Department stores usually have an information desk on the first floor near the main entrance and a map of the store or a list of merchandise sold on each floor. Many department stores also house several restaurants, usually in the basement or on the top floor. Department stores are often located near subway or train stations and can sometimes be accessed through underground tunnels from subway lines.
Shops are usually open seven days a week from 10:00 to 20:00. Most convenience stores are usually open 24 hours. Japan’s current consumption tax is 5%.
Keep in mind that you will need to declare all items purchased abroad at U.S. Customs when you return. To plan for this, keep all original sales receipts and a list of your total expenditures. Currently, $400 worth of foreign goods can be brought into the U.S. duty-free.
Since Japanese people are generally smaller in size than American people, you may have difficulty finding clothing in larger sizes. Clothing sizes vary widely—there is no standard—so these equivalents are a very rough approximation.
|Clothing Size: Rough Equivalents|
|Women’s shoes –Japan||22||22½||23||23½||24||24½||25||26|
Where to Shop
Similar to Western supermarkets, Japanese supermarkets offer a variety of products. Food is often packaged in smaller quantities than in the US, Canada or Europe.
100 Yen Shops
100-Yen Shops are like the dollar stores in America. They offer tableware, clothing, stationery, houseware, and food at exactly 100 yen. But because of the 5% consumption tax, the items actually cost 105 yen.
Popularly called konbini, these small stores stock everyday items like groceries, toiletries, and beverages. Some also offer reading materials or school supplies. Often, convenience stores carry what’s in supermarkets or grocery stores, but in limited quantities or brands. Some offer other services, such as ATM, copier/fax, ticket reservations, digital camera printing, bill payment, and delivery.
Department stores in Japan are called hyakkaten or depato, an abbreviated English term. Some are operated by private railway operators that connect the stores to their stations. Most department stores have a grocery and food court in the basement and a rooftop with garden, aquatic, or pet supplies plus a children’s play area. They also have a traditional Japanese goods section where one can find kimonos or lacquerware.