Japan is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after shopping paradise in the world. Aside from being one of the major producers of cars, electronics, and well-loved beauty products, it has a superior manufacturing environment that will surely surprise all shopaholics, ranging from good buys to the weirdest and strange things you never thought will exist (like dictionary desk pillow, mobile tissue paper, mute microphone and banana keeper). It is said that the best way to know a country or a city is to visit its market or shopping centers. From the biggest department stores in Ginza, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, to retail shops around stations, they'll guarantee the quality of products in reasonable prices. Just like any country, cash is accepted everywhere in exchange for goods. However, most automatic teller machines (ATMs) usually don't support foreign-issued ATM cards. If you are out of money, ATMs that provide English user menu are found around post offices and 7-Eleven "konbini" (convenience stores) or Seven Bank ATM to be specific. These teller machines allow cash withdrawal by credit and debit cards, which includes Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, UnionPay and JCB cards. Another option is to find Citibank ATMs. Smartphone applications that help navigate ATMs are now available in app stores. It's recommended to do cash transactions in 24-hour convenience stores, because only the central post offices have 24/7 ATM service. Also, be aware of cash withdrawal limits in a day. ATMs are unavailable on Sundays and public holidays between 8:00 PM to midnight. Upon entering shops, it is expected that the locales will warmly greet buyers “Irasshaimase”, which means "welcome, please come in", and it's accepted not to respond. Japan also has shopping manners when handing them your money. You should put the neatly unfolded bill onto the provided tray. Your change may be handed to you in the same way. Bills are much taken care because it is forbidden to damage or throw away money, or else you will be fined 200,000 Yen or spend a year in jail. More so, bargaining is not commonly done in most stores. Take note also of fixed 8% consumption tax on all items.
Night markets are not much seen in Japan. Major department stores, and big shopping complexes operate from 10:00 to 20:00 (8:00 PM) daily. Mostly, they are open on weekends and national holidays, excluding New Year's day, when most of shops are out of business.
Budget shops are also available for people travelling in a shoestring. Unless you wanted to spend all your money to Isetans and designer boutiques, small shops and stores are your best shopping haven. On train stations, you can find budget-friendy goods on 100 yen shops. This is a great place to buy cheap souvenirs and keepsakes. Also, keep your self updated of the tax-free shops around the major cities in Japan, especially for foreigners (note that you need to bring your passport to avail tax-exemption). If you wanted to buy yukatas, kimonos and any other "furugi" (second-hand clothes) in much cheaper price, you can find it in used clothing stores, which is very common in Tokyo. For book lovers, you can also find Japanese and English used books at Jimbocho, the bookshop district of Tokyo. Shoppers are on the look-out on large-scale discounts in early summer and winter when new year begins, though shopping centers are starting to mark their prices down in clearance sales in more frequent and longer periods.
Here at Pop Japan, we pride ourselves on being one of the most passionate promoters of our nation. It is our strong belief that Japan has the ability to offer anyone a very fulfilling life.