The cliché... cost of electronics
If it's a Japanese company it will cost only two thirds than
overseas, even if it's brand new. Should you need a hint on just
what exactly is made by a Japanese company, look around your room,
at your workplace, check what brand you car is, your camera, watch,
computer or game collection.
And if you're still hesitating about something because of its
price, just head down to Akihabara, and PASS the first twenty
shops to find places selling new and used electronics from air-conditioners,
security systems, computers to games and home appliances for half,
third or even fourth the list price. For things you don't need
new of you can ask most stores outside Akihabara as well whether
they're selling any used merchandise of, which are always tested
and resold with a proper guarantee.
Games, Music, DVDs, Anime, Manga, and related
Well if you're reading this article you may be interested in
ways of expanding your collection without paying a fortune for
every single copy. Well, first of all, a new release is a new
release in Tokyo as well, and will cost just barely below the
limit which the most eager will pay for them. This doesn't seem
to be a problem from an economic point of view for there's no
idol, game, movie, anime or manga that doesn't have a huge amount
of people waiting for them, especially with the proper advertising
thrown into the media... Based on their popularity the amount
released and the places where you can get them will vary, but
the prices will be more or less the same everywhere you look.
Which is... not cheap.
Probably because of this, or just a well planned countermeasure
for piracy... returning and selling used music CDs, DVDs, games,
consoles, anime and even manga people got bored of creates a well
working, and huge official market for low-price versions of the
same ( sometimes even brand new ) stuff you longed for. Most of
the time you can get a copy of any new release within a week or
so, through these channels... and on the issue of where to look
and how official it is... for example Tsutaya has racks and racks
selling flawless secondhand merchandise in most of its departments,
and even has a CD rental service... from which it usually sells
the somewhat tired copies through its own store for one tenth
of the price. But many other large electronic and electronic entertainment
stores have some similar system. Meaning if you don't ( have to
) jump on the first copy that still has the plastic cover warm
from the factory line, you can get anything for much much less
without having to wait more than a week or two. The system is
well oiled with lots of people on both ends of the bargain and
kept alive by all the stores that recognized the possible profits.
People with any financial concerns about how to obtain recorded
entertainment will learn to like this feature.
More expensive than overseas... ( with the exception of Hokkaido
where it's even cheaper)
Most cheese, fresh tomato, potatoes, fresh bread and other wheat
products, fresh milk and milk products, beef, pork, milk chocolate...
Costs the same, is a little or much cheaper than overseas...
Salmon, tuna and fish in general, crabs, lobster, oyster ( especially
in Hokkaido ), squid, octopus, rice and all rice flour based products,
all kinds of beans and bean based products, most fruits, chicken,
vegetables, mushrooms, and of course special spices, seasonings,
Food in general
Not counting the "class of the restaurant" parameter...
which is probably recognizable to anyone right away, just try
to keep the above list in mind and you should be prepared for
the differences in cost. Chinese, Korean and of course Japanese
cuisine is a given to be much cheaper. Even if you have some experience
visiting the least expensive restaurants overseas be prepared
to pay only half for some food in most places. Noodles are an
exception, they cost about the same, with soba and udon being
around two to three hundred yen and a good portion of ramen around
four to six hundred. Italian food costs the same as everywhere
in the world but the portions are smaller. You can eat a pizza
by yourself and still order some pasta. Indian food costs the
same as everywhere in the world except India and parts of Britain.
Western style food like steak and other meals that generally just
give different themes to huge chunks of meat are of course more
expensive. Food with ingredients that don't need to be traveling
down from Hokkaido or up from Australia will cost the same. Meaning
if you order something with more than the gyuudon equivalent of
beef in it prepare for the price to skyrocket exponentially.
For information on the Japan Rail Pass ( which may be a good idea
if you just know that you'll be using it till you drop ) visit
the Tourist discounts part
of the Travel Information page.
Buy a daily ticket to say the least. In case you're only visiting
a special ticket for the inner districts will allow you to ride
the Chuuoo-line and the Yamanote line trains all day long, thus
pretty much cover most of the downtown stations, historic sights,
attractions and transportation hubs. It will not just replace
all the little hundred and fifty yen fares per station, but also
be your all-day pass through the gates without the need to stand
in line every time you feel like going from one place to another.
Also such a ticket will allow you to come and go between the gates
of the platforms as many times you want, which can't be said for
the single fare version. Unless you're ready to get yourself a
monthly pass or let's say a Suica card this is your best option
to save on time, money and the nerve you need when in a rush-hour
The first thing a visitor will encounter about taxies is that
they charge you ten to twenty thousand yens for the trip between
Narita Airport and downtown Tokyo as opposed to the two thousand
yens the Narita Express tickets cost with the train departing
like every ten minutes from the basement. No matter where you're
heading the train option will always be cheaper. The flat fare
for taxies is about six hundred yen, which includes the first
three kilometers at most. Taxies aren't that expensive but other
than missing your last train home, there's simply no reason to
ride one, for the same trip from Shibuya to the suburbs will cost
three thousand yens instead of four hundred with the train. Perhaps
it's a more comfortable or elegant way of traveling but then again,
for the same cost that you paid as extra you could have sat into
a restaurant two classes higher... or could have stayed in a larger
room for a day.
In Tokyo buses will be most useful in case you've found one of
the approx. three directions in which the private rails aren't
connected yet... or when heading to either of the suburbs or residential
areas. They cost a little bit more than trains but will save you
the cost of transferring between lines.
Fashion is a big time curiosity. The streets are filled with
young people always up to date with the latest looks, most of
them with a style on their own for which you just have to have
some variety in your collection. The actual trends aside, the
places to buy the parts you can then combine into an outfit are
the same. First of all, you can march into the brand store of
any major company or world famous fashion designer - both Japanese
and from overseas - and buy the clothes of supposedly highest
quality and class... for the associated high class prices. Aoyama,
Omotesando and Harajuku feature the highest density of such stores
in which it's not at all uncommon to be all alone by yourself
with the intent of purchasing anything. Same reason as everywhere...
not everyone can afford to have their styles looked after by the
With brand names you won't be likely to feel lost, as nearly every
design house that has international reputation is represented
with at least one high-tech saloon in each shopping district.
If you're concerned about money but would want to buy stuff according
to the latest trends, you can always opt for the hyped up little
stores in Shibuya and Harajuku that sell the fiberglass and polyester
version for a much more reasonable price... which will still look
the same, if not better, and - unless you have sensitive skin
- will function more or less the same for up to one year, until
when you're already got bored of them anyway. Trends following
jpop idol looks, European and American pop fashion or other, evergreen
styles, all have five times as many such stores than of the "pay
for the name" showroom kind. And this doesn't mean they're
selling copies, rather that they're selling their own originals
inspired to some extent by a hyped up design. Although it is a
good idea to check whether you can wash these clothes in hot water
and whether you'd have to refrain from ironing...
But considering the fact that you can get a good jacket in town
for three to six thousand yen, which you have to pay fifteen to
sixty-thousand for in a brand store... you'll probably choose
the midrange stuff instead. The last few levels in class sell
the image of luxury instead of clothing anyway... but isn't fashion
like this... anywhere in the world ?
There's another reason why original shops in Harajuku might not
be the option for everyone, especially not over the age of twenty-five.
Considering how much braver Japanese young are in dressing up,
a visitor who at some point has to wear the clothes bought there
in other parts of the world might be hesitant to stock up on them.
For those who like to dress up in a much more causal style, brands
like GAP and MUJI are an option, not mentioning the countless
corners in department stores which as opposed to common belief
are pretty much like malls without walls in between the stores.
Depending on the location of the building you'll find fashion
from middle to world class. Seibu, Marui ( OIOI ), Parco, Daimaru
and all big chains seems to have the balance set to at LEAST four
floors of eight to be fashion related. And these floors are quite
large in square meters...
In case you don't like the idea of actual trends but love to
look good... and like to look up stuff you can relate to on your
own, head for Shimokita, Koenji or for one level higher in class,
Daikanyama or Jiyuugaoka. It's not just a whole different kind
of atmosphere but also a good source for stylish clothing stores
in both new and vintage pieces that are definitely off the main
stream. Still in fashion, but not the main stream that is... for
over the top cult stuff it's still Takeshita dori in Harajuku.
Variety builds up from everything you'd ever think of, or have
seen others believe to be looking good, but in general are just
a little bit less flashy than of a Harajuku collection. Mix in
rows and rows of western-based indie brands and import vintage
clothing and you'll get the idea of an entire district being the
ideal resource to build up an original collection... from much
less and... with a little bit smaller crowd of girls and boys
around you, trying to do the same.
Visa, border entry, what to bring and be prepared with
- Japanese maps,
Navi mobile navigation, easy orientation for travelers
stores, the resupply stations that sell everything
- Japanese Vending
machines, for drinks, tickets, cigarettes and more
- Japanese Food, and
all kinds of food in Japan, restaurants, fast food, cheap food...
- Tokyo - as we see it
- Budget Tokyo
apartment rental, accommodation, let go of the concern
- Tokyo Prices, the
real cost vs. western legends, how to make most of your budget
- Cheap Tokyo Stores, bargain
tips, where to find what, fashion to electronics
- Tokyo Cafe life, a
guide to Cafes serving as meeting points, hangouts and life-savers
- Tokyo Parks
and Gardens, well maintained icons of tranquility, tradition
or having fun
- The Tokyo crowd...
escaping from Tokyo to Tokyo, evading downtown rushhours