- The major department stores, malls and shops are typically open Mondays to Sundays, including holidays, starting at 10 in the morning and closing at 8 in the evening. Smaller establishments may have shorter operating hours and close on the weekends and holidays.
- Every time you enter a mall or shop, expect to hear the greeting “irasshaimase”, which means “welcome” and “please come in”. You are not expected nor required to respond.
- Cash is still the most accepted mode of payment around the country, but many of the larger malls and shops have started to accept credit cards in recent years.
Types of Stores Found In Japan
- Shopping malls – These are common in Japan’s major cities, and they usually occupy one entire building with several storeys where people can shop for clothes, shoes, and other goods. They also have movie theatres, a number of restaurants and cafes, and gaming arcades.
- Shopping arcades – These are covered shopping streets typically found in medium to large sized cities. On both sides of the streets are various shops, restaurants and other business establishments. Some of the longest arcades in Japan are found in Takamatsu, Sendai and Osaka.
- Convenience stores – Also called konbini, convenience stores are a common sight on almost every street corner of Japan. There are more than 40,000 of them and most are open 24/7. They sell a variety of goods such as bento, snacks, drinks, and some basic household products. They also have ATMs and ticket machines where you can buy concert, museum and other event tickets.
- Electronics shops – For your camera, computer, phone, games, and appliance needs, visit any of Japan’s big electronic chains, particularly Bic Camera, Yamada Denki, and Yodobashi Camera. These stores are usually housed in large, multi-storey buildings, with a diverse selection of electronics and gadgets for all your needs.
- Flea markets – Commonly seen along streets right outside temples and shrines, flea markets specialise in local crafts, art, antiques, jewellery, food, weapons, tools, and other traditional products.
Top Japanese Shopping Destinations
Known for its many high-end boutiques and stores, Ginza is located in Tokyo and is perfect for those looking to purchase designer brand clothes, shoes and other apparel.
Also in Tokyo, Shinjuku is one of Japan’s biggest and most famous shopping and entertainment hubs. It is home to several large malls and electronics shops, as well as many medium and small sized stores in the shopping arcades in the area.
Harajuku consists of two primary shopping streets that target the young and the trendy. Takeshita Dori is a long, narrow street just a stone’s throw away from Harajuku Station, and is lined with stores and eateries that appeal to the youth market. Omotesando, on the other hand, is more on the luxurious end of the spectrum, with upscale designer brands and more expensive restaurants and cafes.
Located in the southern part of Osaka, Namba is home to various large department stores, and one of Japan’s most popular shopping arcades, the Shinsaibashi Suji. Approximately 600 metres long, the covered shopping street has an abundance of boutiques, brand name stores and restaurants.
Many of the big malls —- specifically Hanshin, Daimaru, Mitsukoshi-Isetan, and Hankyu — have their main headquarters in Osaka’s Umeda district.