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What’s a trip to Osaka without splurging a little on shopping? One of the best things about shopping in Japan is that there is something for every budget and every need. There are so many interesting finds that just browsing through is usually an activity on its own for tourists. Today, I’m sharing my Osaka Shopping Haul (with price information) for you! The last time I did a shopping haul was during our trip to Seoul and found it to be quite a popular post.
Daiso is my absolute favorite dollar store. Even when I’m at home in Manila, I tend to stop by Daiso whenever I can. I love how the items are of good quality and don’t look cheap. They also carry a lot of character products like Hello Kitty, My Melody, Disney Princesses, and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Most items are sold at ￥100 + 8% tax (￥108) unless otherwise indicated.
You can find a lot of storage baskets, arts and crafts, kitchen accessories and even home improvement tools in Daiso. Things you never thought you need, when you see it in Daiso, you’ll suddenly realize why you never have it in your life. I like Daiso stores in Japan and Korea because they are much bigger, hence they carry more items.
CAN★DO, SERIA AND 3COINS
Can★Do and Seria are dollar stores that are also quite popular in Japan. They pretty much carry the same stuff that you can find at Daiso. We chanced upon the Can★Do Discount store at the top floor of the Bic Camera building in Namba, the same floor where they sell discounted Bic Camera products. Similar in concept is 3coins where the minimum price for items is at ￥300 + 8% tax and carry a different mix of higher quality goods.
Don Quijote is the ultimate one-stop discount store. Here you’ll find absolutely anything you need. I once bought a chef’s knife in Don Quijote that I have been using every day for years now but still as sharp as when I first unboxed it. And if you are a chocolate or more specifically, a KitKat-lover, you’ll find every imaginable flavor in Don Quijote. They also have a wide selection of Japanese skincare and beauty products and some branches even carry a selection of discounted luxury brand items. What’s great about Don Quijote is that they offer tax-free shopping for tourists as long as your purchases are worth ￥5,000 or more. We usually stop by Don Quijote for souvenir shopping because it’s just more convenient since most of their stores close really late or are open 24 hours.
You can tell by now that the Japanese like their stores to be a one-stop-shop for everything. Bic Camera is no different but what sets it apart is the great selection of home furnishings and appliances. And they usually have some sort of discount or promotion going on, this is on top of the tax-free shopping. My sister and I once scored two Nespresso machines for only ￥11,000 (there was a buy 1 take 1 promo at that time), that we still use today. Imagine, that’s only like $51 for each Nespresso Machine!
JAPANESE PHARMACIES AND DRUGSTORES
Pharmacies and drugstores are a great place to search and buy medicine, and beauty and skincare products. Two of the most popular drugstores are Daikoku Drug and Matsumoto Kiyoshi which have branches all over Japan. They have a wide range of beauty products and are at times cheaper than anywhere else.
Just a few notes about tax-free shopping for foreigners in Japan. Large retailers, department stores and now even small shops offer tax-free shopping to foreigners who are temporarily staying in Japan (less than 6 months). They may claim a refund of their 8% sales/consumption tax for purchases of over ￥5,000 (excluding tax). Your purchases are divided into two categories: general goods and consumables. You cannot combine both types of purchases to claim the tax exemption. Instead, your general goods and consumables would both have to meet the minimum purchase required of ￥5,000 in order to be tax-free. Starting October 1, 2019, the consumption tax will increase to 10%.
Compared to other countries wherein you’ll have to claim the tax refund at the airport, Japan had made the process simpler by letting the stores apply the tax refund during purchase. But whether it will be processed during payment or at a separate tax counter will depend on the store’s policy. In Bic Camera and Uniqlo, your sales tax will be deducted right away at the counter when you pay for the goods. You’ll have to go to their designated tax-free cashier in order to get this done. In Don Quijote, you’ll have to pay the total purchase plus tax, then go to their tax counter to get your money back. In all scenarios, you’ll have to present your passport (not just a photocopy), so they can verify your entry stamp to Japan and they will staple a document called Record of Purchase. No passport, no tax-free shopping. It’s that simple. You have to claim it on the same day you made the purchase. Your Record of Purchase will need to be surrendered when you get to the airport before you fly out of Japan. The tax counter is behind the security and baggage check. The process is pretty simple, just present your passport to the customs officer and he or she will detach the receipts from your passport and place it in a filing basket. Then you’re good to go!
In certain cases, especially if you’ve made luxury purchases, you may need to show the items to the customs officer upon departure. Some say that it’s not necessary but I’ve seen first-hand a couple of travelers who were asked to show their goods so better carry your tax-free purchases in your hand luggage. There are, of course, certain cases when it’s not possible for you to carry them all (liquid or weight restrictions) in your hand luggage. Just be prepared to explain to the customs officer that you have packed it in in your checked baggage and for what purpose did you buy the goods.
Discount or 100 Yen stores generally do not offer tax-free shopping. Stores that do offer tax-free shopping will have signage that says Japan Tax-free Shop.
My Osaka Japan Shopping Haul
1. Pastry Shop, Food Truck and Flower Shop 3D Paper Puzzle
I saw these little cute 3D Paper Puzzle (￥108) when I stumbled upon the arts and crafts section of Daiso. My daughter is still too young to build it herself but she did help me take out the parts and afterward, she played with the little town that we built for a while before moving on to her much sturdier toys.
It’s very easy to assemble, the end of each piece is numbered so you know which end goes where. I especially liked the food truck, it’s so cute! You can buy similar or even more intricate 3D paper/wooden puzzles online. This is a perfect gift for crafters! Check my recommendations below
2. Clothes Shop, Kitchen, Cafe and Bedroom 3D Paper Puzzle
Also from Daiso, these are pretty much the same 3D Paper Puzzle (￥108) like the ones above, the only difference is the packaging. This came in a box with a separate sheet for the instructions. If I remember correctly, there are a few more variants but these were the only ones available at that time. I saw online a Traditional Japanese home puzzle which I would love to add to this little 3D puzzle town collection!
I’ll be posting photos of the assembled 3D Paper Puzzles soon, so be sure to come back and check that out!
3. Coloring Books
Also in the arts and crafts section of Daiso are these Coloring Books (￥108). My little girl loves to color so I tend to pick up a bunch of coloring books whenever I can. These are also the perfect travel activity for your globe-trotting tots! And for just about a dollar each, these are a really great bargain!
4. Other Discount Store Finds
Even if you’re not a fan, you’re bound to pick up a Hello Kitty item when in Japan. There is a Sanrio store in the middle of the Shinsaibashi shopping strip for the ultimate Hello Kitty fans but for bargain hunters, 100 Yen stores are the perfect place to hoard on Sanrio items! My Hello Kitty haul is a Whiteboard (+ marker), a lunch bag, a small accessories pouch, an earphone case, a small bowl and three of those plastic food wrappers which I initially thought were stickers. All of these costs ￥108 each and can be found either in Daiso or Can★Do. I bought these stuff for my daughter and some were given as prizes during her birthday party!
3Coins is another discount store that’s popular in Japan but instead of everything priced at ￥100, the minimum price of its products is at ￥300, hence the name 3 coins. It’s still obviously a good deal as some of the items that they sell are more stylish than the ones from 100 Yen stores. I picked up a Canvas Tote bag that was on sale and for only ￥150. It’s simple and easy to stuff my things when I’m running my errands.
5. Kids Lunch Box and Eating Utensils
Sanrio is not the only trademarked items that you’ll find inside Daiso. They also carry some Sesame Street items like this lunch/food containers. I also picked up a small Sanrio drinking cup and a cutlery set, which is perfect for traveling with kids. I got an earphone case for me and my sister. It’s big enough to hold not only my earphone adapter but my trusty iPod shuffle as well. And since I always carry a pack of baby wipes with all the time, why not make it even cuter with this Elmo wet wipe lid. Except for the cutlery set which costs ￥162, everything else was at ￥108 each.
6. Assorted Snacks, Candies and Chocolates
I tend to pick up a lot of Japanese snacks and candies as we go around Japan. There’s just so many that I want to try and they are pretty cheap. It’s also great to stock up on these treats and get them as souvenirs.
Buy online: Mentos Caramel and Chocolate | Hello Kitty Lollipop Candy | Meiji Hello Panda | Morinaga Caramel Milk | Jagabee Potato Sticks | Alfort Bourbon Chocolate Biscuit | Japanese Fruit Mochi | Meiji Black Chocolate | Black Thunder Choco Bar | Bonchi Rice Crackers
7. Meltykiss Green Tea and Dark Chocolate
Meltykiss is like a cheap alternative to Royce’ Nama Chocolate. But if you know Japanese products, cheap products don’t necessarily equate to low quality. A box of Royce’s Nama Chocolate costs ￥720. And these little babies? They’re only ￥198 (+8% tax) each box! You can find Meltykiss everywhere from groceries to convenience stores. These two boxes I bought from Don Quijote.
8. KitKat Chocolate
KitKat is a very popular souvenir choice for tourists especially with its unbelievable assortment of flavors, many of which are exclusive to the Japanese market. What I bought was (not even) the tip of the KitKat iceberg. The Matcha flavor alone has many sub-varieties like the popular KitKat Uji Matcha and the one pictured above, KitKat Otona no Amasa Dark Matcha. There’s a regular version of the latter too so no matter what your preference is, you’re bound to find one that you would really like.
There are also seasonal flavors like Sakura and some unimaginable like Wasabi or Apple Vinegar. The more common variety is usually packaged in these packs that hold 12 to 14 individually wrapped mini KitKats but for the special flavors, it’s usually in a box. Prices vary.
Truth be told, I’m not a big KitKat eater but I have a soft spot for their Matcha flavor, and basically, anything that’s dark or mint-flavored. Oh, I love the Strawberry Cheesecake variety too but must have missed it when I was shopping.
9. Royal Milk Tea
Everywhere you go in Japan, there’s a vending machine (or two) almost at every corner. And they don’t only dispense drinks, you can get snacks, fast food, and even some mystery packages.
At almost every beverage vending machine, there’s bound to be a milk tea in the selection. Royal Milk Tea is one of the most popular brands so I was very happy to see this instant version when we were in Bic Camera. The taste is very close to the ready to drink bottled version.
Buy online: Nitto Kocha Instant Royal Milk Tea
10. Kose Clear Turn Skin Mask (50 pcs)
I’ve read tons of great reviews about Kose Clear Turn Masks so imagine my surprise when I saw this at Daikoku Drugstore for only ￥948! Instead of individually packaged face masks, this resealable pack contains 50 face masks with enough essence to soak each piece. It’s a really great bargain and I guess you could say that it is earth-friendly since you don’t have to throw away any packaging every time you feel the need of using a face mask.
Kose Clear Turn Mask has many variants. I only purchased two and have only opened the Kose Clear Turn Plumping Mask to try because I still have a lot of face masks leftover from my Seoul trip last year.
Putting on a face mask is my favorite skincare ritual and I do it at least three times a week. I’ve used the Kose Clear Turn Plumping Mask several times already and I must say I’m impressed. My skin is so much softer and well-hydrated after. It’s doesn’t irritate my skin or cause any sting (which some other brands do). The resealable pack has 50 face masks inside. Just pull out a sheet, put it on your face and make sure to reseal the bag tightly so as not to dry out the essence. The essence quantity is just right to hydrate your face for 15 to 20 minutes.
I guess this is the disadvantage of using bulk sheet masks. Some may find the essence to be not enough. Personally, I don’t mind because 15 minutes is enough time for me to put on a mask and if I ever feel the need to hydrate my skin more, I use whatever excess mask essence that I saved up in a small bottle to drench the sheet again.
I’m excited to try the other variants of Kose Face Masks but I’ll hold off for now until at least I start using my other pack. This is definitely going to be my regular face mask since it’s so affordable and convenient to use.
11. Shiseido Tsubaki Botanical Moist Shampoo
Another popular Japanese brand is Shiseido and their Tsubaki Shampoo and Conditioner line have also been receiving rave reviews. The Tsubaki Botanical range comes in three variants: Red for Moist and Manageable, Blue for Smooth and Silky, and Pink for Airy and Light. Instead of a bottle, I picked up a refill pouch instead. My hair tends to be picky with hair products and I usually switch over the brand that I use every two washes. I currently have at least three brands that I use alternately to wash my hair.
I have used this several times and so far I’m liking it. My hair is not that frizz even if I let it air dry (which I usually do when I’m only staying at home) and it’s so much smoother. The scent is not overpowering and does not linger on that much which some people prefer but I personally like scented shampoos. I still feel that I may need to occasionally switch my shampoo brands though or maybe I should try the Smooth variant instead.
12. Starbucks Tumbler (Osaka)
I’ve started a Starbucks City Tumbler Collection a while back, and I picked this up at the very busy Starbucks Tsutaya Ebisubashi branch in Dotonbori. This costs ￥2,000 plus ￥160 (tax). It’s the perfect size for my morning cup of joe.
13. Jins 40% Screen Blue Light Glasses and Disney’s Belle Hard Case
This has been on my wishlist for a while. I have 20/20 vision but it’s always a good idea to protect my eyes as early as possible especially since I spend a good amount of time on my laptop or on the phone for work. There were instances when my eyes were just too strained and will either twitch or feel irritated. The Jins Screen Glasses reduces the blue light emitted from a digital screen. There are options to pick up a pair that blocks 25%, 40% or 60% (recommended to use at night) of blue light. I got myself a Jins Screen Blue Light Glasses (40% Cut) for only ￥5,000.
Jins is a very popular Japanese eyewear brand and there’s a store also in the Shinsaibashi shopping street. Be sure to check them out when you’re in Japan and pick up a pair or two! You can also have your prescription glasses ordered and picked up within an hour. And yes, it’s tax-free for tourists as long as your purchase exceeds ￥5,000.
The Jins Screen Glasses doesn’t come with a hard case (just the soft pouch) but luckily, I found this Disney case in Daiso for only ￥108!
14. Royce’ Nama Chocolate
Lastly, we picked up three boxes of Royce’ Nama Chocolate at the Kansai International Airport Duty-Free for ￥720 each box. There were many flavors available but the ones I picked up were Ghana Bitter (Dark), Au Lait (Milk) and Maccha (Green Tea). My personal favorite was the Ghana Bitter. The darker the chocolate, the better.
Buy online: Royce Nama Chocolate Green Tea Hojicha
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