A Cheapskate’s Guide to Ginza

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Let’s face it: Ginza is not the best place to shop if you’re a little budget-conscious. Almost everything sold in this Tokyo hotspot is geared towards the upper crust, and us mere mortals can only dream of being able to afford them. However, there are some pretty good bargains to be had in one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. If you know what you’re doing, JPY 10,000 yen (about USD 100 or PHP 5o00) can go a long, long way.

First things first: getting to Ginza. There are three subway lines that service Ginza Station: the Marunouchi Line, the Hibiya Line, and the eponymous Ginza line. You can get to the station via any combination using these three lines, but the one thing you need to remember is the exit. Exit A2 is your ticket to fast fashion and cheap thrills in the Ginza district.

A Cheapskate's Guide to Ginza

A Cheapskate's Guide to Ginza      A Cheapskate's Guide to Ginza

Once you take Exit A2 and end up on street level, head down the sidewalk for GU — an RTW brand owned by Fast Retailing (who also own Uniqlo). GU is — for lack of a better description, what you would get if Uniqlo and Forever 21 had a one-night-stand. Many of the styles on sale are of the see-through, layered variety ala F21, but with less crazy and more wearable colors ala Uniqlo.

Some of the best bargains found in the racks include JPY 990 denim jeans and chinos pants, which are tailored enough to wear to work (your HR does not have to know you’re wearing jeans on a Monday!). They also have a wide selection of jersey tops for JPY 990, and matching camisoles for JPY 390 — perfect for layering! You can finish off the look with a JPY 660 faux leather handbag and strappy suede platform wedges for JPY 1990.

After you’re done with GU, it’s time to head further down the street to the next block for the Uniqlo flagship store. Featuring 12 floors of nothing but Uniqlo, it is the world’s biggest Uniqlo outlet. There are individual floors exclusively for mens, womens, and chilldrens wear — plus a floor just for UT or Uniqlo Tees. With discount promos that literally change everyday, try to drop by as many times as you can during your trip to score unbelievable bargains.

A Cheapskate's Guide to Ginza

A Cheapskate's Guide to Ginza      A Cheapskate's Guide to Ginza

After all that shopping, do you think you can fit everything into your suitcase? If not, Ginza has that covered too! Right next to Uniqlo is Ginza Karen, an affordable handbag and suitcase shop that sells everything at just one price: JPY 5250. Whether it’s a 7KG cabin carry-on, a larger 15KG weekender, or a whopping 23KG monster of a suitcase — they are all available for the same price.

Bonus tip: do you love designer bags and wallets — Coach, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermes? If you have expensive tastes but modest bank accounts, Ginza is a fantastic place to shop! Right next to Exit A2 in the basement of the building with the Ricoh sign is Brand Off Tokyo, which sells pre-owned and brand new designer goods at rock bottom prices. Note that when we say pre-owned, they are still in excellent condition — plus, all items are authenticated as genuine products by expert appraisers.

Brand new Coach wallets and bags (still with their tags and care instructions attached) can be had for JPY 15,000 to JPY 30,000 (about PhP 6,000 to PhP 12,000). Pre-owned LV messenger bags and small handbags start at JPY 20,000 or PHP 8,000, while larger bags go for thrice that. Last but not least, Hermes handbags start at JPY 60,000 but can go all the way up to JPY 2,400,000 (!!!) so be extra careful when making your selections.

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