BY RENÉE LODENS OF TRAVELSHOPA
Named Asia’s most upmarket shopping precinct, Ginza is home to the city’s classiest boutiques and department stores. Alongside malls like Tokyu Plaza , Mitsukoshi , Dover Street Market Ginza and Ginza Six are independent stores and local brands. The main roads are closed to cars on Sundays – shopping paradise! #2 Shinjuku
Renee’s Top Tips • Most stores offer tax-free shopping to tourists spending over ¥5000 (S$60). Bring your passport! • Carry some cash: not everyone accepts credit cards (especially markets and small stores). • Buy a vintage kimono from a flea market. • Bargaining is the norm across Asia, but not in Japan. The only place to try your luck is a flea market. • Tokyo is short on space so many shops are above or below street level. There’s much more than meets the eye! What’s On 26-27 May: Tokyo Nomi No Ichi This huge biannual flea market showcases goods from some of Japan’s finest specialty stores (tokyonominoichi.com). Champs-Élysées of Tokyo. Located in Shibuya and Minato, it’s home to international brands and local labels, and is less crowded than Ginza. #5 Harajuku Harajuku is best known as the centre of teen culture in Tokyo and has a great selection of vintage stores. Head to the lanes off Takeshita Street for the best boutiques and local wares. Travelshopa is the curated guide to the best local shopping around the world. travelshopa.com | @travelshopa The wealth of malls and department stores in this area can make Shinjuku a little overwhelming. Here you’ll find local and global threads at Isetan , and lots of specialty stores in the surrounding streets. #3 Shibuya Shibuya is the epicentre of all things shopping in Tokyo. Just paces from the famous enormous intersection are dozens of department stores, busy pedestrian area Center Gai and the iconic cylindrical building Shibuya 109 . #4 Omotesando This zelkova tree-lined avenue has been named the
My family travelled to Hakuba, which is an hour away from Nagano. I’ve been boycotting a skiing trip for the last 10 years because I’m not a good skier (if fact, I can’t ski at all!), it’s too cold (I’m more of a tropical holiday kind of girl) and it’s expensive. My husband, on the other hand, is a fantastic skier and loves the snow, so with our kids being a little bigger now (five and eight years old), I thought it was time. Since we had a lot of luggage and ski gear, we opted for a van to pick us up at Narita. It took about three-and-a-half hours to get to Hakuba, with one hot ramen stop along the way. We stayed in The White Horse Hotel, a cosy hotel with super-friendly staff. The hotel has everything you need, including an onsen . It’s just four minutes from the slopes and the staff can drive there and pick you up whenever you like. Besides skiing, check out the restaurants along Echoland. My kids have never tried skiing before so we enrolled them at Evergreen International Ski School. They had so much fun! Hakuba is a fantastic place for beginner skiers and the snow was incredible – I’ve never seen so much snow. One of the best times I had was having lunch dates with my husband James at the little ramen house below the beginner slope. I also had a great time building snowmen and skiing with my girls.
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