Category Archives: Shopping out the East Gate & Left

Fukubukuro- New Year’s “lucky bags”

2015-01-01 08.09.13New Year’s Day is the most important Japanese holiday, where many “firsts” are celebrated. Some of these special firsts include; first prayer, first sunrise, and first …SALE! The Japanese phenomenon known as fukubukuro, (orlucky/happy bag”), entails heading to a store on January 1-3 and buying a bag with unknown contents for a set price. The only guarantee is that the bag will be worth more than you paid, sometimes several times more, but it’s a gamble.

If you are a risk taker at heart, you will love this custom! Some stores show the contents of the bags, but most do not, it’s a complete surprise. Opening your lucky bag has all the anticipation of Christmas morning, and possibly some of the disappointment. Was it money well spent, or not?2015-01-02 08.49.17-1

For example, I spent Y3000 for this bag at a kitchen wares store, and this was its contents; a  small roasting pan with rack, frying pan, spatula, “pig” microwave lid, utensil holder, and two fish shaped kitchen sponges. This bag was definitely worth more than what I paid.

 

Head to your nearest mall, specialty store or grocery store January 1-3, to join in the fun. But, beware, if you don’t act fast you’ll miss your chance! Lucky bags are only around while supplies last. Jamie Cowan, December  2015

Kodaira Fish Market

fish market megan millerIf you enjoy a yummy dinner featuring fresh seafood for the main course, the Kodaira Fish Market should be on your list to try. From my understanding, all of their fish comes from the Sea of Japan. It is fresh that day, affordable, and only a fish market by megan miller 1thirty minute drive from the East Gate. Should you decide to buy a whole fish, they will clean it up for you at no extra cost (do remember to translate your request before arriving). They also provide ice free of charge just outside the market. The crabs were still moving when they took them out of the box.  They even had whale meat. It looked like really red thinly sliced tuna meat.  One tip is to bring along an ice chest to store your “catch” for the ride home.  The market is clean and easy to maneuver. An added bonus is the fresh produce market situated next door. They sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, plus milk, tofu, and noodles; basically everything you need for a delicious and healthy meal.  Bon appetite!  GPS Coordinates: 35.745028, 139.49109.
fish market by megan miller 2DIRECTIONS:  Turn left out of the East Gate.  Turn right at the 7-11.  Continue to the second stop light at Route 59 and turn left.  This puts you on the road that passes Aeon Mall.  You will pass the mall on your right.  Turn right onto Route 5 aka Shin Oume Highway.  Drive 10 kilometers down Route 5.  You will see the green “VERGER” sign to your left.  Turn left when you see the Verger sign and left again.  Continue straight as you approach the market, it is down a narrow street opening to a parking lot. The day we came, we noticed uniformed parking attendants who help move the cars through the parking lot. Also, the easiest sign to spot is the large green sign that says Verger, which is the fresh produce market adjacent to the fish market (the actual fish market is not exactly visible from the main road). Keep an eye out for these clues or you might miss your entrance. – Megan Miller, October 2013

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Joyful Honda

I find this place endlessly fascinating. It’s a giant home center with lots of parking, so it’s somewhat reminiscent of shopping in suburban America, yet it’s very Japanese. Joyful has a huge garden section, lumber and hardware, plants, a bike shop, homewares, kitchen gear, curtains, rugs, liquor and groceries. And that’s just the first floor. Upstairs is where the real fun begins. There’s a pet store with amazingly expensive dogs and cats for sale. I’ve seen kittens with price tags of $1,200 and more. Customers are welcome to bring their own pets, so you see lots of people pushing shopping carts around the mall with barking poodles and Akitas inside. Next to the pet section is a vast hobby department with a frame shop, amazing washi paper, sewing stuff, woodworking materials and tools, beads, an astonishing variety of pens and so much more. Also on the second floor is a food court. Our sponsors brought us here on our first day in Japan and it was perfect. Those who don’t want to try exotic food can head for the McDonald’s or KFC counter. My favorite place is the one right by the entrance that sells goldfish-shaped waffles and takoyaki, aka octopus balls. (Yes, smart alecks, I know that octopus don’t really have balls.) My husband always goes for the Korean place that sells bibimbap. (If you shop with your dog, you should know that you can’t bring Fido to the food court.)
What you won’t find for sale is Hondas, except maybe in the generator and farm tools section. I can’t explain the strange name, but I know it has nothing to do with the Honda car company. Hours: 9-7:30 (pet store 10-8). Tel.: 042-568-2311. GPS: 35.76260, 139.35840. Liz Ruskin, 2012
DIRECTIONS: You can get here easily from the East Gate or the Terminal Gate. From the Terminal Gate, turn right onto Route 16 and stay left (0.9km) to avoid going under the underpass. This puts you on 166, which follows the Yokota fence line to its northern-most tip. At the the light (2.1km) turn right onto Route 5, a major multi-lane road (not a sharp right onto the minor road that hugs the Yokota perimeter.) Stay on this road and you’ll see, on the right, a big billboard for Joyful Honda. Turn right at the Lawsons (3.3km). Make the very first left and look for the parking lot entrance. (3.4km). Parking is free.


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Daiso ¥100 Store, East Gate

Past the Aeon Mall is another Daiso store with ultra-cheap housewares, etc. In the same building is a market with fruits, vegetables, wine and other grocery items at good prices.  The Daiso is open 10am-8pm 042-520-3273; http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/english/
DIRECTIONS:  Turn left out the East Gate, then right at the first light onto a narrow road. At the second light (1.2K), turn left and drive past the Aeon Mall (1.9K). After the next light, turn right (2.2K) into the parking lot (opposite a 7/11).   Teresa Negley, Fran McDaniel, 2010.

Komeri Garden Store

Komeri is a garden store close to base that has a fair number of plants, pots and yard tools.
DIRECTIONS: Reset your odometer as you turn left out the East Gate. At the second light (0.6km), a “Y” intersection, stay left. When the road ends, turn left. You will pass a large Dorama store and a baby clothing store with the bunny on the sign, both on the right. Turn right at the next light, at 1.5km (Shiritsu Susho Minami Intersection.) Komeri will be a a few blocks up on the left. The sign is only in Katakana, but you can recognize it by the big red rooster on the sign. GPS: 35.7558, 139.3668 Brian Marriott, 2001. Directions updated 2011.

Baby Mam/Baby “Bunny” Store (children’s clothes & stuff)

Baby Mam/Baby “Bunny” Store
This is a baby clothes store about a mile from the East Gate. It has a larger selection than the BX at a reasonable price. You can find cute clothing that makes good gifts for babies back in the States as well as baby showers at Yokota. They also carry a wide selection of strollers and car seats. The back wall is full of shoes and socks. You can also buy Japanese diapers and general baby and child gear, like training chopsticks. The selection of girls’ tights is also very good.
DIRECTIONS: Reset your odometer as you turn left out the East Gate. At the second light (0.6km), a “Y” intersection, stay left. When the road ends, turn left. You will pass a large Dorama store on the right just before the Baby Mam store at 1.4km, also on the right. The Bunny store is easily identified by the large rabbit on the sign. 5-130-1 Musashimurayama-shi. GPS: 35.7521, 139.3659. Brian & Kristen Marriott, 2002.  Alexis Roberts, 2007. Directions updated 2011.

East Gate Vegetable markets

There is a conglomeration of markets nearby in Murayama, about 15 minutes or 5km away. These markets are closed on Thursdays. A bit of advice: do not buy at the first vegetable market on the corner – browse through several stores to make your selections.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the East Gate. Stay in the right lane at the second light, proceeding through the “Y” intersection to the “T” intersection. Turn right and continue to another “T” intersection (Jomo gas station on the right). Turn right at the “T”, then left at the first traffic signal (bookstore on the left corner). Go to the next “T” (overhead sign says Tokeidai Higashi) and turn right. Take the first left onto Gakuen Dori. Follow the road to the Inageya Supermarket sign and park in the supermarket lot on the left. Stores are across the street, through the alley, and around on the next larger street.
DIRECTIONS HOME: Turn right out of the parking lot, proceed to the “T” intersection, turn right. Take the first left and go to the next “T” intersection. Turn right at the intersection and take the first left (gas station on the left). Stay on this road and you will pass the D-Store on your left. Just after the first light (Yamaha dealer on your right) turn left onto Heiwa Dori. Continue straight and look ahead for the East Gate on your right. Geri Yasuhara, Delores Street, Teresa Negley, 1996

Shimoda’s Mitsugi Market
On Tuesdays and Fridays, you can shop for fresh produce at Shimoda’s Mitsugi Market, ten minutes from the East Gate.
DIRECTIONS: Go left out the East Gate. Proceed to the fork in the road where you bear left. Stay straight and make a left when you reach the “T” intersection. Make a right turn at the third signal light, onto Yakushi Dori. The first large intersection (Shiritsu Jusho Minami), will be at Shin Ome Kaido with McDonalds on the corner. Go straight through the intersection until you come to a “T”. Turn right on Ome Kaido and proceed 0.3km until you see the market on the left. Parking is in the back; turn left just past the market building (down the alley between the two buildings). Hours: 10-5pm. Telephone: 042-560-0487

Aeon Mall (Diamond City)

aeon mall sarah strausThis huge American-style mall is just two kilometers from the East Gate. Shops include H&M, Gap, Gap Kids, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean, Uniqlo and Zara. It is anchored by a large department store with a big supermarket on the first floor.  Also there is a fabulous indoor playground called BorneLund on the first floor.  At the opposite end, on the second floor, is a large store called Victoria that has outdoor equipment and golf supplies. On the second floor is an Aveda Salon aeon mall sarah straus(042-562-5168) where enough English is spoken to achieve a haircut. The Mall also houses a movie theater. (To find out what’s playing: https://cinema.aeoncinema.com/wm/musashino/.) Parking is plentiful and free. Hours: 10am-10pm, open 9am during the Christmas season. Address: 1-3,Enoki 1-chome,Musashimurayama-shi,Tokyo.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out of the East Gate. Go 300 meters to the 7/11 and turn right on a narrow road. Go straight for 1 kilometer.  Turn left onto Route 59. The corner of the mall will be on your right at the next light.  Turn right here and left into the parking area.

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