Information: Tokyu Hands, Shinjuku Store| Address: Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo| Opening Hours: 10:00 to 9:00pm| Website (in English) http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html?lang=en
A trip to Tokyo would not be complete, unless you visit Tokyu Hands. It’s so hard to describe, but it’s basically an emporium of Japanese ingenuity, filled with gadgets, lotions and potions, and everything you never knew you wanted until now. Tokyu Hands is definitely not just a tourist destination, because I observe that Japanese people shop there too. The stationery floor is usually filled with office workers and teenagers (I imagine the stationery section must be one of the most satisfying forms of retail therapy after a long day of work or school).
The branch that I visited is the Shinjuku store, located in the Times Square Building, and it’s just a two minute walk from the New South Exit of JR Shinjuku Station. If you only have time for one visit, I would advise allocating at least one to two hours here, because the store is 8 floors. It’s sensory overload, but in the best, possible way. My advice is to shop there about an hour to an hour and a half before the store closes at 9:00 pm. The crowds have thinned out considerably by then, so you have plenty of room to browse, and there is hardly a wait for the cashier, or at the tax return counter downstairs.
During my first visit to Tokyo Hands a few years ago, I was completely overwhelmed. I think I may have had a mini-melt down in the belt buckle/ leather laces section (why was I there again?!). Since I was staying nearby, I divided up my visits over the 5 days that I was there, which made the experience much more productive (and rational). I only zeroed in on the items that I was especially interested in: beauty and cosmetics (3rd floor ) stationery (8th floor) , and kitchenware (4rth floor) and just limited my browsing to those three floors. For clarity purposes, I will divide the coverage of my Tokyu Hands experience into two posts: stationery and kitchen gadgets