Japan’s Bargain Sales
Bargain sales occur mostly in January and July to make room for the apparel and products for the upcoming season. If you are in the market for a new pair of shoes or clothes from a popular fashion brand, compare prices at the larger department stores. Note that department stores designate areas for significantly marked down products each day as well. There, you can buy great quality products for even cheaper.
If you are shopping for practical everyday goods, large supermarkets also throw bargain sales during the same period, so go take a look.
But the bonanza doesn’t stop there. Electronic shops too, drop their prices during this shopping mania season.
Outlet malls around the outskirts of Tokyo, also feature bargain sales, cutting prices from already low outlet prices. Usually outlet discounts range between 20%〜50% from the original retail value of is sold, but additional discounts are added during the special bargain sale season.
The period of sale depends on each store, and if shopping is on the top of your “to do” list when visiting Japan, best to come during the bargain season.
Bargain season: Early〜mid January; early〜end of July.
Exact sale period is announced a little more than 1 month ahead of time. If you don’t want to miss the sale season plan to go when the 1st sale in January begins.
Best way to shop a bargain sale at a department store:
In the city, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ginza, are the 3 major department store areas that hold bargain sales, which means you can attack several bargain sales in each area in a short amount of time.
Main bargain sales by area and department store:
Shinjuku area: Isetan, Odakyu, Takashimaya, Keio, Marui, Lumine, Subnade
Shibuya area: Tokyu, Seibu, Parco, Hikarie, 109, Laforet Harajuku
Ginza & Marunouchi area: Mitsukoshi, Matsuya, Printemps Ginza, Barneys New York, Daimaru
Below is a list of fashion malls and shopping centers with popular bargain sales (non-department stores):[caption id="attachment_13871" align="aligncenter" width="4656"] Photo Credit: Kakidai via Wikimedia Commons Lumine East Shinjuku Shopping Mall[/caption]
① Lumine [ルミネ]
Directly connected to Shinjuku station South Exit and West Exit is a shopping center building, Lumine 1, 2, and Est. All with a selection of bargains.
Various fashion brands in the building have a bargain sale called “check the bargain,” which is popular for holding the sale slightly later than department stores.
Slashing prices up to 80%, their “final check the bargain” happens in August and February of each year.[caption id="attachment_13870" align="aligncenter" width="663"] Photo Credit: subnade.co.jp Shinjuku Subnade Store[/caption]
② Shinjuku Subnade [新宿サブナード]
An underground fashion mall that is connected to Shinjuku station East Exit basement floor and spreads across from 1-chome (district)〜5-chome. Their “big bargain” lasts from 1〜2 weeks in July and January. Each store has their own on sale goods.
There are more shops than department stores. The mall is filled with many sports brands all inclusive in the bargain sale. You can easily compare prices of golf wear and sports shoes.[caption id="attachment_13872" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson via VisualHunt Shibuya Hikarie Building[/caption]
③ Shibuya Hikarie [渋谷ヒカリエ]
Hikarie is connected to Shibuya station. The fashion complex conducts bargain sales in July and January. Popular brands that don’t usually have a branch shop partake in this special bargain.[caption id="attachment_13507" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo Credit: DocChewbacca via flickr Venus Fort Shopping Mall in Odaiba[/caption]
④ Aqua City & Venus Fort (Odaiba)
Aqua City & Venus Fort are located in Odaiba. They are both shopping centers packed with entertainment activities.
Their winter bargain sale is a long one, from Christmas season to early January. Up to 80% off on products is the main draw for people and most big name brands offer a bargain sale, having said that, it is unusually not so crowded. Relatively known as a “secret spot” among bargain hunters.
Famous bargain sales by large supermarkets:[caption id="attachment_13874" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Photo Credit: Abasaa via Wikimedia Commons Aeon Mall[/caption]
Ito Yokado・Aeon Mall・Lalaport (Toyosu area)
※From clothing, bags, shoes, to consumer electronics and general, everyday items, the selection is large.
Outlet malls with bargain sales (around Tokyo suburbs)[caption id="attachment_13860" align="aligncenter" width="920"] Photo Credit: 3.bp.blogspot.com Mitsui Outlet Iruma[/caption]
① Mitsui Outlet Park (Chiba/Saitama)
② Gotemba Premium Outlet (Shizuoka)
Now, in New Years, the first days of business, January 1st and 2nd, bags of goodies called “fukubukuro” are sold all at once at department stores, malls, and shops around the country.
What is “fukubukuro?” It’s a bag/paper bag of stuff that you cannot see what is inside, but packed in these bags are various products that equate to more than what the bag sells for. If you’re lucky, your bag will have a luxury item!
For example, you buy a bag that sells for 10,000 yen, but the total value of things inside (anything from clothing to general goods) equate to around 30,000 yen〜50,000 yen.
Gift bags vary in prices as well. The cheap ones go for a couple thousand yen; luxury fukubukoro’s can reach 10,000,000 yen.
But it’s not just department stores; many street stores to smaller shops all try to carry the luck of the New Year by selling goods. Try your luck and why not buy a bag?
Keep in mind that many people target the limited number of department store gift bags, so if you’re gonna have any chance at grabbing one, go well before doors open.
Extra: The large big box electronics and appliance retailers, Yodobashi, Bic Camera, etc, also host popular grab bags.
Not to mention that many brands have bargain sales around January and July at their flagship stores. If there is a particular brand you want or like, be sure to head there.
Just remember, however, some company owned stores often invite their VIP or frequent guests first for a special bargain or family sale. Only after this period does the general public have access to the sale.
Remember, not every product will be discounted and that most of the good stuff will be sold out on the first day of sale.
Hermes and Louis Vuitton type brands unfortunately do not participate in bargain sales. Neither do shops in department stores, nor at their flagships.