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.

And finally, our finds: Undercover 2002 “witch’s cell division” skirt for Rebecca, and Yasuyuki Ishii lucky pack, including leather jacket, for Samuel.

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…

Tagged with →  
Share →

14 Responses to Fashionistas Explore the Tokyo New Year Sales

  1. Sarah says:

    Siiiigh! Oh to do Laforet again. I’d stay at a hotel closer so I wouldn’t have to do a 1AM taxi cab ride…

  2. Rebecca says:

    @ Sarah – Woah, that’s brave! 😉

  3. naominnie says:

    I was one of the ones queuing under 109 >.< Day 1 of sales at 109 was hands down the most terrifying experience I've had in Japan so far. But I got one of the coveted d.i.a fukubukuro so it was worth the madness.

  4. Wim's says:

    What what what ? Ishii Yasuyuki’s shop sells lucky pack ? How cool is that ! 😀

  5. Samuel says:

    @ Wim’s

    I can tell you how cool – VERY!

    Without blowing their cover, I got a guy who works there to alude to which ones I might be best off picking… Hence why I am now the owner of the awesome jacket above, gorgeous leather sandals, snake skin key holder, two tops and even a towel! All for less than the price of a couple of t-shirts would normally cost.

    But there are only a couple of brands that I would risk a lucky pack from. This time it was only Yasuyuki Ishii’s that tempted me seeing as he has been on such a roll of late.

  6. Wim's says:

    Since Yasuyuki Ishii is my favorite designer ever, I would love get something for a very good price but the size remains as problem. I am L/XL Japanese size-wearer and I’ve seen only M-size lucky pack…

  7. Wim's says:

    Also, I’ve seen a Gareth Pugh’s jacket with 50% off but it was still 73,000 yens. *sigh*

  8. Samuel says:

    @ Wim’s

    Glad to hear you are a fan. Along with Share Spirit, KMRii and 14th Addiction it is easily one of my favorite Japanese brands too. I mostly wear a Japanese S, but I do have one classic YI jacket in L because I wanted to to be nice and oversized. If you are in Tokyo then I think Space (main, not annex) has a great vest in L now on sale…

    Oh and a massive coincidence that my other main purchase in the sale was a Gareth Pugh floor length coat, but that was a total bargain!


  9. Wim's says:


    Thank for the response. I’m in Tokyo for one year (at least) from September. Can you give me the adress of Space ? Thanks.

  10. Samuel says:

    @ Wim’s

    Well enjoy your time here, and I am sure you are going to take to it. Space has now re-branded to Brand Collect and can be found here:



  11. Kate B says:

    Love the Undercover skirt. I’ve never braved Laforet for NY sales. The summer sales are bonkers enough. Being back in the UK for NY means that I missed out on the sales this time but I’ll be looking forward to next years. Thanks for the post!


  12. Wim's says:


    Thank you ! I’ll definitly go there and take a look.

  13. Rebecca says:

    @ naominnie – Wow, you’re brave! I hope you got what you wanted from d.i.a 🙂

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Kate B – Hey, great to hear from you! Yeah, I’m brave but I’m not that brave – it was very much every (wo)man for himself in there, pointy elbows and handbags at dawn. 😉

    I hope you had a great time being back in the UK, and ate a vast amount of roast potatoes too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *