All You Need to Know About Christmas Shopping in Tokyo

By Ai Faithy Perez
November 26, 2015

It’s started. Halloween has come and gone and Christmas decorations and signs went up almost overnight, like Santa Clause was coming to town early. My thoughts automatically turn to the inevitable last-minute Christmas shopping—a mad dash runaround, stressing over whether or not I’ve forgotten something or someone. Perhaps I’m not alone in thinking that Christmas shopping ought to be less stressful. For those of us who are of the same opinion, there is a silver lining—planning ahead of the Christmas shopping hordes is possible, and even enjoyable, when armed with the right information.

I’ll be listing a few useful words and phrases to help in your shopping endeavors. And also, I’ll be listing a few great areas where you can do the deeds, while keeping your children entertained at the same time.

RH Kyle Hasegawa cropped

When you walk into any shop here in Japan, someone will probably shout irasshaimase (いらっしゃいませ) at you. Why they feel the need to shout at potential customers, I have no idea, but it means “welcome.”

Unless you are in Uniqlo, there is a good chance that no one in the whole shop will speak English. One of the braver shop attendants may approach with a nervous smile and a, “nanika osagashi deshouka?” (何かお探しでしょうか?), which literally means, “Are you looking for something?” If you are, and you don’t speak a word of Japanese, explaining what you need in English might be ok. They will try their best to accommodate you. If not, just say “daijoubu desu,” meaning “I’m good.”

OS by Dick Thomas Johnson cropped

Some other things you may hear are:

お客様のサイズを探し致しましょうか?  (Okyakusama no saizu o osagashi itashimashouka?)  Shall I look for that in your size?

こちらでよろしいでしょうか?  (Kochira de yoroshii deshouka?)  Is this one alright?

以上でよろしいでしょうか?  (Ijou de yoroshii deshouka?)  Is that all?

他に店内をご覧になりますか?  (Hokani tennai o goran ni narimasuka?)  Would you like to look around a little more?

Shibuya by Dick Thomas Johnson cropped

Some useful phrases:

おいくらでしょうか?  (Oikura desu ka?)  How much does it cost?

こちらのSはありますか?  (Kochira no S wa arimasuka?)  Do you have this in small?

こちらの色違いはありますか?  (Kochira no irochigai wa arimasuka?)  Do you have this in another color?

 試着できますか?  (Shichaku dekimasuka?)  Can I try it on?

これを見せてください。  (Kore o misete kudasai.)  Could I have a look at this one?

これを下さい。  (Kore o kudasai.)  I’ll take this.

これはなんですか?  (Kore wa nandesuka?)  What is this?

考えさせて下さい。  (Kangae sasete kudasai.)  I’d like to look around a little more.

ラッピングお願いできますか?  (Rappingu onegai dekimasuka?)  Do you do gift wrapping?

これをラッピングして下さい。  (Kore o rappu shite kudasai.)  Please wrap this one.

レシートをお願いします。  (Reshiito o onegaishimasu.)  Could I get a receipt?

Some malls and shops worth a visit:


Aqua City, Odaiba

Just a one-minute walk from Odaiba station, Aqua City has everything—from fireworks displays (all Saturdays in December, including boxing day, from 7 p.m.) to the more mundane stuff like GapKids. It’s child and pet friendly, with events and services such as Sony ExploraScience and stroller rentals. Aqua City appeals to all. Check out the website for more information.

Tokyo Dome City, Korakuen

Upon arrival, you may hear blood-curdling screams in the distance, but don’t be alarmed. Tokyo Dome City is half mall, half amusement park, with an 1,100-meter-long roller coaster and over a dozen rides and attractions for kids. Not as many shops as Aqua City, but the number of rides, restaurants and cafes more than makes up for it. Promise. More information here.

Solamachi by Dick Thomas Johnson cropped

Tokyo Solamachi, Oshiage

Tokyo SkyTree, the tallest tower in the world, stands 634 meters above a densely packed city that is home to around 300 shops and restaurants, an amazing mini aquarium and a planetarium. Great for kids, pets and Christmas shopping, and a lovely place to spend a day off. Read more about it here.

Happy early Christmas, and good luck!


Photos (top to bottom) by OiMax, Kyle Hasegawa, Dick Thomas Johnson (x2), Guilhem Vellut, and Dick Thomas Johnson.

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