72 Hours in Japan...
September 23, 2009 7:45 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee will be staying at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo for 2-3 days, with minimal spare time. What shopping options are very close by that she could visit for geek/tech/gaming/unique gifts and souvenirs?

As part of a month-long trip to her native Philippines (where she has never been, ironically--her parents having moved months before her birth) my fiancee will be staying in Japan for a short time. While she was born there, her family moved to the US shortly after and so she's never "been there".

What shopping options are nearby the New Otani that she might want to visit for individuals back home (who may or may not have given her money to spend in Japan)? And is there anything nearby, shopping or otherwise, that she absolutely MUST visit, if only for an hour or two?
posted by Phyltre to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You know, everything in Tokyo is pretty close if you can summon up the courage to take the subway, which is a culturally rewarding experience in itself. That hotel is not close to the big busy districts, but the subway will take you to Shibuya, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Rappongi, Harajuku, Ameyoko, Kappabash or Ikebukuro in less than an hour.

I'd recommend sending her to read up a bit on each of those areas, each of which has shopping of a different type and flavor, and then have her hotel send her to the right train each day. It would be very easy to "do" one district each afternoon and return home to the hotel each evening. I've certainly done that when jammed for time on a layover.

Her hotel even has a subway map right on their website, so I'm sure they'll be helpful in sending her to the right station. The signage might be 90% Japanese, but it's all so symbolized, organized and color-coded that anyone can manage.
posted by rokusan at 7:51 AM on September 23, 2009

Head to a Don Quijote - a truly insane multi-level department store. The closest one as the crow flies is in Roppongi, although if there is one in every major center in Tokyo. They're usually open late (if they close at all) and are a fantastic source of gifts of all variety, from cheap candy and toys to watches and liquor.
posted by Gortuk at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ha, Don Quijote yes. It's like a dollar store, on LSD, in a blender.

For less craziness, I like Tokyu Hands (there's like ten of them) for a bit more... um... organization.
posted by rokusan at 9:18 AM on September 23, 2009

We stayed at the New Otani in 2006! It's a bit of a hike to the subway station if you do it many times a day, as we did, but totally worth it to get to Akihabara for electronics or the GINZA for anything else. We found the most wonderful toy store in the Ginza and looking back I wish we had loaded up.

Also, there are some seriously awesome products for sale in the underground shops that you have to pass on your way to your train. I actually posted an Ask question about a piece of luggage we saw there, didn't buy and have regretted passing on ever since.
posted by GaelFC at 10:28 AM on September 23, 2009

Tokyu Hands (incredible proliferation of stuff) and Muji (a more standard department store with decent prices and great design) are right near each other in Ginza. Ameyoke market just south of Ueno park is a huge conglomeration of stalls selling all sorts of food, clothes, housewares, etc in all sorts of price ranges.

She should definitely plan on using the subway system, it's well-labeled in English and a great, great way to get around. Get a prepaid card to avoid having to mess around with fare calculation. I got mine at a kiosk right by the Narita airport train station entrance, there's a bundle deal where you can buy it with your ticket into town.
posted by contraption at 5:00 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

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