Seiyu Department Store is located in downtown Fussa, right next to the Fussa train station. We flew in to Yokota on a Space A flight and spent a few days on Yokota. We did not have a car so foot and taxi were our means of travel. Seiyu department store is great because it has everything. A big grocery store on the first floor with mega selections of prepared food, bento, and sushi. A great way to eat cheap. On the top floor are sit down restaurants. There is a particularly good Japanese restaurant right next to the elevators. Unfortunately it does not have a English name. – Sinclair Lai, November 2017
The Ebisu station along the Yamanote line is known as a beautiful illumination spot called Yebisu Garden Place in December. There is also a famous museum for Yebisu beer there. When you visit the place, there is a unique Japanese gift store you should check out.
Wabist is a shop that is a little off the beaten path featuring all items made in Japan at all different prices. As they introduce some products on its website, many items are made by skilled craftsmen.
A lot of fun items you don’t see everywhere. Great for gifts to send home or to friends/family. – Jennifer McCarthy, December 2016
Gift Shop Wabist : https://wabist.com/ec/specialcontent?id=104
Hours: 1 0am – 7 pm on weekdays, 12 pm-6 pm on Saturday, closed on Sunday and Japanese Holidays
Directions: To Ebisu station, take Ome/Chuo Line to Shinjuku and then take Yamanote Line towards Shibuya, Shinagawa. Ebisu is 4 stops away from Shinjuku. From the east exit, it is around a 5 min walk.
Books Kinokuniya, near Shinjuku South exit
If you are looking for a book store with English books, Books Kinokuniya might be your best bet to find what you are looking for. Kinokuniya is a chain book store in Japan that usually carries a small amount of English books. But this particular store specializes in English books and only has English books. Make sure to check the directions below, there is another Kinokuniya book store out of the east exit. The store near the south exit is the only one that specializes in English books. Their selection was enormous! They had children’s books, magazines, travel books, fiction/non-fiction, etc. The space isn’t as large as a book store in the US, but I felt like I was in a mini Barnes & Noble.
Since all of the books are imported, the price of the books seemed expensive, but still a good place to go if you are in need of books. If you know any other book stores that carries English books, please let us know! – Mai Takahashi, November 2016
Directions: If you have been to Shinjuku, you know how big the station is. From the base, take the Ome/Chuo line to Shinjuku station. And then look for the south exit. From that exit, you’ll cross the big intersection and turn left to walk through another part of Shinjuku station towards Takashimaya.
Once you get to Takashimaya 6th floor, follow the signs and you’ll see the book store.
TSUTAYA BOOKS, Daikanyama
There is a book store in Daikanyama where you can sip your coffee while you look for a book. Tsutaya Books Daikanyama is located in Daikanyama near Ebisu. Tsutaya is a CD/DVD rental chain in Japan that also sells books. The bookstore consists of three interlinked buildings, each having two floors. The first floors have books and there is a Starbucks on the first floor of the third building.
There are seats where you can bring a book to read while you enjoy Starbucks. The store does carry some English books, but not many. If you are looking for a certain title, Books Kinokuniya in Shinjuku might be a better option.
The Interior is so stylish that it is almost worth it to just visit. Don’t forget to check out Spring Valley Brewery while you are in the area. – Mai Takahashi, February 2017
To Daikanyama station, take Ome/Chuo line to Shinjuku, transfer to the Yamanote Line towards Shibuya/Shinagawa to Shibuya, and then transfer again to Tokyu Toyoko Line to Daikanyama. It is also accessible from Ebisu Station. To Ebisu Station, take Ome/Chuo line to Shinjuku, transfer to the Yamanote line towards Shibuya/Shinagawa to Ebisu station. It’s about a 15 min walk from Ebisu station.
Comments from travelers:
The book store in Daikanyama is amazingly unique and an example of superb architecture by Klein Dytham!! There is also an excellent restaurant next door called the Ivy Place! The food is delicious with a Greek inspired theme. The atmosphere is lovely and it offers three different eating spaces that will accommodate anyone! They have a cafe for more casual dining, a bar area and a formal dining area. I highly recommend it! – Amy Gaul, February 2017
The staff spoke great English and there were signs in English to explain each item. I wouldn’t say some of the products were affordable, but I think the price was reasonable for its authenticity. Every product was beautiful and I wish I could spend much more money. There were some inexpensive items like tatami mat coasters, paper crafts and small toys. A kokeshi doll that I bought was Y2300 without tax and I was very happy with my purchase. I love every detail of my kokeshi. The store is not too far away from Shinjuku station, so if you are looking for a place to visit while you are in Shinjuku, I think it’s worth a visit especially for authentic Japanese gifts to bring home. – Mai Takahashi, November 2016
BINGOYA, craft shop: http://bingoya.tokyo/
Hours: 10am-7pm, Tuesday-Sunday, Closed on the 3rd Saturday and the following Sunday (except in May, August, November, December).
Directions: I didn’t see any parking lots near by, so I recommend taking the train to the store. The nearby station is Wakamatsu-Kawada on Oedo-Line Subway. From the base, take Ome/Chuo Line to Shinjuku station. Transfer to Oedo-Line Subway. (Exit from West exit and follow the Oedo-line sign. You’ll be getting on Oedo-line from Shinjuku Nishi station.) Take Oedo line to Wakamatsu-Kawada.
From Wakamatsu-Kawada station, exit from Wakamatsu-Kawada exit and turn right. Walk straight until you reach the store. The store will be on your right.
Make sure to exit from the correct exit at Shinjuku station. You could exit from the South exit to catch Oedo line, but then you have to transfer again at Tocho-mae station. Getting on Oedo-line from Shinjuku-Nishi exit is the key.
A short 30 minute drive north of Yokota is the Hanno Ganno Kiln in the town of Hanno. They make traditional Japanese pottery. Don’t think typical blue and white…think green and white and turquoise and tan with patterns and textures.
There are two showrooms. The main showroom is directly in front of you when you park in their small parking lot. It has two rooms with decorative and everyday use pieces. The pieces are food safe but in most cases not dishwasher safe (bases or undersides of pieces aren’t completely sealed with glaze). Prices range from 300-3000 yen per piece, depending in size and intricacy.
The second showroom is slightly to the right and down the hill from the main showroom building. Here the potter displays his expensive and exhibition pieces. Many pieces are for sale in this room, but prices usually start at 7500 yen and go up quickly from there.
New 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, (or “lucky/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?
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
Lalaport Mall is a beautiful, American style mall that just opened in Tachikawa
(near Ikea and Showa park). There are over 250 retail stores, restaurants and services to enjoy, including some of our American favorites; Old Navy, Banana Republic, American Eagle Outfitters, Diesel, Guess, Godiva, North Face, and Starbucks, just to name a few!
As far as dining options go, there is both a food court and a wide variety of different restaurants. I did notice that three of the restaurants on the third floor offered a child play area. KidsBee and Mogoon were restaurants with really fun kid areas (ball pits, slides, and different activities), and Sirotan Museum, was a candy store with a play area in the back. (Cost was approximately Y300 for 1 hour or Y100 for 30 minutes at Sirotan.) None of these play areas were as large as Bornelund in Aeon Mall, but its always nice to have more restaurant/play area options! There was also an Eggs ‘n Things, Pinkberry, Cafe Amigo (someone please let us know if it’s authentic Mexican food!), and so many more.
Driving was super easy (about 20 minutes from the east gate) and there is a huge covered parking terrace with over 3,000 spots. The cost was Y500 for 1 hour and Y250 for every 30 minutes following. This added up very quickly, but take your ticket inside with you because the stores will validate with purchase, though the validation will only subtract one hour from your total. It would also be an easy train trip with the closest station being Tachihi, which is a monorail stop. The station is literally right in front of the mall entrance. Jamie Cowan, December 2015
Check out the LaLaport website for a complete list of stores.
HOURS: Open daily. Stores and food court: 1000-2100, Restaurants: 1100-2200, Supermarket: 0900-2200
TRAIN ACCESS: http://www.lalaport-tachikawatachihi.com/en/access.html
DRIVING: GPS 35.7143693,139.4148003
Yasukuni shrine is a Shinto shrine in central Tokyo, close to the Imperial Palace,
that commemorates Japan’s war dead. The purpose of this shrine is to enshrine those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives for Japan.
A political controversy surrounds Yasukuni because since 1978, fourteen class A war criminals (including General Hideki Tojo from WWII ) are among the 2.5 million enshrined here. Several Japanese prime ministers and cabinet members come here to pay their respects, which infuriates some from China and South Korea. They believe it is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state. Each time I have been there, there have been Japanese news personnel watching to see if anyone noteworthy was paying their respects.
Next to the shrine stands the Yushukan, a fascinating museum that commemorates and documents Japan’s wars from a very pro Japanese point of view. Let’s just say their take on WWII is VERY interesting. If you are a history buff, or have a visitor that is, you should definitely check it out.
Around the shrine grounds there are hundreds of cherry trees, including Tokyo’s representative cherry tree that is used by the meteorological agency to pronounce the official opening of the season in Tokyo. It is also widely considered one of Tokyo’s best cherry blossom viewing spots.
This shrine also has several very impressive Torii gates, and two huge stone lanterns ( Japan’s largest) built to honor the Army and Navy respectively.
There is a weekly Sunday flea market on the grounds, except during the blossom viewing in April. Merri Kever, July 2015
Hours 6:00 to 18:00 from may to August, to 17:00 from November to February
No closing days
9:00 to 16:30 (admission until 16:00)
A few irregular closure days in late June and late December
Cost: 800 yen
Yasukuni shrine is a short walk from Kudanshita Station on the Hanzomon, Tozai, and Shinjuku Subway lines.
From Shinjuku station
Take the Shinjuku subway line directly from Shinjuku to Kudanshita Station. It takes about 8 min
From Tokyo Station
Take the maranouchi subway line to Otemachi, then the Hanzomon Subway line to Kudanshita. About 5 min total.
Be prepared to get pleasantly surprised if you get a chance to visit this small
hipster neighborhood called Shimokitazawa. This bustling area is full of cheap eateries, gadget shops, vintage clothing, retro furniture and a ton of performance venues.
This area is a lot of small alleyways waiting to be explored, so take your time and enjoy. It focuses on second hand stores with a lot of character. I got 2 great skirts for 800 yen!
The train station divides the area in a northern and southern part, with the north having an edgy, but sophisticated urban touch to it.
Vintage stores, and coffee houses are found in abundance. If you see the Canadian flag hanging in an alleyway here, you may have some amazing poutine if that is something you like.
Shimokitazawa is only four minutes from Shibuya station on the Inokashira lines. Or 7 minutes from shinjuku on the Odakyu line. Merri Kever, July 2015
Craft Heart Tokai
Located near the Fussa Station, it is on the street level, below the Seiyu parking garage. This store offers a small variety of fabrics, beads, sewing notions, lace, ribbon, etc. For ¥540, you can purchase a membership card for one year. They will give you a form to fill out, and are very helpful with translating. This membership recently gave me %10 off my entire purchase, and I get flyers in the mail that highlight their sales. If you park in the Seiyu parking garage, you can validate your parking by taking your Craft Heart Tokai receipt and parking ticket to the bookstore next door and they will validate it for you.
There is another Craft Heart Tokai in The Mall. If you are headed north on Route 16 for any reason, you can easily stop in and check it out. It’s located on the second floor, towards the middle-back for the building. They have a similar selection of sewing and craft goods.
Located near the Tachikawa Station, this craft/fabric store has a large variety of fabrics and sewing notions. The store is in the Bic Camera Building, the fabrics and sewing notions are on the 7th floor. Other crafts, to include beads, felt, craft paper, etc., are located on the 8th floor. You can purchase a membership card for one year and receive discounts on various fabrics cut from the bolt (¥540). Take the North exit from the Tachikawa Station and use the skywalk to cross traffic. The building has all kinds of electronics and phones for sale at street level. Simply enter the building and head left to the escalator. It will take you all the way up to Yuzawaya. Please see the map below.
And let’s not forget the Daiso! It doesn’t have a huge selection of fabrics, but has various sewing notions and small craft items. I was able to find large pieces of felt for only ¥100. It also has beads, buttons, elastic, velco, etc. Often times, you can snag these items for much less at the Daiso than at a craft store.
I also wanted to mention that Joyful Honda has a HUGE selection of craft items, but is lacking in the fabric department. Looking for canvas, paint, leather working items, beads, scrabooking, etc, you’ll find it here. The prices are a little high, but you are likely to find what you are looking for.
The IKEA in Tachikawa also has fabric on the bolt, for some trendy home décor prints. Have a different fabric or craft store to share? Please share in the comments below! Michelle Nexon, October 2014.
Looking for a unique gift? Or something you can’t find anywhere else? You may find it at a Don Quijote. They have all kinds of goods; cell phone accessories, beauty products, clothing, liquor, car accessories, electronics, etc. They also offer inexpensive seasonal goods, such as Christmas decorations during the winter, and water toys during the summer. The closest location is right across from base on Route 16. Parking is free. The hours are from 9:00 am-5:00 am, and the phone number is 042-539-7611. For more information, check out their website at: http://www.donki.com/en/. Just take a right out of the terminal gate and you will see it on the left. Michelle Nexon, July 2014.
Fujiya Camera, located near Nakano station, carries a wide selection of new and used camera bodies, lenses and other gear. The store is about 70 years old, well staffed, and easy to get to by train on the JR Chuo line heading toward Tokyo. Small, but jam packed, the store is two stories, with Canon, Sony and other camera types on the first floor and Nikon upstairs. When my friend and I went there were a number of customers calling in for prices and staff were hurrying around on phones grabbing cameras off the shelf. Camera’s are rated from A (best quality) through AB+, AB, AB-, B and so on. Run their webpage through a google translator and click on “common questions” to get a description of these ratings. You’ll also find an online store with their new and used camera prices so you can do a little research before going. Webpage: www.fujiya-camera.co.jp. I did buy a used camera body there and was told that I had 10 days to return it if there was a camera defect. Also it came with a 6 month repair warranty. There are no returns on new lenses. If you go I suggest the following: 1. Do your homework ahead of time and know specifically what you are shopping for. It would be a good idea to have a print out of the camera/lenses you want that includes a price in dollars so you can compare. 2. Be aware that it is a tightly packed place and not the most kid friendly. 3. Understand how their used cameras are ranked and look the camera over carefully before buying. You should be able to turn on the camera and check it out or put used lenses onto your camera before purchase. 4. If you buy a used camera body, ask the staff to change the language to English for you.
If you start looking around, there are a number of new and used camera stores all over Tokyo, particularly in Akihabara. I’ve not shopped at those, so cannot compare stores or prices. Fujiya Camera is open 10am – 8:30pm. GPS 35.707473, 139.668425.
DIRECTIONS: Take the train to Tachikawa. From Tachikawa take a Chuo line train toward Tokyo. I would recommend a commuter special rapid if you can catch one as both the rapid and commuter special rapids stop in Nakano. It is the last major stop before Shinjuku. When you get off the train, head toward the large, arched sun mall (see photo above). It is fun to poke around in here too! But rather than enter the arched Sun mall entrance, turn right and then turn left on the first little side street with the KFC on it. From here I think we just took the next right and found it. – Sarah Straus, Jan 2014, top photo by Tamra Honchul, Feb 2014.
Comments: A friend and I took her old Canon into Fujiya Camera store for a trade in and she was able to complete the transaction all at once. While she looked at the camera she was interested in, the guy helping her looked her camera over then offered her an amount for the camera. It all went smoothly and my friend was able to get some money knocked off the used camera she upgraded to. – Sarah Straus, June 2014.
If you are looking for fondue, look no further than Kushiya Monogatari, at the eastside Aeon Mall. The restaurant is located just inside the Mall’s west entrance (by Mister Donut). Walk through the entrance and turn left.
If it’s your first time, be sure to ask for help, the workers are very friendly. But just in case, here’s the rundown: You will be given a bowl of milky batter, and another of bread crumbs. Walk up to the buffet and choose your “food on a stick.” These foods include meat, vegetables, potatoes, seafood, and more. When you return to your table, dip the desired item in the batter and then roll the item in the bread crumbs. Place the breaded item in the oil and fry to perfection. The restaurant includes plastic bibs and a cover to prevent oil splatter. Once you are finished cooking your items, choose from a variety of sauces to dip them in. The sauces are located at the buffet near the drink machine. Sauces include spicy, sweet, cheesy, etc. and are marked in English. When you are finished with your stick, you can place it in a handy cup located on your table, to reduce clutter.
If that isn’t enough, there is also yakisoba, curry, salad, dessert, etc. at the buffet. Be sure to save room for the dessert, a chocolate fountain!! They have marshmallows, pastries, fruits and more. I also recommend frying up a wedge of pineapple, yum!
Similar to a yakiniku restaurant, there is seating for both small and large groups. The restaurant is open every day from 11:00am to 11:00pm. The phone number is 042-561-7737. The Japanese website is http://www.kushi-ya.com. Please note that not all menu items are presented on the website. Visit the Aeon Mall page for directions. – Megan Luke, December 2013
If 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 thirty 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.
DIRECTIONS: 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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This fabulous list is from Jane Keller, submitted in September 2013. Wow! Some of these are covered by Yokota Travel already. They are linked. Many are not. If you go to one and want to do a write up for Yokota Travel, please do so. Include a general description of what they sell, hours, and bonus points for a photo. Submit to editor @ yokotatravel.com. Together we know a lot!
Recycle Shop, 35.73635N, 139.356946E
Hard Off, SE of base on Highway 7, 35.729801N, 139.360799E
Shineishoji Thrift/Junk Shop, where Highways 5 and 16 meet, 35.775277N, 139.340692E
Treasure Factory Thrift Store, Musashimurayama, 35.746597N, 139.391261E
2nd Street Thrift Store, Akishima, 35.697896N, 139.373244E, www.2ndstreet.jp
Hamura Recycle Shop, 35.75528N, 139.3208E
Daiso/Turtle Grocery, Musashimurayama, 35.749268N, 139.383182E (grocery & 100 yen store)
Jumble Store, Tachikawa, 35.712672N, 139.428922E, www.jumblestore.com
Oikura Discount Shop, Hanno, 35.854048N, 139.328052E
Hard Off, Hachioji, 35.664244N, 139.352387E, www.hardoff.co.jp
Here is a list of grocery stores and farmers markets with GPS coordinates from Jane Keller, Sept 2013. Thank you Jane! All of the markets from this list that are covered on yokotatravel.com are linked. If you go to one we haven’t written up, consider doing a trip report. Tell us about the market including the open days/hours and for extra credit attach a photo. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fussa Farm Stand, 35.738623N, 139.327674E
Inageya Grocery Store, south of Fussa Station, 35.740395N, 139.328929E
Marufuji Market, near Higashifussa Station, 35.746271N, 139.334986E
Hamura Farm Stand, 35.767508N, 139.307664E
Mizuho Fresh House Market, 35.777183N, 139.342758E
Akigawa Farmers Center, Akiruno, 35.728564N, 139.307712E
Itsukaichi Farmers Center, Akiruno, 35.728566N, 139.240084E
City Farmers Market, Musashimurayama, 35.755328N, 139.387104E
Tsurukame Land/ Turtle Grocery, Musashimurayama 35.749682N,139.383198E
Shimoda’s Market, Musashimurayama, 35.759638N, 139.373239E
Gyomu Supermarket, Musashimurayama, 35.747161N, 139.389166E
Inageya Grocery Store, Musashimurayama, 35.746216N, 139.373823E
At the southernmost tip of Yokota Air Base is a hidden gem of a thrift shop (aka “recycle center”). It shares a building with an arcade, and it’s easy to miss. However, I can tell it’s going to be one of my favorite places to shop. A ¥100 clothing section is just to the left of the door, and that’s just the beginning. The large clothing section is very reasonably priced, with most items going for around ¥500 or ¥600. The back wall is lined with furniture, and the right hand side of the store is completely filled with toys, knick-knacks, ceramics, and electronics. If you pickup anything from the knick-knack section, be sure to pay at the counter nearby; clothing and knick-knacks are separate stores.
When approaching the Recycle Center, you will probably see the sign for the arcade, “Game”, before you notice the recycle symbol on a nearby sign. Turn into the Game parking lot and drive under the archway to reach the Recycle Center parking lot. On your way to the parking lot, you’ll see a double glass door on your right; this is the entrance to the recycle center. GPS Coordinates: 35.724409,139.346576. Roxanne Ready, August 2013.
Need to make a quick run to get some fresh produce or local brown eggs? Why not try Food Land which is only 1km out the east gate. Unlike stores such as the Seiyu and Daiei, Food Land is just a grocery store, which has it perks. It is never very crowed and the ambiance is very relaxing. No loud music or noisy arcades to distract you or make you feel like you are on a game show. There is a large parking lot right in front of the store that is free of charge. They do accept credit cards. I believe the hours are from 9am-9pm but do need to verify this as the hours are not listed in English. Best part about this store is that it is so easy to get to.
Directions: Turn left out the east gate and right at the first light next to the 7 Eleven. Navigate this narrow road and turn left at the first light you come to which is next to the Sukiya. Continue on this road through one stop light and then the store will be on your left. –Renée Booe July 2013