This post comes courtesy of our friends at TokyoCheapo, who despite constantly hunting for holiday sales, will ultimately deem them too expensive and treat themselves to a can of baked beans instead.
December and January are extremely busy months for most Japanese shops, as their winter sales attract lots of people looking to spend their year-end bonuses. The first three days after New Year are especially crazy, with huge crowds trying to make the most of the New Year sales and buying fukubukuro (lucky bags with random items from last year’s inventory). New Year shopping in Japan is serious business, almost like Black Friday in the US. And you thought that the Japanese New Year was simply marked by traditions such as watching the first sunrise, or visiting temples and shrines!
Here’s a list of some department stores and malls holding winter sales. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all the department stores around Tokyo, and that some of these establishments may have multiple sales – a Christmas sale and then a New Year’s sale, or a part one then a part two. Also, many retailers do not post sale information on their websites, as they tend to make it “exclusive” to subscribers of their newsletters (merumaga, a contraction of “mail magazine”). Any information without an accompanying link was taken from an actual visit, or some compilations on Japanese websites. So – bear in mind that the information here may be subject to change. The best way to confirm if a department store has an ongoing sale is to go and check it out.
Another note: fukubukuro sales are only good until supplies last, so we’ve only mentioned start dates. It’s advisable to arrive early or, if possible, to pre-order in order to get a fukubukuro. They usually get sold out by lunch time! But even if your attempt to brave the New Year crowd to buy a fukubukuro ends up unsuccessful, you won’t necessarily leave empty-handed, as shops often have accompanying New Year bargains, so as not to disappoint those who made the effort to visit (and also to clear out stock).
Lastly, you may be wondering why the list focuses on department stores. But what about the electronics shops, sporting goods shops, and everything else, you ask? Online information on sales for other types of stores is even more difficult to find! Electronics shops like Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera, as well as variety goods shops like Loft and Tokyu Hands, have sales, too; just pay them a visit. You’ll see from the way the staff have their hands full that they offer good bargains as well.
Happy shopping, cheapos!
Ginza and Tokyo Station Vicinity
Mitsukoshi Ginza – Their online shop has already started taking pre-orders for fukubukuro, and will do so until 10am on Dec. 24 (Wednesday). Their catalogue of fukubukuro isn’t limited to clothing; there are jewelry, watches, food, and tableware up for grabs as well.
Printemps Ginza – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 8:30am onwards.
Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi – Fukubukuro and winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Daimaru Tokyo – Fukubukuro and winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Marunouchi OAZO – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 9am onwards.
Hibiya Chanter – Fukubukuro and winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 11am onwards.
Shinjuku and Kichijoji
Lumine Est – “Check the Bargain” fukubukuro and winter sale, with items being offered from 30-50% off. Part 1 is from January 7-12, 2015 (Wednesday to Friday).
Keio Shinjuku – In celebration of their 50th anniversary, they have a short thank-you sale from Dec. 12-17 (Friday to Wednesday). The item selection seems quite limited, though. They will also hold afukubukuro sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Parco Kichijoji – Christmas Sale from Friday, Nov. 28 to Thursday, Dec. 25. Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am.
Atre Kichijoji – Fukubukuro sale beginning Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am.
Takashimaya – The online store is having a special sale until Dec. 17th (Wednesday). They’ve also started taking orders for fukubukuro, which will be delivered from Jan. 2 (Friday) onwards. Interested buyers have until Jan. 28 (Wednesday) to order fukubukuro, although considering how popular these goodies are, it’s a wonder if supplies will last until then. Takashimaya offers fukubukurofrom a diverse range of brands, including Moomin, Hanae Mori, adidas, PUMA, and Samsonite.
Isetan Shinjuku – Fukubukuro and bargain sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Marui Shinjuku – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am to Jan. 3 (Saturday), 9pm.
Odakyu Shinjuku – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Seibu – This shop has two sales, both of which are rather short. The first is a sale on ladies’ fashion brands from Dec. 4-10 (Thursday to Wednesday), while the other runs from Dec. 11-18 (Thursday to Wednesday), and is a sale on ladies’ winter goods, such as shoes, bags, and scarves. Both take place on the 7th floor of the annex.
Sunshine City Alpa – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am onwards.
Shibuya, Harajuku, and Omotesando
Parco Shibuya – Christmas Sale from Friday, Dec. 12 to Thursday, Dec. 25. There will also be afukubukuro sale beginning Jan. 1 (Thursday), 11am.
Hikarie ShinQs – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Shibuya 109 – Watch out for their two-part winter sale: the first half, called “7 Days Bargain,” will be from January 2-8, 2015 (Friday-Thursday), while the “Final Bargain” will be from the 9th-31st (Friday-Sunday). The fukubukuro sale starts on Jan. 2 (Friday), from 10am onwards.
Laforet Harajuku – Fukubukuro sale beginning Jan. 1 (Thursday), 9am.
Tokyu Department Store – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Roppongi and Akasaka
Roppongi Hills – Varying discounts and/or promos per shop, including 40% off on Lego. Roppongi Hills’ fukubukuro sale begins on Jan. 1 (Thursday), 11am onwards.
Venus Fort – Christmas Fair from Nov. 21 (Friday) to Dec. 25 (Thursday), with participating outlets offering a variety of discounts and deals. It will also have a fukubukuro sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am onwards.
Ueno, Asakusa, and Akihabara
Atre Ueno – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am onwards
Marui Ueno – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10 am to Jan. 3 (Saturday), 9pm.
Atre Akihabara – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards
Matsuya Asakusa – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am onwards
Tokyo Sky Tree Town Solamachi – Fukubukuro sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am onwards
Other Areas of Tokyo
Mitsukoshi Ebisu – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 11am onwards.
Olinas Kinshicho – Several of its shops are holding winter sales, including Tower Records, Urban Selection, and Tic Tac. Most of these will last until Christmas. Those with an Olinas membership card can also get 10% off at selected shops on Dec. 13 and 14 (Saturday and Sunday). A few shops such as &by P&D and SEVENDAYS = SUNDAY (both fashion shops) are already taking orders forfukubukuro. As if those weren’t enough, Olinas will hold another sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 10am onwards.
Mitsui Outlet Park Tama Minami-Osawa – Located in Hachioji, this outlet mall just finished its winter sale from Nov. 21 (Friday) to Dec. 7 (Sunday). Not wanting to lose out to the competition, a second part should be on the way.
Mitsukoshi Tama Center – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.
Grandberry Mall – Located in Machida, it will have a winter sale from Jan. 1 (Thursday), 9am onwards.
Granduo Tachikawa – Winter sale from Jan. 2 (Friday), 10am onwards.