Japan is my most favorite country to shop at. Yeah, Hong Kong only comes next, and Bangkok comes third. While many think that shopping in Japan is ridiculously expensive, I'm here to be a myth buster. Shopping in Japan could be more expensive than shopping in other Asian countries. However, the technique here is to know where and when to shop in Japan just so you could get a good deal, most especially for signature items.
All of my previous trips in Japan were during Spring; and as far as I can remember, I was able to catch a lot of bargain items due to the changing of the season from Winter to Spring. I remembered shopping a lot from H&M and in Harajuku. Well Shibuya 109 is their fashion center but everything there is just expensive no matter what season it is. The brands there are all local designer brands and those shops really set the trend.
The best time to shop in Japan is from mid-December to mid-January. This is when you see the SALE sign everywhere! One weekend in December, we went to Yatsugatame Resort Outlet (outlet shops of local and foreign brands) and we've gone crazy shopping at Coach Factory where we shopped for an hour. We got 2 wallets, 3 bags, 2 bangles for just 100,000 yen or less (around Php 40,000). The Japanese people are too shopaholic that there are a lot of outlet malls/parks all over Japan. The biggest of which is the Mitsui Outlet Park Shiga Ryuo in Kyoto with 237 stores. The one we went to was the nearest to our place (less than an hour drive), located at 4000 Kobuchizawa-machi (town) Hokuto-shi (city), Yamanashi-ken (province).
The craziest shopping day is the New Year's Day! Yeah, what a way to spend so much on the first day of the year haha! Every New Year, most of the shops, most especially the local brands are preparing HAPPY BAGS. Each happy bag is filled with an entire set of outfit or multiple random items from a store and it's available on promo price. The usual price of a "happy bag" is 10,000 yen or Php 4,300. But its content is actual worth more than that. However, the catch here is that, you don't know what exact items are inside -- the style, design, color. What you only know is the size and the actual worth of all the items inside. Well, I've seen some that displayed the actual content of the bag but they're more expensive than the surprise ones. I watched in the news that there's this shop wherein a lot of people have already lined up at dawn to get HAPPY BAGS worth 10,000 yen each but are filled with items worth 100,000 yen or Php 43,000. Can you just imagine how awesome of a bargain that is?!? (I actually took photos of the happy bags but I lost them 'cause I failed to sync them to my laptop before deleting them)
So on New Year's Day, I went shopping in Tokyo with my cousin and aunts and I spent 2 hours in H&M because there were a lot of ridiculously discounted items and a lot of customers as well. I bought 10 items for only 5,000 yen of Php 2,200. That's a mix of dresses, shorts, tops, and skirts. I could've bought more but I limited my spending and my family has been waiting for me for so long at a resto across H&M. haha!
at the roof deck of Tokyu Plaza (Harajuku)
will never get tired of shopping for bargain finds
In Japan, we live in the province but we're just a minute or two away from boutiques and department stores. I think we go shopping like at least twice a week. On weekends we go to the malls in nearby cities such as the Aeon Mall in Kofu (Yamanashi), Don Quijote (Matsumoto, Nagano), etc. Imagine how much this trip damaged my pocket. But still, I was thankful 'cause I got a lot of free shopping from my aunt, uncle, and cousin.
my cousin is my forever shopping buddy