I’ve decided to share my Japan experience in small installments rather than one mega post so keep reading below to hear about the shopping and dining in Japan!
One thing I observed from the Japanese women is that appearance is quite important. They are put together and never look like they just rolled out of bed. It was odd to see, but most of the young adults looked uniform in style. I was there in March when it was still a bit chilly. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was wearing a trench coat. It was often paired with a dress or skirt with tights underneath, and shoes would be either heels or flats. Overall a very feminine and graceful look. I also noticed that they kept their makeup minimal. The norm was fair skin, little to no eye makeup, and dollish pink blush. After a few days, I found myself emulating their makeup style too.
Everyone puts effort in the way they look and certainly no one would be caught wearing sweatpants in public. And there I was in my Adidas soccer pants and an oversized sweater… So after feeling like a total bum, I was inspired by the Japanese fashion I saw and decided to hit some major shopping centers.
Which leads me to my main point – two places that really stood out to me were Takeshita Street and Shibuya 909.
Takeshita Street, located in Harajuku is a narrow street filled with unique boutiques, chain stores, and restaurants. This is a great place to purchase cute goods or enjoy a crepe. If you find yourself visiting during busy times such as the weekend, be prepared to join a sea of people. From what I observed, a lot of the clothing was cutesy and geared towards teenagers. This area is known for selling Harajuku style clothing and depending on what day of the week you go, you may or may not see a lot of Harajuku girls strolling through. While I did not personally buy anything from here, I still think this is a must see place as it is a one of a kind shopping experience.
Another place that is extremely busy is Shibyua 109, a 10 floor department store located right by Shibuya Station. This is another hub of the latest Japanese trends. What I enjoyed was seeing the different styles of clothing available. It ranged from Urban Outfitters-esque to sporty to all lace and frills. I think everyone could find something here that reflects their personal style.
My family didn’t exactly create our itinerary with fine dining in mind. It was more like “oh, wherever we’re at around mealtimes, we’ll just find something nearby”. Besides, the nicer restaurants require reservations far in advance. Seeing as my family did not know how to speak Japanese, we did not bother with making reservations. (However if you really want to try an acclaimed restaurant you can just ask your hotel concierge to make the reservation on your behalf.)
Everywhere we went, there was good food to be eaten. You can find decent restaurants in busier places like right by JR stations or even inside of them. (It’s restaurants galore in the busy shopping area by Shibuya Crossing.) In the few days I spent in Tokyo, I had ramen, soba, udon, Korean BBQ, and a loooot of sashimi. The one food destination we planned was the Tsukiji Outer Market, where restaurants buy their ingredients fresh from the fish market. It was absolutely amazing – some of the best fish I’ve ever had. It was so amazingly fresh that I was crying tears of joy.
I actually looked forward to eating sweets a lot more. I enjoyed quite a lot of food from crepes to mochi to green tea ice cream to mitarashi dango. How I yearn for those crepes and dango again. Someday I will return for you…
So that’s my shopping/dining experience in Tokyo! Hope you enjoyed reading this. Until next time.