Happy New Year for many people in Tokyo means one thing: happy new clothes!
Yes, sale season is upon us, and all over the city men and women are lining up for hours to grab a bargain or two. Shibuya’s iconic 109 department store opened at an eye-watering 6.45am yesterday as the queues outside the building were already getting out of hand, and you can bet that by 7am clusters of girls were already swapping items from the brands’ lucky packs (fukubukuro 福袋) that weren’t quite to taste.
Tokyo Telephone popped along to snap a few photos in both Shibuya and Harajuku, and we might have even come away with a couple of items for ourselves – before you ask, no we didn’t make it inside 109: I think we’ll leave that for the brave, foolhardy and those several years younger than your aged writers…
Security outside a side entrance. You can just see that inside the departement store was being tightly managed, no unruly crowds, just lots of excited teens.
Rushing to join the long lines? (Queueing was going on underground by the time we arrived)
Front of the building: bemused security guards corral would-be shoppers.
(I had to stand on the edge of a flowerbed to grab these photos, goodness knows what the guards thought of me!)
Mens 109 – suitably naff graphics.
Go ape indeed! Bape still attracts the streetwear gang, a noticeably older crowd than at 109.
More security outside WC in Shibuya – the line stretched right down to the main road. (Also please note the Kuma-tan lanterns, cute!)
Takeshita doori looking rather busy…
…which is why we prefer to take the backstreets whenever possible.
More crowds outside La Foret.
Lovely new year decoration.
A quick shot of Meiji shrine, also incredibly busy and not the wonderfully calming place that it usually is.
If sale season is anything to go by, then the Japanese retail market doesn’t have too much to worry about. The mood here in Tokyo was bright, and we saw countless people laden down with countless bags – especially popular seemed to be Cecil McBee, Tutuha and Garula – and it felt like pretty much everyone was out for a sale bargain and a good time too. A great start to 2012!
If you’re interested in some sale action in Tokyo, then I’d suggest getting there early, having a good idea of which brand you prefer, and definitely wearing comfy shoes! Happy shopping, and of course do let us know of any good deals you’ve found…