5. Stroll around Saitama's Lake Town
Not many people head to Saitama but there are a few wise shoppers who do, just like on this video if you hit the 10:06 mark (skip the lengthy introduction). In the video, you'd get an actual preview of the shopping haven in Saitama, the Koshigaya Lake Town, which is Japan's largest eco-friendly shopping center. You can get world-famous brand name items such as Escada, Coach, Cole Hann and Margaret Howell. Here, you can finally buy your dream bed at Tempur at a way cheaper price.
Perhaps the best deals might be waiting for you at Village Vanguard, Japan's famous chain for novelty items, and Asics for new kicks. Before or after shopping, you can make the most of your trip to Saitama by passing by famous sites such as the breathtaking Hanata En Garden and Hizaizu Shrine, which is not like one of your usual shrines in Japan because some parts are standing on water.
4. Experience Old Town Shopping in Yanesen District
If you want a non-touristy shopping street in Tokyo, check out the Yanesen Route. And while it's still in Tokyo (though not in one of the more bustling parts), there's much to enjoy on this shopping street. As America has the dollar store, Japan has ¥100 stores (which means that ¥100, plus tax, is usually the cheapest price you'll pay for anything). But in Yanaka Ginza, you can actually buy some foods for as low as ¥30 yen! After shopping, you can learn more about Japan by exploring nearby famous spots such as the Nezu Shrine, a better alternative to the jampacked Asakusa, the Former Kusuo Yasuda Residence and the Shodo Calligraphy Museum.
3. Spend a Day in Yokohama Chinatown
While many major cities around the world have a Chinatown, this is perhaps the cleanest one on the planet. And, of course, this is the best place to enjoy really good Chinese food such as the stewed pork block, egg custard puffs and the blooming tea. But this is also the place to enjoy kaiten sushi and an ideal shopping place for souvenirs, especially cookies, pastries and edible takeaways. A visit here perhaps after a lunch cruise that ends in Osanbashi Pier (very famous in anime stories). Or, after a stroll along the historic and scenic Yamashita Park.
2. Find Your Favorite Things in Odaiba
Odaiba is a tourist attraction for two main reasons: the new Gundam and the Rainbow Bridge. But not many people know that serious shopping is also available in Odaiba if you head to Odaiba Venus Fort, which gives off the Macau or Las Vegas Italian vibe. There are about 50 brands on sale, including famous brands such as Zara and Nike. The best deals, however, will come from Japanese homegrown brands such as Tumi (if you want premium bags), Franc Franc (if you want novelty), Beams (if you want quality clothing) and Nitori (if you want home stuff). If you get tired, the shopping area is close to another spot of cultural interest, the Oedo Onsen Monotagari, where you can enjoy onsen and food shops set against the Edo Period (1603-1868) backdrop.
1. Stroll Around 'Kanto's Kyoto'
Many first-time travelers to Japan want to go to Kyoto, even if their base is in Tokyo. However, not all are willing to splurge on a bullet train or another airfare though, so the next best thing to do is enjoy "Kanto's Kyoto" in Kawagoe. Go to Kawagoe in Saitama to enjoy old Edo-style Japan. Here you get to see the Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Residence (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Kurazukuri Museum and Kita-in, a Buddhist temple surrounded by gardens, famous for having over 500 statues and its long history, since it was first built in 830 AD. But you're also at the right place for the best novelty items from Japan, including leather keychains, handmade crafts, airy brown-sugar-coated breadsticks called fugashi. Kawagoe is a fantastic place to shop for Saitama's traditional sweets and delicacies, and the best place to get the taste of Tokyo's old culture in a modern city.