Monday, January 25, 2010


Macaroons - the box is sweet too !

Milk tea Kit Kat

Cute box of chocolates

More chocolates

Everything is beautifully packaged.

Lunch at Tokyu Hands cafe

Beads Mania Bead kits

Tokyu Hands was next on the agenda. This is another wonderful department store sellings an assortment of things for the home, with a huge variety of DIY products. I purchased some stickers and cards and was very excited to find a whole range of Beads Mania bead kits. I was going to visit the Beads Mania store in Nihonbashi, but didn't have time in the end, so luckily I could buy them here. This store sells alot of craft items and beautiful stationery. They also have a large Japanese souvenir department where I bought all these lovely boxes of sweets. This store has a tax refund department for tourists, so remember to bring your passport along. Credit cards are accepted, and there are other branches around Tokyo.


  • greeting cards

note paper

greeting cards

Loft is a wonderful department store selling anything for your home. They sell the most beautiful greeting cards, stickers and note paper. I loved their stickers with a traditional Japanese theme, such as sakura and kimonos. There is a huge cosmetics and gift department, with way too many choices for a girl. Definitely recommended. Credit cards are accepted


Chiara purchases

  • Chiara - look at all that sparkly stuff !

Our hotel connected with the Mark City Department store, and was right next door to the Shibuya train station. Our first breakfast was at Starbucks in Mark City. As expected, not many people spoke English, but Alex had been learning Japanese for 5 years at school, and I had just done a self taught crash course, so we were able to communicate alright. As soon as you enter a store in Japan, the staff yell out "Irasshaimase !" which means "Welcome to our business" The staff are incredibly polite and respectful. They always bow when you pay and smile with "Arigato Gozaimas" We never once received poor service in a store or restaurant. Starbucks is the same world over, but I always love the little twist each country gives its store.

With cash in hand, we then hit the streets of Shibuya for some serious shopping. The weather was cold for a Queenslander, about 10 degrees tops, but all the stores were heated, so it was fine. We were lucky to have clear skies each day. Shibuya is famous for its fashion stores and of course, the Shibuya crossing or "scramble", which is more appropriate. Apparently, it is the busiest crossing in the world, and I would agree to that. When the traffic lights say "Walk", you just have to arrange to meet your walking partners on the other side, and just go with the flow of people.

I decided that it would be better for everyone's tempers if boys and girls split up, so the boys went off to look at the Adidas store where they found the shop attendant was from the suburb nextdoor to us on the Gold Coast ! Alex and I entered the famed fashion mecca that is, Shibuya 109. This is a tower of a department store selling all manner of fashion, shoe, accessories and generally anything girly. Don't bother shopping here if you have a body ravagged by the scars of motherhood, as nothing will fit you ! My slim daughter however, was in fashion heaven. It housed all the famous Japanese labels, such as: Liz Lisa, Tralala, Peach John. It is quite an experience to shop here. All the shop attendants look like models, and they stand on ladders with megaphones yelling out at you to come and buy from their store. The noise and blarring music is, well, loud ! The shops are all gorgeous to look at, and spare no expense with their shop displays. Another thing we immediately discovered, is that the Japanese love to elaborately wrap your purchases. Even if it is just a small trinket, it will be wrapped beautifully, and I'm sure sometimes the wrapping cost more than the actual product purchased. Alex bought some clothes and tights, and I bought some cute things from Plaza, a shop selling cosmetics and nick nacks. We also loved "Chiara" which sold all things of the bling variety; jewellery, rhinestone stickers and deco for phones etc.


We have just retuned home from a trip to Tokyo. I don't know if anyone actually reads my blog, but I thought I would diarise my adventures, even if it is just for me to look back on the happy memories. What can I say about this wonderful country that hasn't been said before ? We loved everything about this city: the people, the shops, the food, the fashion and the electric atmosphere. It was all I had anticipated, and so much more. The people were positively lovely - such manners and humbleness as I have never encountered. I have to say, the people were the best thing about Japan. Coming in at close second was the shopping. Every store was visually enticing, from the products to the imaginative displays. Whatever you want to buy, you can find it in Tokyo, and it will be the most beautiful and the best quality. And despite my blog's title, it isn't just a girl's paradise, there's plenty on offer for the boys too. (Well, half my family is of the male variety) This is definitely a place we will be retuning to again.

On to the logistics... we travelled on Jetstar which does flights directly out of our little Gold Coast airport to Tokyo- very convenient for us. The flight was great and of course passing through Japan's customs and immigration was too. We caught the Limousine Bus from the airport which took us directly to our hotel, the Tokyu Excel in Shibuya. The trip was a little over an hour. We had a quad room, which had 2 single beds and 2 king single beds. Naturally mum and dad had the larger beds. Our room had a table and chairs in the centre and the toilet, shower and vanity were all in separate rooms which was very convenient for a family of 4. My bedside window directly overlooked the famous Shibuya crossing and Shibuya 109. We loved just looking out of the window watching the world go by.