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 BUYLINE
Shibuya’s Zenmall (29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 03-3770-1641), known for offering large clothing for men, is holding a two-day Early Bird Pre-Summer Sale. The sale will take place on the mornings of April 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun) for three hours (9am-noon) each day. During these times, nearly everything will be marked 20-80 percent off. Some of the bargains include suits with a spare pair of pants for \9,800 (sizes 3-8L), and summer casual jackets for \8,000 (3-6L). Imported designer suits by makers like Calvin Klein and Boss are also marked down to \39,000 and \59,000, respectively. Those who spend over \10,000 can take part in the Cash Grabbing Contest, where shoppers can dig into a box full of cash. Spend over \30,000 for two chances to grab, and \50,000 for three. Don't miss this rare opportunity, as it could be one of the few chances for those looking to buy large sizes in Japan, especially at affordable prices.
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IN STORE ARCHIVE:
535: Anything goes
Add a little spunk to your life at Tokyo's zakka housewares shops. Hanna Kite visits five of the best.
531: To a tee
Tokyo’s hottest T-shirt shops boast designs by some of Japan’s top talents. Hanna Kite dresses down.
527: Treasure chests
Hanna Kite checks out five Tokyo jewelers that offer the perfect setting for your next shopping excursion.
523: Arts and crafts movement
Trina O’Hara goes in search of the Japanese creative spirit.
519: Bra-vo
Move over, Hello Kitty. Sexy has finally replaced cute in Tokyo's lingerie stores. Hanna Kite reports.
515: Bowled over
Trina O'Hara tracks down the latest tableware to suit any time of day.
511: East meets nest
Trina O'Hara finds that Tokyo's flea markets and shrine sales suit all types of personalities and interests.
503: The write stuff
Hanna Kite takes notes at Tokyo's finest pen and paper boutiques.
499: Blasts from the past
Tokyo trendsetters have a knack for making old fashions new again. Jennifer Au goes back in time at the city's coolest vintage clothing stores.
495: In the bag
From haute to mass-market, designer to dowdy, Tokyo has a tote to suit every taste and budget. Jennifer Au tracks down the best.
491: Paper chase
Steve Trautlein goes on a search for Tokyo's best English booksellers.
487: Happy trails
A love affair with the great outdoors is easily consummated at these Tokyo retailers. Steve Trautlein gears up.
483: Top hats
Whether it’s a rooftop barbecue, a riverside picnic or an afternoon stroll, there will be times this summer when you’ll want to keep the sun off your face. †Martin Webb hunts down Tokyo’s best headwear suppliers so you can stay shady in style.
479: Oriental express
This summer, all things Asian are hot stuff. Martin Webb finds out how to get the look without breaking the bank.
474: Haute haven
Forget Roppongi Hills’ aspirations to be the city’s cultural hub. This is the consumer capital of the world, and it’s all about shopping. Martin Webb reports.
468: New kit on the block
Backed by street-wise fashion chain store Beams, these seven new stores are upping the style quotient in Daikanyama. Martin Webb sizes up this brand new shopping experience.
463: Can buy me love
Stuck for ideas about how to make Valentine’s Day extra memorable this year? Martin Webb shops around for some great gift ideas for lucky ladies.
452: Perfect timing
For the rushed residents of our fair metropolis, keeping an eye on time is one of life's little necessities.
448: House of style
The newly open Marunouchi Building is drawing legions of eager shoppers from all over Japan
445: Present perfect
Tired of wasting your yen on last-minute gifts at duty free?
441: Toy story
Martin Webb tackles every parent's annual ennui and finds playthings that could earn you more peace and quiet than you bargained for
437: Natural selection
Seven new "select shops" are giving style seekers an excuse to keep spending
433: Window shopping
Stephen Cotterill indulges his yen and peers into the retail oasis that is Glassarea Aoyama
429: Jet, set, go!
With the holiday high season just around the corner, trendy travelers are in hot pursuit of packing accessories
425: Loud and clear
No home is complete without a sound system, and for audiophiles, time at home revolves around those little black boxes
421: Red brick revival
Once at the heart of Yokohama's bustling port industry, Akarenga Soko has a new lease of life as an exclusive entertainment and retail complex
417: Eye browse
An eyewear boom has seen new stores open and old favorites prosper
413: Sporting goodies
Shibuya sportswear
409: Go Figure
An army of action figures
405: Puff 'n' Stuff
Tokyo's best cigar shops
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Toy story

Summer vacation dragging on and on? Martin Webb tackles every parent's annual ennui and finds playthings that could earn you more peace and quiet than you bargained for.

Kiddy Land

With the highest profile of any toy store in the city, Kiddy Land is a Tokyo institution. Everything from Hello Kitty stamps and stationery in the basement to air guns and radio-controlled car on the fifth floor are sure to keep kids of all ages drooling with delight. On weekends, a crowd of strollers converges at the street-level stand dedicated to the hot character of the moment and devours promotional giveaways being doled out by cute girls in cute uniforms. Inside, toy lovers and tourists fill the six floors-claustrophobic customers should beware of the scrums at the Barbie Boutique and American Hero sections on the third floor during peak kiddie-shopping hours (after school and on weekends). But brave souls should find some comfort in the fact that Kiddy Land is also an authorized moneychanger and offers domestic and overseas shipping services.

Open 10am-6pm daily. 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3409-3431. Nearest stn: Meijijingumae, exit 4.

 


Hakuhinkan Toy Park

A nine-floor tower of toys in the heart of the city, Hakuhinkan Toy Park is a black hole that sucks up pocket money and generous grown-ups' hard-earned yen. The fun starts in the basement with the Club 67 boutique, where Licca-chan and Jenny doll enthusiasts can pick up the trendy Pregnant Licca-chan, which includes a card you send to the manufacturer in return for a baby and a key to deflate the doll's stomach. Also on the underground level are a Ticket Pia and Ticket Park, selling seats for the Japanese shows performed at the in-store theater on the top floor. Four other capacious floors are stacked high with toys, with the store's selection of video games and jigsaw puzzles on the third floor and Japanese dolls and teddy bears on the second floor being among the best in the capital. Before taking home your bundles of joy, refuel at the fifth- and sixth-floor tempura, Italian, sumiyaki, sushi or steak restaurants.

Open 11am-8pm daily. 8-8-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3571-8008. Nearest stn: Shinbashi, across from Ginza 9. www.hakuhinkan.co.jp/eng/info.htm

 


Toys "R" Us

There are few foreign residents of Tokyo unfamiliar with the format of the world's most famous toy store chain. Its irresistible formula of all imaginable playthings under one roof at hard-to-beat prices has established Toys "R" Us as a firm favorite of Joe Public on this side of the Pacific., too Recently the chain has been making a big push into the collectors' market, but it took striking exclusive deals with domestic toy manufacturers and importers and collaborating on special models to finally make the grade with toy nerds in Japan. With 42 stores in the Kanto region there's sure to be one these massive warehouses within easy access. The Isogo and Minato Mirai branches also contain Studio Alice photo studios where you can get all that sweetness and light dolled up (traditional Japanese costumes are available) and captured on celluloid.

For shop listings see www.toysrus.co.jp/truj/english/stores/index.html

 


Bookstore Fiona
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this specialist bookstore in one of Tokyo's chicest shopping districts-Jiyugaoka-is a favorite among expat moms. Not always a children's shop, Fiona began life as a regular bookstore with a comprehensive kids' section. But thanks to the efforts of a diligent buyer, it now features a world-class assortment of English children's books in addition to a relaxing interior and impeccable service. Picture books, juvenile fiction, activity books, science books and kits, educational materials, CD-ROMs, audio cassettes and parenting manuals are all on the shelves here, in English, and come with expert advice for guardians at a literary loss.

Open 11am-8pm daily. 5-41-5 Okusawa, Setagaya-ku. Nearest stn: Jiyugaoka, towards Den-en-Chofu. Tel: 03-3721-8186. www.fiona.co.jp

 


Akachan Honpo
This Osaka-based retailer is Japan's number one specialist in baby goods, maternity wear and other preschool-related items. The biggest and most easily accessible outlet in Tokyo is the Gotanda-ten (which offers a free shuttle bus from Gotanda station), but with 19 stores in the Kanto region an Akachan Honpo is never too far from home. On weekends young mothers flock to this oasis for baby buggies, diapers, baby clothes and, of course, toys. It's all no-frills and no thrills, but low prices, broad selection and friendly staff are the selling points here. Don't be astonished when the cashier refuses to accept your credit card-standard practice here is to let them debit directly from your bank account using an ATM card. Those with a bun in the oven may want to pick up the mail-order catalog, a good way to save time and stress at the store by deciding what you want before you set off.

5F T.O.C. Bldg, 7-22-17 Nishi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku. Nearest stn: Osaki-hirokoji, Ikegami line, or Gotanda, on Sakurada street. Tel: 03-3779-0365. Also Kinshicho, Itabashi, Odaiba. www.akachan.co.jp

 


Yuzawaya
If you're a progressive parent, and like to give your kids something constructive to do, making the trip to Kamata is a must. Yuzawaya doesn't fit into the standard category of a toy store; it's more a craft-supply complex with more than ten multistory outlets selling art, needlework, hobby supplies, stationery and knickknacks. Myriad displays of everything from paper, brushes, beads and fabric to noren panels and silk flowers-the list is never-ending-are sure to get your offspring's gray matter churning with activity. Adults are also sure to be spellbound and might even be inspired to take up collage, batik or watercolor-be warned! For ¥500, you can get a Yuzawaya members' card entitling you to discounts at any store in the complex. But be sure to bring cash, as credit cards are not accepted, and remember to pay for items on the floor on which they are displayed.

Open 10am-7pm daily. 8-23-5 Nishi-Kamata, Ota-ku. Tel: 3738-4141 or 3734-0010. Nearest stn: Kamata, south exit. JR Keihin Tohoku, Tokyu Meguro or Ikegami lines.

 


Disney

Perhaps the US's most successful and enduring cultural export, Disney has been driving the Japanese dizzy with delight for as long as anyone can remember. If you don't feel up to traipsing along with the hoi polloi to the theme parks in Chiba, don't despair. More convenient, inner-city stores abound. The sinister Shibuya flagship store, a black marble tower, is host to an endless swarm of teenage girls seeking to satisfy their craving for the kawaii. Consistently rated as Japan's best-loved character for over a decade, Winnie the Pooh (Puu-san) has his own "Just Pooh" corner on the first floor. Everyone has a soft spot for at least one character from the Disney pantheon-go on, admit it-and they're all here, including latest editions Sulley, Mike and Boo from Monsters Inc.

Open 11am-8pm daily. 20-15 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3461-3932. Nearest stn: Shibuya. Also Kita Senju stn, Odaiba Aqua City Mall, Ikebukuro Sunshine Alpa, Ikebukuro Seibu. www.disney.co.jp

Photo credit: Anatole Papafilippou

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