I awoke today still feeling very ill, but grateful for my nice soft hotel bed. Today we planned to meet up with our Japanese exchange student Miyuki in Shinjuku, for a day of shopping and eating. Each morning, we ate our breakfast at either Starbucks or Jean Francois Bakery in Mark City, which is a shopping centre attached to our hotel in Shibuya.
Bakeries and cafes are an excellent choice for breakfast in Japan for us foreigners - no raw fish, just a delicious array of breads and pastries. Also, the cost is very reasonable. And a good strong coffee gives you a kick start to a day of heavy duty shopping.
Cafes are popular with people on their way to work. If you go after rush hour, you can always get a table.
I love billboards in Japan. They are so much different to the ones in Australia.
After meeting Miyuki, I wanted to go to Okadaya. Last visit we found it easily, but this time we must have taken one wrong turn in Shinjuku station, which proved to be disasterous! Shinjuku is the largest train station in Japan I think, and even though I knew which exit to take, we found every exit but the one we wanted. So we tried emerging outside thinking if we saw some landmarks we could find which direction we should head. This wasn't successful either (females can't read maps, don't you know). So we just walked around in circles, and luckily stumbbled upon it at the end of some back street alley, thus wasting about 45 minutes of precious shopping time.
I won't try and give you directions to Okadaya, because clearly I am no good with them. It's not far from the station anyway, and close to Studio Alta.
Okadaya is a fabric and craft store, with many branches over Japan. I bought a bit of everything this time, and it's good place to go if you don't have time to go to Nippori.
If you look at Studio Alta from this perspective, Okadaya is on the next street to the left hand side
We then went to a fantastic lot of shops in 0101, which seem to cater for mainly women. The first shop which caught my eye was Un Petit Coeur by Concierge. They sell a lovely selection of zakka, teas, jams, stationery, toiletries and bags. http://concierge-net.com/
Next door was Graphia a la Page, which is a stationery and paper goods store. I went nuts over this store. And even better, another branch of their store was on the 8th floor, known as Graphia Plus, which had some extra ranges of products. Most of their stationery is adorned with cakes and fruit or vintage style images. Products include: masking tape, stickers, note sets, scrapbooking albums, pens, memos, greeting cards, umbrellas, bags, snow globes, stamps and those adorable little Editions de Paris and Editions de Tokyo books. http://www.marks.jp/English/ShopInfo/index.html
Also located on the 8th Floor is Tsutsumu; another fabulous paper goods store which sells,"rich and stylish wrapping materials" http://tsutsumu.co.jp/factory/shop/index.html
Needless to say, I purchased a small selection of merchandise from each store. 0101 has many, many other shops, but that's all I had time for this visit. I would definitely return though.CAFÉ REJIIG which is located inside Isetan. This cafe is gorgeous inside with exceptional service to match. They even give you baskets to put your shopping bags in whilst you dine. All the posh Tokyoites in their designer couture seem to eat here. We were the only yobbo Australians lunching there (we aren't really yobbos, but we looked like it compared to those stylish Japanese people!)
This is some of what we ordered.
On the way out of Isetan, I stumbbled across a cute little craft shop called Claire Deluxe, which is a branch of the store Hobbyra Hobbyre. It sold many varieties of Liberty fabric, plus some adorable emroidery kits. I purchased a kit with a French cafe design on it. This is a really lovely store, expensive, but with high quality items. Their motto is,"propose is a brand with a sense of abundant life throughout handmade season" You can't argue with that. http://www.hobbyra-hobbyre.com/
We lastly visited Takashimaya Times Square which is a mammoth department store containing stores such as: Kinokuniya, Yuzawaya, Tokyu Hands, Uniqlo and Franc Franc. I ended up at Yuzawaya which is an enormous craft and fabric store; one of the best I think. I stocked up big on fabric and notions. Then lastly we finished up at Uniqlo, but we didn't buy much there as they we selling mainly winter stock.
We said goodbye to our exchange student- it was sad to see her go. Then we trained it back to our lovely hotel and collapsed, feeling satisfied with our day's exploits. There were many, many more shops I wanted to visit which I had stupidly placed on my itinerary (as if I would really have enough time) But, here is my list for the advantage of any other craft fanatics planning a trip to Tokyo.
Silk 100 yen, Pierre Hermes, Zara, Rock Inn, Franc franc, ABC Craft, Lumine, Kiwa, My Lord, Grain Plaire, Lest Rose, Cath Kidston, Gelato Pique, 3 Coins, Keio, Isetan depachika and Royal Copenhagen Tearoom.
Shinjuku is a must for any tourist in Tokyo. It really is the embodiment of the stereotypical Japan, with its amazing neon lights, gianormous train station and masses of well dressed people. And, don't forget the shopping!!!
I will show you my day's takings in my next post.
P.S: take this map with you http://www.city.shinjuku.lg.jp/foreign/english/pdf/map/guide.html
All photos of store interiors are taken from their respective websites.