Monday, July 31, 2017

Japan trip Summer 2017 Part 3: Casual shopping days - 7 different Liz Lisa stores, Kappabashi "Kitchen Town" + more

Since there wasn't a lot of structure to this trip (aside from the Fuji hike), I don't have enough content to generate day-to-day posts like I usually do. In fact, most, if not all, of the time that wasn't spent hiking or simply relaxing was dedicated to shopping! Although this will still be organized somewhat chronologically, it's basically just an overview of the shopping we/I did.

Day 1 - Thursday, July 13, 2017
This was the first full day of the trip after making it to Shibuya shortly before midnight after arriving in Japan the night before. I had intially intended to go to as many Liz Lisa stores as possible to scoop up whatever remaining summer wishlist items were in stock, but since they had announced a novelty item would start the next day (Friday), I decided to browse instead and just wait before making any large purchases. I tried to take advantage of my new free time by focusing on brands that aren't Liz Lisa and making sure I gathered everything I needed for the Fuji hike the next day.

I got a slightly late start, but was still out and about with plenty of time! S had left a bit earlier and was at Don Quixote down the street, so I stopped there first to briefly meet up with him and check out what selection they had. The location in Shibuya actually moved! It's now a much bigger store but just across the street.

Next, I stopped at Uniqlo on my way back to the apartment because I wanted to look at the heat tech options!

Third stop was Shibuya 109, of course! One advantage to staying in Shibuya (compared to Shinagawa where we usually get the Airbnb) is that I'm walking distance to 109 ♡
I really took my time browsing and basically walked around every single floor. A lot of it is so different than I remember from 2-3 years ago, but it's still a wonderful place to shop. Since it was mid day on a Thursday, there weren't very many other shoppers so I felt like there were a lot of shop staff eyes on me (which makes me nervous that they're going to talk to me and I'm going to look incredibly stupid when I can't say anything), and I didn't end up buying anything from any store.

Also in Shibuya, I went to check out Daiso and the two Can Do stores! Even though this part of Shibuya isn't difficult to navigate, I always give myself a pat on the back when I can remember how to walk to a certain place just by memory on the first try lol.

Next stop, Harajuku Takeshita doori!
Again, no real purchases - mostly browsing! Except some things I picked up from the Daiso in Harajuku and the small heart shaped comb/mirror combo I got from Swimmer which I wanted to use for the hike.

This day wasn't filled with lots of fun and exciting activities or shops, but it helped me get acclimated to Tokyo (time and weather) and gave me the opportunity to get all the things I hadn't brought with me to tackle Mt Fuji!

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Day 3 - Saturday, July 15, 2017
Immediately post-Fuji hike, I hadn't anticipated this being a valid shopping day since the bus we had initially reserved wouldn't have gotten us back until closer to 14:45, and then we'd still need to clean up and rest. However, having the two extra hours and actually feeling pretty dang good for someone who just finished a hike, I was ready to start buying after my shower and eating lunch!

First stop (again!) Shibuya 109, but specifically Liz Lisa this time. I caught the escalators straight up to the 6th floor. I didn't waste my time looking at the others because I had just done so on the first day, and I just wanted to see what Liz Lisa summer items remained in stock and get the novelty item if possible!
I didn't end up buying anything for myself but I did get something for Rebby ♡

Next up, Takeshita street again - and straight to Liz Lisa with no detours. Because I was most familiar with what the Shibuya and Harajuku locations had in stock based on what I saw on Thursday, I wanted to get what I wanted from these closest locations first if still possible.
I was happy to see that Micchan was working this day and she helped me get all the things I wanted! It was much easier to shop knowing that the staff knew I couldn't really communicate well in Japanese but still managed to accommodate me. I'm so grateful for her patience!

I was going to call it a day because I was carrying quite a few bags at that point + was actually feeling a little fatigued, but I rallied, dropped off the bags in Shibuya and raced back to the tracks to make it on a direct train to Omiya to get to Omiya Arche!~
I think it was worth it because I did find one thing I wanted there! I really like visiting this location even though it's a bit out of the way. I would have stopped at Daiei like I usually do in Omiya but I was running a little late to meet S for dinner.

Did pause briefly to look in Ank Rouge though since it's just right there on the same floor.
But apparently I was still feeling tight with my money lol.

This unexpected half shopping day was basically just making up for what I didn't get to do on Day 1, and I went to most of the stores I had wanted to go to on Thursday. I think it worked out pretty well although I was rushing a little bit at the end!

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Day 4 - Sunday, July 16, 2017
Having done half of the shopping I intended to do for myself, I focused more on the specifics for others. My brother had requested a knife for cutting fish! S suggested going to Kappabashi/Kitchen Town to get it, so that's where we headed off to.

From Shibuya, we caught the Ginza line all the way to Tawaramachi (almost the terminal stop). We took exit 3 and walked a few blocks to find it. As it turns out, according to a sign on the Koban, most of the shops are closed on Sundays -__-. Since we rode all the way over there anyway, I insisted we continue down the street just to take a look. Not a bad choice since there were a few stores that were open!

Food samples!

Aside from plates, pans, and bowls, we also saw a lot of these cookie cutter type molds in all sorts of different sizes and shapes! If you have the time, it's the kind of street where there are multiple vendors selling identical things. Take note of what the first shop is selling an item for because you might see it elsewhere for cheaper.

As I understand it, there are a few popular knife shops in Kappabashi. We stopped in one (Kamaasa) but then I started feeling really dehydrated so I had to leave to go find a bottle of water. On our way back from getting the water from the vending machine, we stopped at the other knife shop (Kamata) instead.
It seemed like most, if not all, the staff was able to reasonably converse about the products in English and were very easy to talk with. You can look at and even hold the samples in the most of the cases but don't try and take them out of the boxes in the cabinets below - those are the ones that are provided for sale.

We requested for an engraving to be done on the blade when we made our purchase (done free of charge and on the spot!).

We ate lunch in the area and I had spotted a big Don Quixote down one of the streets which I wanted to look in.
It turns out that it didn't have anything super special but I did notice that some of the prices were slightly cheaper than the Shibuya store. No price difference so extreme that I was willing to lug the purchases around with me for the rest of the day though. I bought a few small things but only because the line at the register wasn't very long.

Since I didn't have anything to do in particular, I accompanied S to the fish store he wanted to visit near Tsukijishijo station - PauPau Aqua Garden.
Obviously there wasn't anything for me to buy there, but it was interesting to see what was sold at a Japanese fish store.

I then decided that I may as well head over to Ikspiari since I was kind of as far east (towards Chiba) as I would ever be going on any other day of the trip. I really wasn't "nearby" but I didn't have anything else to do and was looking for a certain item in particular that I hadn't seen in any other store (and had inquired about in several others but without success).
I've been to DisneySea twice now, so I'm not unfamiliar with Maihama station and Iksipiari, but it did feel a little anti-climatic to be going over there without any Disney intentions.
Making the slight journey totally worth it, I found the dress I wanted! The shop staff there was very patient as well but for some reason I can't recall her name >,< I definitely recognized her from Twitter, but I sometimes get so flustered trying to find the way to communicate, everything else just kind of becomes a blur. It's a poor excuse but unfortunately it's the truth.

There are a lot of stores in Ikspiari! You could likely spend at least half a day or more just exploring the different floors and shops and not even enter the park. I already had my share of aimlessly walking around for the day and my pocket wifi wasn't catching signal correctly because I was so far in the "mall" that I couldn't properly arrange to meet up with S for dinner, so I just briefly looked at a few stores and made my way out.

Despite the distance, I'm glad I made my way over to Ikspiari and despite most of the shops being closed, I still managed to get the knife I wanted in Kappabashi! Not too bad of a day for practically doing nothing lol.

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Day 5 - Monday, July 17, 2017
On this second to last day of the trip, I had already test packed my suitcase but still knew I had so much more shopping to do! I had arranged to meet up with Ebony at around 12:30 in Shinjuku, and we headed over to Machida together.

Arrived at Machida 109! and went straight to Liz Lisa.

Aside from Omiya Arche, the Machida 109 is another one of my favorite stores because it often has stock of items that the more centrally located Tokyo stores don't. (I also really love the Twitter account!) Ebony and I spent a good amount of time in there, casually browsing and carefully considering what we wanted. Shop staff Yazawa was really friendly and helped us a lot! I always see her pictures wearing the clothes, so it was nice to see her in person too.

Even though they're not actually geographically close to each other, I always like to go to the Machida and Yokohama stores on the same day, and Ebony was kind enough to oblige me! We made it over to Yokohama Vivre after a 40ish minute train ride.
The shop staff here were very kind and enthusiastic as well and had a great chat with Ebony! (I could understand half of it maybe lol.) Although I've visited this location several times in the past and have gone to Yokohama specifically for it, this was the first time I actually made a purchase there and I was happy to do it with such cordial shop staff. It did take me a long time to make my decision though - Sorry, Ebony!

Last order of the day, and especially necessary for matching coordinates - purikura! We couldn't find one conveniently located in Yokohama, so we came all the way back to Shinjuku to take it.
Thank you Ebony for spending most of the day with me and being such a huge help in communicating with the shop staff! I always feel so bad relying on you to just translate small bits of the conversation, but I really, really appreciate it!

We actually also stopped at Shinjuku Alta to briefly look in the Liz Lisa there as well!
We really had our fill at the two previous stores though, so no purchases for us this time! I do think it was worthwhile to have a look though since we were already there and I hadn't actually made it to this side of Shinjuku station thus far. 

Aaaaand actually, on the way back to Shibuya, I made a spur of the moment decision to stop at Harajuku again because there was a pair of shoes I remembered seeing on the 2nd floor of the Liz Lisa store that I figured I should buy at that moment so I could pack it if I was going to buy it at all.
Turns out they didn't have it in my size (which I was kind of expecting but I had to stop and ask...which I really should have done one of the previous 2 times I had stopped there), and I just made my way back out!

I actually somehow made my way to 4 Liz Lisa stores on this day and that's basically all I did. I'd consider that productive, hahaha. But seriously, it's nice to just take my time and shop in Liz Lisa with someone like Ebony who also really likes the brand!

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Day 6 - Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Last day of the trip, and as always, we leave at midnight so we pretty much have all of the day to do almost anything we want.

I really didn't have anything I needed or wanted to do at that point, so I decided to tag along for S's itinerary even though it was to two repeat locations we had just gone to on Sunday -__-.
First up was Tsukiji Market. We hadn't come to the market specifically on Sunday but we did go to the nearest station (Tsukijishijo) to go to the fish store. It's too bad we couldn't have done both on the same day but our timing was off.
It was crowded and hot as usual but I did manage to find the konbu and black garlic that I wanted to get for my mom and dad.

Next, it was back to Kappabashi again! The reason we had to come back is because there was this particular item that S wanted for his family but it needed to be a specific measurement, and he hadn't been able to confirm the size during our previous visit. But actually it wasn't so bad because it was nice to be there on a day where all the shops were actually open. And it's not like we were dying to do any other activity at this point.

S got what he wanted, and we were just about to turn back when I noticed this chopstock specialty store! (Photos were welcome and encouraged!)
We spent way longer than we intended in there, trying out all the different chopsticks and examining whether we liked the expensive or cheaper ones more. We both ended up buying sets of chopsticks for our family but took a really long time to decide.

Last shopping hurrah was back in Shibuya 109. I also did take a last look at the 100yen stores (Daiso and Can Do) in the area, but spent the bulk of my last afternoon lost in 109. I basically explored like I did on the first day - starting from the bottom and slowly making my way up each floor and just stopping at every store that caught my eye. Since I no longer had to worry about overspending and not having enough money for the rest of the trip, I could buy whatever I wanted with whatever money I had left.
In fact, that didn't amount to much although I did give it a really honest try lol. Many of the stores were pretty crowded, and I even waited "in line" to use the dressing rooms in a few which encouraged me to buy at those in particular because I had invested so much time at that point. I knew how much space I had left in my suitcase so I couldn't go crazy on bulky items but it was great to really examine some of the clothes items from stores I am less familiar with.

These really loose, chill shopping days are something I've just really never done on my past trips! I'm looking back at these photos and thinking about all the things I didn't do because we were just taking our time, but that's totally fine. Just because the day wasn't jam packed, doesn't mean it wasn't worthwhile. I also came back with a lot less new purchases in my suitcase, but it was also full of hiking gear, so that "experience" replaced the shopping!

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Liz Lisa stores visited during this trip:

  • Shibuya 109 - I didn't need to take a train for this, but take the Hachiko exit if you're coming from the JR lines. The subway has it's own Shibuya 109 basement entrance. Liz Lisa is now located on the 6 floor by the down escalators. 
  • Harajuku Takeshita doori - Use the Takeshita exit and just keep walking until you see it on the left!
  • Shinjuku Alta - Use the East exit (or exit through Lumine EST) from the JR station. From the street level, you should be able to see the studio Studio Alta building across the street. Liz Lisa is on the 1st floor!
  • Machida 109 - Use the North exit from the JR station. Once you pass the spinning sculpture thing, you should see the 109 building just ahead! Liz Lisa is on the 2nd floor. 
  • Yokohama Vivre - Use the West exit from the JR station, go past Takashimaya and then turn left. Keep walking until and you will see the little bridge. Vivre is directly to the left once you cross the bridge. Liz Lisa is on 4F!
  • Omiya Arche - Use the West exit from the JR station. ARCHE will be directly ahead of you! Liz Lisa is on the 3rd floor but you should only have to go up one floor from that level that you exit the station on. (Use the rightmost doors of the building to get to the up escalator more quickly.)
  • Ikspiari - Follow the crowds and exit towards Disney! You should see the sign for IKSPIARI as you walk towards the resort line. The Liz Lisa store is way in the back, past the theater on 2F. Just keep walking until you see it!

  Japan trip Summer 2017 
Part 1: Preparing to hike Mt Fuji
Part 2: Hiking Mt Fuji to see the sunrise!
Part 3: Casual shopping days - 7 different Liz Lisa stores, Kappabashi "Kitchen Town" + more
Part 4: Liz Lisa summer items haul
Part 5: Liz Lisa autumn items haul
Part 6: Other shopping items & coordinates
Part 7: Travel Notes - AirBnb, pocket wifi, food, weather & transporation
Part 8: OOTDs 

✦ Japan trip Spring 2017 posts
 Japan trip Winter 2017 posts
✦ Japan trip Spring 2016 posts
✦ Japan trip Autumn 2015 posts
✦ Japan trip Summer 2015 posts
✦ Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
✦ Japan trip Summer 2014 posts