Tokyo Shopping with Family

Tokyo Shopping with Family pin

Shopping in Tokyo is vastly different than the experience most of us are familiar with in the United States. Most of the city’s shopping areas are comprised of walkable streets or portions of streets. Others have grown around areas, with heavy foot traffic such as train stations or temples. When it comes to purchasing souvenirs, the products available run the gambit from cutting-edge electronics to inexpensive tchotchkes. For those traveling to the Japanese capital for the first time, here are our favorite spots to explore.

Tokyo Shopping with Family akihabara

 

Akihabara

The shopping venue enjoys the reputation as the place to go to for anything and everything electronic. Akihabara began as a group of small shops which supplied do-it-yourselfers with specific electronic components. The area later experienced increased demand for consumer-ready, out-of-the-box products.

While the small, very specialized shops continue to thrive, large mainstream stores, such as the massive Yodobashi Camera store, now comprise the majority of the shopping experience.

 

Tokyo Shopping with Family akihabara electronics

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Discuss with your child in advance the items that you are looking for to purchase and how much you are willing to spend. The area is filled with many bargains, and one might find themselves tempted to buy unnecessary things that can’t be returned.
  • Make sure at all times that your child is next to you so they don’t press any buttons or break any items.
  • Parents might want to explain ahead of time to older kids the concept of the Maid cafes since they might ask questions about girls in odd uniforms standing on street corners.

Nakamise-dōri

Nakamise-dōri is one of the oldest shopping areas in the city and continues to be one of the most popular. This shopping area begins at the Kaminari-Mon gate and ends at the foot of Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple. The area is famous for tourist fares such as figurines and T-shirts, along with several shops selling local food. With over ninety shops to explore, this venue is always busy, so parents should be prepared to spend several hours walking around.
Tokyo Shopping with Family fried mochi

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Visitors should arrive early in the morning since it gets mobbed with tourists and school kids in the afternoon.
  • THE food to try is the sweet and fried mochi balls.

Harajuku

The concept of this area is different than anything found in the States. or Europe.
Harajuku is comprised of two parallel streets filled with shops selling  Japanese designer clothing.

The uniqueness of Harajuku is the choice of the fashion genre. Though the area may look awkwardly designed is an efficient way for parents and children to shop together. Omotesando street is famous for its upscale apparel boutiques while counterculture and youth apparel dominate Takeshita Don.

 

Tokyo Shopping with Family clothes

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This place caters mostly to fashion oriented young people, especially teenagers.
  • If your child is not particularly interested in fashion, then make sure they have adequate electronic entertainment while other family members shop.

Shinjuku

Travelers can find the Shinjuku shopping area around Shinjuku Station, the world’s busiest train stop. Flagship stores of many major electronic and fashion retailers can be found here. Also, there are additional shopping opportunities in the underground areas.

Shinjuku is also one of the largest entertainment districts in Tokyo, with a huge selection of clubs and restaurants to enjoy. With such a diverse array of shopping, entertainment, and dining options, anyone is sure to have an enjoyable experience.

Tokyo Shopping with Family shoes

Autism Travel Tips:

  • One of the worst intersections in Tokyo is in Shinjuku, where pedestrians can cross in eight different directions simultaneously.
  • For families with kids that are not interested in shopping, there are several cat cafes in the neighborhood that will delight all members of the family.

100-Yen Store

The 100-Yen store is Japan’s version of the Dollar Store. There are many of these stores around Japan, and more are opening every year. The concept is the same like in the US; the company buys in bulk and can sell their products at a reduced price. As in the United States, it is not the best place to purchase electronics, but the 100-Yen store is perfect for T-shirts, souvenirs, and sundries.
Tokyo Shopping with Family city

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should set a fixed budget when shopping since one might be tempted to buy things that are not necessary.
  • The store sells toys and souvenirs that are great to use as budget friendly rewards for kids with autism.

Have you visited Tokyo with your children? What are your shopping tips?

 

The 100 Yen Store: A Japanese Phenomenon

 

I remember hearing about the 100 Yen store from a friend who had visited Japan several years back. The first store opened in 1991, and now there are around 1,300 stores throughout Japan and Asia.The largest is a five story gargantuan store in front of Tokyo’s Machida Station while the second smaller version is the Daiso flagship store in the city’s Harajuku neighborhood.During one of our stays in Tokyo, we ended up staying at the Sheraton Miyako right next door to one of the stores, so we naturally wondered in.

And I confess we were hooked!

The 100 Yen Store: A Japanese PhenomenonNot only did we end up visiting it several times to purchase multiple items but started recommending the experience to all our friends. And here are ten good reasons why:

Replenish Sundries

If your luggage is delayed or lost, this is the place to come and replace your missing sundries and cosmetic items. From toothbrushes, slippers, razors, hairbrushes and even packing bags –it is all there at a fraction of the cost that a local drugstore would charge you.

Weather related accessories

Forgot to pack your umbrella or flip-flops?
No problem.The store carries umbrellas and ponchos for the frequent Tokyo’s rainy days as well as sunglasses, fans, flip-flops, and hats for the sunny ones.
If you need a flashlight, luggage tags, lanyards, carabiners, velcro strips, duct tape, or electronic adapters; the store carries it.

Cheap extra clothing items

If your family is anything like ours, then it is always short on socks no matter how many additional pairs are initially packed. But don’t worry-you can find men, women, and kids’ socks, as well as t-shirts and underwear in the store for a buck each.

Snacks!

One of the things we’ve learned over our decade of travel is to have some snacks in the hotel room for those midnight munchies. If you travel across time zones, chances are you and your family members might suffer from jetlag and be hungry at odd hours of the night when regular stores and eateries are not open. The store carries everything from potatoes chips and popcorn to sweets and microwavable noodles.

Bottled water

Hotels tend to charge an arm and a leg for bottled water, and when you travel with a family, this expense can add up. The 100 Yen Store can help you stock up and bring the water bottles back to your room for a  fraction of the cost you’d expect to pay at a local grocery store.
The 100 Yen Store: A Japanese Phenomenon

Disposables

As frequent travelers we’ve learned to carry a first aid kit, tissues, and wipes everywhere we go, but it was only last year we realized we also needed to lug plastic utensils, and straws as well when traveling to Asian countries where Western eating utensils might not be readily available in some restaurants.Luckily, we found a dozen forks and knives packages for a hundred yen each.

Toys to fill a travel goodie bag

The 100 Yen Store is a shopper’s paradise when it comes to finding cheap art supplies and sensory toys. Parents can stock up on play -doh, squishy balls, balloons, colorful markers and stickers for years to come without going broke!

Kitchen and Laundry supplies

Travelers choosing to stay in rented apartments instead of hotel rooms may need cheap kitchen items like food storage boxes or utensils as well as laundry items like soap or clips all of which the 100 yen store stocks and has available in every store.

Souvenirs

If your child has his or her heart set on buying a few souvenirs for his friends, the 100 yen store is the place to pick up cute headphones, little charms, phone covers, tablet covers and even some licensed Disney merchandise.

Daily rewards

We discovered a long time ago that small daily rewards help as incentives for our son with autism to get him to behave during travel; so we were thrilled to discover this store is the crowned emporium of mini rewards.
Our son was very excited to go and comb the aisles for his daily reward. In fact, one of his prized possessions to this day is an anime cartoon DVD he’s watched, again and again, enjoying the animation even though he doesn’t understand any of the Japanese dialogue.

 


Have you been to the 100 Yen Store?
What items did you buy?

 

 

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