Isetan is one of Japan’s famous department store groups and a favorite of
many chic Japanese and visitors. The main store is close to Shinjuku station.
The food stalls are in the basement and this floor alone makes a visit
worthwhile. Many individual stores and brands have their own stalls here - all
the famous names are here: for chocolates Godiva and Neuhaus, several bakeries
including Johan (French), Andersons (Danish), Tuechheim (German) and of course
all the Japanese confectionaries as well. Beautiful fruit beautifully displayed
- and please don’t touch the $ 200 melons! Japanese stalls have fresh produce
and precooked meals - all which must be sold the day it was prepared so nearing
closing time the stall owners start to scream out lower prices to attract
customers. Although it gets quite noisy it is still pretty sedate and very
The first floor has mostly female accessories and make up. Practically all
the European and Japanese brands are represented, each with their own display
area and staff. Sampling is possible everywhere and you can even get a complete
makeup done if you ask for a demonstration. On the next couple of floors
designer clothing ranging from Calvin Klein to Isay Miyaki will tempt you.
The fifth floor has house ware, porcelain, and Japanese pottery and lacquer
ware. The latter makes beautiful if pricey gifts. There are often items on sale
on this floor that can make reasonably priced souvenirs. Anything you buy can be
gift wrapped for free - just tell the shop assistant that it is a gift or
present. And it is true - in the less busy sections you can simply give your
purchase and money to any shop assistant. While you continue browsing she (sometimes even he) will complete
the payment transaction and find you again to give you your change and purchase.
Men’s clothing is in the Annex building - connected to the Main Building at several floors. It
has the same designer kind of collection but if you are 190 cm there is little
reason to linger there!
Western and Japanese restaurants are on the top floor and smaller coffee
shops are scattered throughout the building.
In most department stores foreigners can claim sales tax (only 5%) back on
presentation of your passport at the International Service counter. Purchases should
usually exceed yen 10,000 for the day but it is no challenge to shatter that
The best time to visit is at opening - be there on the minute and feel like
royalty. The store manager will come down to open the door and while the music
plays each and every shop assistant must bow to each and every customer (real or
potential) passing by! Head down the smaller aisles if you don’t want to share
"your" bows with other people. Try not to laugh but if you can manage it
without smiling you may already be in need of psychiatric help. It lasts at most
five minutes; it’s childish but what fun!
Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
Mexico City, Mexico
February 15, 2002
From journal Tokyo Highlights - the essential must sees
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia., Australia
January 27, 2002
It is open everyday from 10am to 7.30pm though occasionally closed on Wednesday.
Isetan is huge. You won't believe me if I tell you that Isetan is split into seven buildings which are located very close to each other.
I was in the main building, the Annex building. Various items with fantastic choices. The prices are a bit expensive. I was in the Isetan Kaikan building, too; it contains various restaurants and eating outlets. I did not really like the food here as it was not as delicious compared to other restaurants in Shinjuku. Moreover, the prices were extremely expensive. A bowl of ramen cost me more than 1500 yen. On the eight floor of the Annex building there are the Isetan building of Art and the Fine Art Salon.
What is special about Isetan is it has a I-club which is special services for foreign customers. I did my inquiries at the Customer Services desk on the seventh floor.
I was given a monthly newsletter which contains comprehensive news of sales and special promotions. The receptionist speaks fluent English.
I did not purchase any items or souvenirs from Isetan as I find the prices here a bit too expensive compared to other numerous shops around Shinjuku.
A good place for window-shopping .
From journal Never ending excitement in Tokyo.