Monday, October 5, 2015

TRAVEL 101 | My Tokyo Shopping Guide ♡ Beauty, Food, Duty-Free + more



Let's kick off Asia Week with a shopping guide! After 3 trips, I am now familiar enough with Tokyo to share where to find the best product selection. Tokyo remains my #1 destination for makeup and skin care, especially for exclusives and ultra luxe brands. The language barrier can be intimidating, but sales associates in Tokyo are always so accommodating and have, for the most part, always gone the extra mile to help me.


Haneda Airport
Duty-Free

NARITA Airport: All the standard and designer brands such as Guerlain, Clarins, Chanel, and Dior are offered. SK-II offers their foundations and other makeup here as well as travel exclusive sets. Shu Uemura has adorable travel sets of skin care and lipstick duos or trios for highly discounted prices. I always stock up on my eyelash curlers! You'll also find Jill Stuart, THREE, RMK, and other popular Japanese brands. Unique to Narita is the large ADDICTION counter. Black eyeliners and eyeshadows and other popular shades are always sold out.

HANEDA Airport: THREE, RMK, and other brands are stocked, but the selection is noticeably smaller. The counters do not necessarily offer the full range of products. Same as always, black eyeliners and eyeshadows and other popular shades are sold out. Unique to Haneda, however, is the tiny Maison Ladurée counter. Makeup stock was limited, but the brushes and cases were plentiful! 


Shinjuku

TAKASHIMAYA: This department store is a major retailer in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and China (Shanghai). I've visited the Shinjuku location multiple times during my trips to Tokyo, and I highly recommend it! There's a spacious Louis Vuitton boutique on the first floor. The Chanel boutique has the best selection of black leather and gold hardware bags I have seen anywhere else in the world. If you love shoes, I highly recommend the women's shoe department. I've spotted high-end brands like Ash as well as the widest selection of Japanese brands I have seen in Tokyo. A good portion of the selection is made in Japan (better quality). Try Jill Stuart heels and Walk by Chisato Tsumori if you need flats. In case shoes do not interest you, Takashimaya has an entire floor dedicated to affordable accessories such as wallets, key holders, sunglasses, and more. I also recommend visiting the Arth hat boutique for trendy and worthwhile caps and hats. I've purchased a few for my grandmother, and she adores them!



ISETAN: This is the epic department store I've showed in my Tokyo vlogs. It is a legendary shopping destination, 8 floors of heaven. The beauty department on the first floor is brightly lit, so makeup appears true to color. This store carries all my favorite brands, such as SUQQU, THREE, ADDICTION, Maison Ladurée, and Shu Uemura so the environment always feels hectic. I have never seen a beauty department so consistently busy! I finally bought some Albion here on my most recent trip to Japan, and I can finally see why their skin care is so popular. No wonder so many of you have asked for reviews!

Although the first floor is dedicated almost entirely to beauty, most of the other floors in Isetan are dedicated to fashion. I loved discovering Japan exclusive brands such as M Label, which has a petite line that's perfectly suited for those who are between 85 and 105 pounds. I mostly shop for skirts and pants while in Japan since the lengths are always perfect, even though I'm very short at 5'. Not having to worry about and pay for alterations is such a treat!


Ginza

MITSUKOSHI: This is the oldest department store in Japan, and my grandmother fondly recalls shopping here with my grandfather many years ago. This once used to be the only location where Maison Ladurée, SUQQU, THREE, and ADDICTION could be found under the same roof, but Isetan now offers all four counters and more. Nonetheless, I highly recommend visiting this store because it is quieter. Just a few steps from the Laduree counter is the Hakuhodo counter. The stock is limited, but it's worth a shot if you do not have time to visit the Omotesando showroom!

SHISEIDO PARLOUR: This Shiseido store is split into two. One is a restaurant with a delicacies shop below, while the beauty and home goods store is across the street. I haven't purchased anything from the Parlour Shop, but that is only because I haven't had enough time to explore. There are a few highly exclusive beauty brands like Dicila, which is apparently even more luxurious (and costly) than my beloved Cle de Peau.

TAU HIROSHIMA: I was surprised at how small this department store was. It has a casual store vibe, with groceries on the first floor and restaurants on the second floor. I visited specifically to explore the Kumano Fude Shop's brushes. The boutique is also located on the second floor and was featured in my first Tokyo vlog if you would like to see the store layout. Beautylish sells the best curated selection of Chikuhodo brushes on the web, but there were a couple red-handled and short white-handled brushes that I thought looked worthwhile! I am not a big fan of Koyudo, but the shop had a vast selection of the signature Fu-Pas brushes and some more affordable ranges. I found many of them quite prickly on the skin.



Akihabara

MATSUMOTO KIYOSHI: This is the best and largest drugstore I have visited in Tokyo. It is clean and organized. The first floor is dedicated to pharmacy goods such as medicine and salon pas, while the second floor houses all the high-end and mid-range beauty products. This store stocks many different skin care brands, most of which I had never seen before. I had the most fun on the third floor, though, because I truly love Japan's drugstore mascaras, eyeliners, and false lashes! The selection is mind-blowing, and even American brands like Maybelline offer exceptional formulas. Although the Roppongi location also has a good selection, I recommend avoiding it at night because it is in the seedy "red light" district.


Omotesando

There are plenty of beautiful designer boutiques in the area such as Chanel and Delvaux as well as a mall called Omotesando Hills with stores like Saint Laurent and Milly. There are also huge international brand shops such as Nike, H&M, and the like. The Comme des Garcons PLAY pop-up is between Chanel and Delvaux, and they will process your transaction free of tax!

Toward the outskirts of Omotesando is the Hakuhodo showroom. It is inside a small nondescript building with a tiny elevator. This spacious yet tidy showroom offers the largest selection of Hakuhodo brushes I've ever seen, such as those with the shimmering champagne and shimmering white handles. They do not offer tax refunds, unlike the counter inside Mitsukoshi (on purchases over $75), but the showroom will give you a gift with purchases over $200.


Harajuku

There are lots of small shops in this area. Some are famous for street style, while others are casual or tourist-geared fast fashion, but my favorite part is all the sneaker stores here. On my second trip, I found a sweet pair of Jordan 7s in my itty bitty size! There are lots of kawaii and princess-inspired girly clothing stores as well as punk and goth themed shops, so the variety is impressive. I love people watching in this neighborhood because the young people who frequent this neighborhood have great style!

view from Tokyo Tower
General Advice, Observations, and Tips

I'm sorry I don't have more photos! There is a strict no photo policy inside the department stores. I've had sales associates ask me to delete the shaky ones I tried to take in the past, so I've given up. It will be that much more exciting when you go shopping, though, I promise!

I enjoy shopping in Tokyo more than I enjoy shopping anywhere else in the world. I save literally hundreds on alterations, so I highly recommend shopping for clothing in Japan if you are petite. If you're on a budget, stop by Uniqlo. Amazing high-quality basics for less! I love their sweaters and low-cut socks.
The majority of women in Tokyo are significantly smaller, 90-120 pounds and around 5'2 to 5'5 from what I observed, so the petite ranges are meant for women around 90 pounds. Some might gasp in shock, but Tokyo is very health conscious and food is fairly expensive (not including fast food). Everyone walks a lot and in result, most are very slim and that is the expectation! 

Expect to spend a considerable amount of time at beauty counters at Isetan, Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya, etc. The sales associates are required to open up every box and compact for you to confirm and inspect the products before ringing you up and sealing the goodies into a plastic bag. Most importantly, you must stop by the tax-free counter (one or two per department store) at the end of the day with all your receipts to process all your transactions!

Also, the basement or B1 floor of each department store is where you can find groceries, pastries, and many kinds of beautifully packaged food gifts. I was starving and purchased a bento of fresh sushi at Isetan B1 but had nowhere to eat it. I had wrongly assumed that the basement was set up like a food court, like in America. Make these your last purchases and take them back to your hotel room to eat! There will be a couple stalls serving food (with four to five stools each) but they're very rare and always busy. Plan ahead!

The selection in Tokyo — no matter what you're looking for — will feel overwhelming. The first time I went to a technology store to browse through cameras and phone cases, my jaw literally dropped to the floor. Since I've done quite a bit of beauty shopping and it's what I know best, I will put together a "best of" Japan-exclusive beauty post soon! Thanks so much for reading xo

please do not use or republish my photos
without written permission
___________________________________________________________________________
Follow the RAEviewer RAEview Twitter RAEview YouTube RAEview Facebook Page

6 comments:

  1. Hi rae, would you recommend shopping for brands like shu uemura, rmk, addiction at narita airport or the department stores? Is there any price difference?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, shop for basics at duty-free because it will save you some money and more importantly, time. But if you're looking for new collections, popular makeup shades, or eyeliners/etc, then it's best to visit the department store. Duty-free counters don't always carry new products or are sold out of popular products!

      Delete
  2. I had my stop over in Narita Airport on the way back here to the US from the Philippines. I discovered how cheap the Shiseido and Shu Uemura eyelash curlers are so I bought one of each and 3 refills for the Shiseido one. I'm running low on budget which I didn't get to buy another Shu Uemura one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Rae,
    Do you know if we can buy those mentioned brands as Suqq, RMK, Adicction on line?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Rae, when you did your facial in Japan where did you do it at and did you have to make an appointment? I'm there now so I wanted to try it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went to the Koh Gen Do spa! I would recommend making an appointment. Don't forget to ask for the apple tea!

      Delete

Please do not leave blog or advertising links in the comments section, as they are considered spam and will not be published. Thank you for stopping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...