Considered as one of the most extensive shopping meccas in the world, Tokyo has definitely got it all from fashion, beauty, home, and technology shopping centers. Whatever your budget may be, there’s certainly a place in Tokyo that can fulfill your shopping needs. If you’re ready to shop until you drop in the land of the sun, here’s how you can maximize your yen in Tokyo!
Exchanging Your Money
Tokyo is a popular tourist and shopping haven in Japan so most major establishments allow cashless transactions via VISA and other credit cards. However, it’s still a good idea to keep cash on hand especially when you plan to shop in smaller stores. One US dollar is equivalent to roughly 110 Yen in Japan and you can normally exchange your currency through banks, post offices, major hotels, and money changers located in airports.
Before flying out, you may want to ask your bank about their service fees on international ATM withdrawals and credit card use. A good number of machines in Tokyo accept cards issued outside of Japan and the exchange rates offered are normally competitive. If you find that your bank charges exorbitantly on service fees, you may want to try exchanging your money at the airport. In general, try to avoid smaller money exchange shops to avoid getting ripped off with the exchange.
Places to Visit
Where to shop best in Tokyo depends entirely on what you’re looking for. If you want a one-stop shopping spot with competitive pricing, Shinjuku will satiate your shopping needs as you’ll find tons of flagship stores in the area. Beauty lovers will enjoy shopping at Ginza with the wide array of both local and international cosmetics companies.
Teens and young adults often visit Odaiba and Harajuku for trendy and budget-friendly fashion stores. Meanwhile, luxury shoppers will definitely enjoy the high-end fashion offerings at Roppongi. Akihabara, a well known as the tech shopping district of Tokyo, offers great discounts on tech ware and even tax-free shopping privileges to foreign tourists!
Know About Tax-Free Shopping
The flat rate tax in Tokyo and the rest of Japan is 8%, but foreign tourists can receive tax-free privileges from participating stores. If you purchase more than 5,000 yen worth of items, see to it that you head to customer service after paying for your purchases to see if you are eligible for a tax reimbursement. Tax exemptions should be claimed in-store during the same date of purchase, and not in the airport as is the common practice with other Asian countries.
Souvenirs to Buy
If you’re looking for gifts to buy for your family, friends, and co-workers back home, shopping for small trinkets should be fairly easy to do in Tokyo. Food items such as unique KitKat flavors and matcha-flavored treats are a popular choice for souvenirs among travellers. Stationery, key chains, and even chopsticks make for nice yet inexpensive gifts, too.
Shopping in Tokyo is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss out on, so allot a day or two for shopping in the city on your next holiday!