Travelog: A Bag Hag’s Guide on What to Buy in Tokyo

 

If you follow me on instagram [@thebaghag] and on snapchat [the_baghag], you might already know that I’m currently in Tokyo on holiday. It was my eldest kid’s birthday and we decided to celebrate it quietly in Japan, a favorite destination since the Dear Kid (DK) loves electronics and wishes to be a software engineer one day 🙂 DK is officially a teenager (waaaah I am an oldie haha) has this thing with computers and electronics and knows way more than I do when it comes to gadgets. That knowledge and my lack thereof has been a point of embarrassment for me because I constantly get corrected lol (the perils of being a know-it-all mom). Anyway, Tokyo has always been a fascinating city and although I’d have preferred Osaka because the other DK would’ve loved to go back to Universal Studios, it was the older DK’s call. And Akihabara (a.k.a. Electric Town) won. And so it was Tokyo.

I was relieved to be honest because I haven’t been to Osaka enough to actually be familiar with the city. Tokyo is good. I know the places and have been able to navigate the city fairly well. I am so pleased to see and encounter so many more English- speaking tourists on this trip. It is no longer as problematic as a few years back when people spoke little to no English. The last two times we were in Tokyo, we stayed in Cerulean in Shibuya and Shangrila in Marunochi. This time, I asked my friend Jacqui S. for a hotel recommendation since she just came from the city. To live, I prefer Shibuya because of the proximity to food places in case my two munchkins are tired and want to stay in but get hungry, and this old mama has to buy food nearby. Cerulean is a good hotel but it is just way too far a walk to the main area (Shibuya Crossing). Jacqui recommended Shibuya Excel Tokyu and the hotel certainly did not disappoint geographically. It is located atop a department store and is about a 5 minute walk down to the Tokyu Department Store Food Show (food hall). The hotel has an amazing view of Shibuya Crossing too– apparently a lot of tourists want to take Crossing photos from the hotel 🙂

Shibuya Crossing July 2016
The hotel room is not as large as I had thought and is not as modern but it is very clean and definitely cozy– conducive for a good night’s sleep 🙂 Good rate for location!

My kids gave me one day to go where I wanted to go and natch I went to Shinjuku, 3 stops from Shibuya by train *take the JR Yamanote line*. I love going to Isetan and Barneys, among all the other department stores there. There is a Hermes boutique inside Isetan and I have gotten “bag lucky” there in the past– was able to get both a birkin and a kelly there. So haha the place holds good memories.

When it comes to designer bag brands like Hermes and Chanel, Tokyo is really preowned designer labels heaven. Immediately across the Isetan Hermes boutique is a tall, blue building called KOMEHYO. Komehyo is located along Shinjuku 3-Chome. The blue building is a multi- level department store solely dedicated to the sale of preowned designer merchandise. Jewellery, clothes, bags, shoes, watches… name it! On the bag brands end, the store carries a lot of Hermes bags (Birkin, Kelly, Evelyne, Toolbox, Constance, Jige, Kelly Cut, Kelly Pochette, Lindy, Victoria…)– seriously their stock of bags put even the most well- stocked Hermes boutique to shame lol. Komehyo is a very big “brand” on its own and it has other branches in other cities as well. The reputation for selling authentic designer merchandise is solid– at least so far. Preowned Hermes birkins go from ¥948,000 up *approx US$ 9,500 up* depending on condition.

Another area in Shinjuku worth going to for preowned designer labels is the street of Kabukicho. The short street is across the Shinjuku East (Lumine Est) metro/ subway exit. I always make a pit stop for the fruit stand at the mouth of the street– I love their fresh and cold fruit on a stick (from ¥100 to ¥200 depending on what fruit). Then it’s on to the busy street lined with these preowned designer shops. DAIKOKUYA is a very reputable shop which has a very good selection. If you want brand new birkins, they do have them too although priced high. But hey, if you have no EQ to wait , pay up lol. The store, like all the other stores, take credit card payments. And if they have special promotions, you might be able to knock a few thousand yen off the price if you pay in cash.

A smaller branch of BRAND OFF is also found on this street, almost next door from Daikokuya. The flagship store of Brand Off is in Ginza. I think they have the most extensive collection of exotics and special or limited edition birkin and kelly bags so it is worth a visit (the Ginza store which is located atop Cafe Doutour, along the same street as the Hermes store).

Beside Brand Off in Shinjuku is also another smaller preowned goods shop. I saw more Chanel bags there than Hermes. And can I say that preowned Chanel bags, even if used/ banged up, have become so expensive as well in the secondary market?! Crazy!!

At the foot of Kabukicho is a corner shop called GINZO. As of my visit 2 days ago, they have a very special Hermes Haut à Courroies HAC in vachetta leather for under ¥500,000 (approx US $5,000). I know it’s not a bag leather for everyone because it develops a dark patina over time and if not careful, the bag will show stains easily. But wow to me, that was a beautiful piece. Not something easy to order at Hermes in- store at all.

Anyway since I barely took photos and worked on video instead, just take the virtual shopping tour with me, visit my recent vlog on youtube:

There are a few more of these shops scattered around Shinjuku (like ROKOSHIRA) if you are patient enough to explore. And to be honest, visiting Tokyo and buying a preowned Hermes bag here is much better than being charged an arm and a leg by independent resellers (at least in the Philippines anyway), many of whom do not issue Official Receipts for your purchase (they don’t pay their taxes to the government), some of whom have very questionable reputations (oh dear the horror stories I’ve heard), & a handful of whom have no scruples and love to gossip about your purchases to others (hello whatever happened to discretion, no?).

At least if you decide on buying preowned designer merchandise in Tokyo from one of these shops I mentioned above, you not only get to purchase an unquestionably authentic designer bag with an official receipt (that you can use to bring bag back to them in case of any authenticity problems– but I highly doubt you would ever have that problem), you won’t get gypped, you don’t have to worry about being gossiped about by the sales associates to the people you know LOL (though you might just run into some bag resellers that you know,if you are from the Philippines), and best of all, you get to enjoy the full Tokyo experience. Haha like spending hours inside Don Quijote (a.k.a. Donki) buying useless things like a sushi hat or an octopus mask (best place to get your Japan souvenirs too), visiting Takeshita Street in Harajuku, sipping green tea in one of the many tea places in Omotesando and going through the little alleys for shops (we didn’t have enough time to do this on this trip), having authentic Ramen (almost everywhere you go),
Ramen in Tokyo July 2016

the freshest sashimi (Tsukiji market if you can wake up suuuuper early– haha we couldn’t so we ended up with something supermarket- bought which was just as good),
Crab uni mentaiko ikura maguro bowl july 2016
Tonkatsu, Tempura, Curry rice, and oh, the chance to indulge in OMG-I’ve-died-and-gone-to-heaven amaaaazing cheesecake like this one from Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory, which you can find in the basement food hall of Tokyu Department Store in Shibuya.

Tokyo Milk Cheese Cake
I bought this as a birthday cake for my DK and after we let it thaw (it was frozen when we bought it), the cake was gone in 60 seconds. Haha yes it was THAT good 🙂

That said, Tokyo is really a unique city unlike any other 🙂 I wish for you all to visit it some day, and if you do, I hope you find this post helpful! Safe travels and happy shopping!!

x
TheBagHag

 

6 Comments
  1. Thank you @baghag,it really help me a lot after reading your blog…kinda scared and super stress because it’s my first time in Japan …like what you said we are going to celebrate my daughter birthday and she wants to go to Akihibara…wish me luck! BTW, is 10 days staying in Tokyo good enough?
    Thank you again,
    Chanelpradachanel (Instagram)

  2. Thanks Ingrid for the tips. My caughter and I are planning to go to Tokyo in March 2017 when we go for vacation to the Phils too. I will definitely keep these tips in mind..

  3. A little bit off-topic and very possibly old news, but I love your eyebrows. Would it be too forward to ask where you have them shaped and groomed?

  4. Hi Ingrid. Can you also create a post on your favorite restaurants in Japan? I’m always on the lookout for really delicious and affordable places to eat there.

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