Takashimaya is a renowned Japanese department store chain that traces its history to the opening of a small kimono shop in Kyoto in 1831, and has a large outlet on the south side of Shinjuku Station. Compared to nearby Odakyu and Keio department stores, Takashimaya serves a more upmarket clientele and offers a wide selection of luxury goods. It’s comparable to Mitsukoshi, whose best-known store is in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza shopping district.
Takashimaya Shinjuku takes up the lion’s share of a massive 16-storey building called Takashimaya Times Square – the other major occupant is DIY and hobby store Tokyu Hands. It’s on the east side of Shinjuku Southern Terrace, the retail zone overlooking the train tracks and an elevated boardwalk south of the station. Takashimaya can be reached through the South Gate, New South Gate and Southern Terrace Gate, as well as entrances such as a dedicated passage from Shinjuku-Sanchome subway station.
The first floor of Takashimaya Shinjuku features cosmetics counters, purses, umbrellas and accessories, as well as luxury boutiques with foreign brands including Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Bottega Veneta.
Luxury brands such as Chanel, Gucci and Coach, as well as handbags and ladies’ shoes are also found on the second and third floors. For a local spin on designer bags, try Japanese brand Samantha Thavasa on the second floor. Some of its bags are entirely made in Japan and feature high-quality leather and fittings.
There’s a small concierge counter on 2F with staff who can assist with translation. They also hand out Hello Kitty Takashimaya shopper’s cards that give users a 5 percent discount on purchases of 3,000 yen or more.
There’s a tax refund counter on 2F as well. The second floor is the first of six floors where you can also access Tokyu Hands.
Menswear and womenswear are distributed among floors four to eight at Takashimaya Shinjuku. Services include shoe and bag repair, a nail bar and overseas shipping. Floors three through nine also feature cafes for taking a break while shopping.
Aside from clothing, Takashimaya has household goods. On the eighth floor there’s an outlet of Bals Tokyo, a high-end domestic and foreign furnishings retailer that also carries home accessories such as sleek tableware, humidifiers, home audio equipment and other goods.
On the ninth floor, there’s a shop operated by Sanrio, the licensing company behind popular kawaii (cute) characters such as Hello Kitty. To the right of it is a store for merchandise related to Anpanman, the popular kiddy character with a bean bun for a head. A Disney store is on the left of the Sanrio shop. Also on the ninth floor are clothes for babies and children by Miki House, an Osaka-based chain founded in 1971.
On the 11th floor, there is a small Japanese gift and souvenir shop. This is a convenient spot to pick up traditional gift such as manekineko, or ceramic “lucky cats” often seen in restaurants and shops, as well as Daruma dolls, boldly decorated balls of papier-maché that are also considered talismans for luck.
If you’re looking for a more lavish expression of traditional Japanese craftsmanship and design, a kimono shop is next to the souvenir store. All the kimono here are order-made, with prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of yen to well over 1 million yen. Even if they’re not worn, the garments make for beautiful decorative pieces.
Takashimaya Shinjuku Food Hall
There are two basements at Takashimaya Shinjuku; the second (B2) is parking and the first (B1) is a depachika, or department store basement devoted to food counters, including meat, fish and fruit, baked goods, sushi bento boxed meals and Japanese and Western sweets.
In the latter category, you’ll find a specialty counter by Nestlé Japan called KitKat Chocolatery. It sells various flavors of the popular chocolate wafers, which have included limited-edition novelties such as gold-leaf KitKat priced at 2,016 yen per stick.
Another counter on B1 is Toraya, a maker of Japanese wagashi traditional confections that was founded in Kyoto in the 16th century. Its specialty is yokan, bars of gelled sweet bean paste that are made of azuki beans, sugar and agar-agar, a gelatinous ingredient derived from algae.
Japanese supermarket Kinokuniya (not to be confused with the nearby bookstore of the same name) also has a branch on B1. It stocks high-end Japanese specialty fruits such as Shizuoka Prefecture melons, priced at a whopping 3,680 yen each – and that’s when there’s a sale on.
Across from Kinokuniya is a Takashimaya wine shop that sells Japanese whisky. Worldwide acclaim for brands such as Yoichi single malt has put pressure on supply, and some Nikka and Suntory whiskies are difficult to find in Tokyo liquor shops. This store sells both 700ml bottles and mini 50ml versions.
If you’d like to store your food purchases, there are refrigerated lockers available on B1 for 100 yen.
There’s a wide selection of cafés and restaurants on floors 12, 13 and 14 that run the gamut from sushi, tempura, sukiyaki and other Japanese fare to Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and European cuisines.
Takashimaya Shinjuku Department Store is open every day from 10:00 to 20:00
Restaurants Park is open from 11:00 to 23:00
Tel. (03) 5361-1111
Article by Tim Hornyak. All rights reserved.