid IC card for transportation and shopping
This last one is not a specific store, but a useful means of shopping with ease. Carrying around and paying with cash can often be a pain, figuring out whether you have enough change, having a physically full wallet, etc. In order to avoid the inconvenience of cash, SUICA is very convenient and strong tool that you should have.
SUICA was originally designated as an IC prepaid ticket option for any type of public transportation around Tokyo area. Its usefulness has been upgraded with the additional function for shopping at many locations. Nowadays people use SUICA everywhere in Japan. SUICA can be used in the stores introduced in this article (Note: depending on the store, there are some places where SUICA cannot be used. You may be able to check on the store’s website). Stores located in/around the station are especially likely to take SUICA, so you can take the train and buy something with SUICA on your way to your destination, without cash.
To get SUICA, just go to the station and find a kiosk that sells train tickets and SUICA (IC) cards. There should be a menu option to purchase an IC Card. Press the button, select how much you would like to charge, and then insert bills for payment.
Some credit card companies have partnerships with SUICA. If you set up a credit card in Japan, you can charge your SUICA card from a credit card account without cash, and even set up the “automatic charge” function so that your card is recharged automatically with the amount you set when the balance gets close to zero.
Moreover, SUICA has a point system through which you can earn points depending on how much you spend. SUICA will provide you with benefits for shopping using their card.
Japan has a terrific transportation system, and unsurprisingly businesses tend to gather around the stations. Knowing some nice places and efficient ways to shop on the go will allow you to better take advantage of convenience in Japan, and enhance your daily life.