Department Stores, Tokyo
Seiyu Supermarket is the Walmart of Japan. No really, it's not like Walmart, it is Walmart. Owned by Sam Walton's family in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Seiyu has a huge grocery store, certainly the largest I've seen in Tokyo, and it sells almost everything. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, rice, beer, ramen, candy, snacks, ice cream, you name it. On my first visit, I just looked around, but on my second visit I decided to get dinner. I have purchased a few things here including nigiri (one of a number of Japanese raw fish dishes we Americans call sushi), ramen noodles, and a beer.
Seiyu also sells clothing, toys, kitchenware, and much more. They also have a pet store, called P's First; a bookstore called Libro; a 100 yen store, numerous restaurants attached to the stores, like Mister Donut, Starbucks, and Watami; and there are a number of other small stores associated with Seiyu such as dry cleaners and banks.
Similarities between Walmart and Seiyu: they sell everything, prices are low, and they have lots of cheap crap.
Differences between Walmart and Seiyu: Seiyu is not full of puritanical alcohol nazis that check your one year old's ID Card before refusing to sell you a six pack of beer, Seiyu is full of local Japanese brands that Japanese people prefer, while Walmart in the US is full of cheap Chinese stuff.
Seiyu has 74 stores in Tokyo, and 368 in Japan, under the names Seiyu, Sunny, and Livin.
If you're looking for a place for interesting souvenirs, Tokyu Hands ought to be on your list of places to visit. We originally stopped over because I wanted to get some Japanese greeting cards, but we found all sorts of other delights on SIX FLOORS. I was particularly taken by something called an Eggling. It's an egg, all right, but if you crack the top (the way you might if you planned to eat a soft-boiled egg) and put a little water inside, it grows herbs. One of the photos is of the miniature Japanese landmarks for which one can get Lego kits; other is of the elaborately decorated greeting cards (the number, color, and type of ties are all significant, but I can't give you an explanation).
Open daily, 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM.
I visited Tokyo for work to research the fashion sector here......so a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do....SHOP...or at least research as nothing fit me being a UK size 12 :-(
There are numerous department stores throughout Tokyo in the various district and they are HUGE!!!! you can spend a day in one of them.
Best bet is to select what you want to look at rather than wade through the whole store!
What to buy: Fabulous cosmetics, handbags and accessories - the ladies seem to use large handkerchiefs to wipe their hands on rather than tissues and these make really in expensive (lightweight!) gifts to take home
What to pay: everything seems to be expensive as all tend to be high end brands
Narita airport has tons and tons of duty free stores and even have a nakamise shopping mall located in the south wing of terminal 1! Located after security control in the South Wing, it features 36 shops and includes luxury fashion houses with a special and long-standing place in Japanese shopper’s heart such as Cartier, Bulgari, Hermès, Coach and Salvatore Ferragamo.
there also other options here like local japanese brands and deparment store branches so a word to the shopper like me, be careful as you might buy lots of stuff! (i'm guilty as charged!).
What to buy: Gucci and Burberry, Cartier, Bulgari, Hermès, Coach and Salvatore Ferragamo, Fukujen japanese tea, Ginza Akebono japanese snacks and delicacies, Asakusa souvenir items and confectionaries and a lot more!
What to pay: maxx out your credit card!!!!
Tokyu Hands is a popular department store. At the entrance you can pick up a floor guide which is available in various languages (pretty good!). Your typical department store sells everything from games to tools to luggage.
We went to the Ikebukuro branch purely because of the surprise on the 8th floor... the cat playland! Thats right, for a fee you can enter a room and snuggle with a bunch of kitty cats. I was tempted, I really was but my boyfriend didn't want to go in and I decided it probably wasn't worth the money, they are just normal cats after all. We did have a little look around the pet shop though.
What to buy: The only thing I bought was a keyring which looks like a peapod and when you squeeze it some plastic peas come out. Don't ask me why.
What to pay: How much to pay? How long is a piece of string?
This is a multi-floored department store showcasing many funky and gadget-y Japanese goods. The goods are pretty expensive here, but browsing is free and the oooh value was good. I usually get cheaper versions of the goods sold here at a 100Yen shop.
This store shares the building with the Takashimaya Department Store.
Despite having been to many major department stores around the World, I can surely say this is the biggest one! Incredible array of fashion, stuff for home (bath, kitchen, living room), sports goods, fantastic baby&kid floor with all major designers.
I spent virtually two days roaming through this department store and still didn't manage to see it all. On top floor (10 & 11) there is something resembling an upscale flea market of locally produced goods - for any fan of Japan-made stuff, this is the place to check out.
What to buy: Fashion is the main subject, but apart from that you can really get anything you want. I spent a lot of money on some of the best baby clothing I found in Tokyo.
What to pay: Higher than average prices, but so are the goods too.
Shibuya 109 is a shopping complex out of this world. There are 8 full floors of womens clothing and accessories. In Japan fashion is totally outrageuos. Anything goes. You can wear anything you like and you will look as normal as everyone else as anything really goes.
You will see lots of teenagers to - 30s (and im guessing here their age) with really dyed or bleach blonde hair or very light brown hair with fake tan brown tans wearing lots of makeup.
You feel like your seeing all these people like on the TDK ads. Its totally out of this world.
I've been living 10 minutes away from what some consider the major entry point into Tokyo from Chiba and Saitama, Kitasenju. It's a wonderful little town with the recent addition of the Marui department store adjacent to the Lumine department store and Kitasenju train station. Lumine, I believe, has been an addition from the past few years so it's quite new and clean, with little clothes boutiques, a nice market downstairs, a Sony plaza, DVD/record shop, and a great eating area upstairs. Also, it's conveniently attached to the train station so you don't have to go outside to enter. Next to that you have Marui which has been opened since Feb of 2004. It's a slightly more upscale department store which favors teens as demonstrated by the hip clothing (including a Gap). The place boast a Virgin record store, Tokyu Hands, Kinokuniya book store, an international market, a cheap and expensive food course down and upstairs respectfully and various other goods.
What to buy: try the restaurants from either department store. my recommendations are Tapas Tapas, Kokan Soba shop and another Chinese shop in Lumine. Also, check out the import stores. Both have one (at least).
Billed as the oldest department store in Japan, Mitsukoshi opened in 1673 as a kimono shop and became a department store in 1904. Carries many European brands.
What to buy: Can buy what you want, it all depends on how much you wish to spend in and second?
What I did was just had a good window shopping session.
What to pay: Lot of money
A huge shopping mall filled with ladies boutique stores on top of JR Shinjuku Station. On the top, there are two floors catered to stylish restaurants.