Sendai is one of the biggest cities in Tohoku area, the north east part of Japan. This is the tourist attraction of this region and often crowded with foreign tourists as well as foreigners who come here to study and work. Because there are a large number of famous stores, restaurants and shopping malls located in this city, Sendai is also a wonderful dreamland and ideal destination for the shopaholic. Based on my real experiences after living here for several months, I would like to share hereafter some useful tips for those who desire saving costs of living as well as enjoying shopping pleasure.
The first thing you need to know when arriving Japan is where the nearest 100 yen store is located and then doing a “sweep” to buy the items you need for daily life. Daiso, Seria and Cando are chains of stores major in this kind of sellers. You can find many Daiso stores on Clis Road and some Seria and Cando ones in shopping malls around Sendai station.
100 yen DAISO store on the Clis Road
In Sendai, you can find a lot of brands and fashion stores centralizedly located around Sendai station with stylist and various designs suitable for your preferences as well as your tastes. Secondly, the tip to acquire fashionable clothings at reasonable prices is knowledege about the brands that offer you all of the above requirements. Hereafter are recommendations based on my experiences.
If you are in favor of simple designs which are easy to coordinate and have gentle style for women, HONEYS brand and INGNI brand are the brands I highly recommend to you. There are a lot of clothes for either working or going out that you can wear for many seasons without being afraid of being out of fashion. The price for each item here is very reasonable, usually ranging from 2000 Yen to 7000 Yen. You can find one HONEYS store on the 3rd floor of S-Pal building and one of the INGNI stores on the 4th floor of PARCO building both of which are next to Sendai station platform.
An INGNI store on the 4th floor of PARCO building
HONEYS store on the 3rd floor of S-PAL building
I am sure that all of you know UNIQLO, the Japanese brand popular worldwide. There is one branch located in AER building near Sendai station.
UNIQLO on the 3rd floor of AER building
And here is G.U – a cheep fashion subsidary of UNIQLO. In sale seasons such as Christmas season, its birthday celebration and New Year Clearance, you can buy a variety of products at the prices ranging only from 100 to 500 Yen. What a bargain!
GU store in a buiding opposite Sendai station (on the 2nd floor)
Picture taken in front of PARCO 2 buiding
For those who want to get a new pair of shoes, ABC – MART and ASBEE are good choices for you. Both of them are very famous shoes sellers for men and women in Japan. They mainly sell many kinds of sport shoes, sneakers, casual shoes and some kinds of fashion shoes for women of famous brands all over the world. The price for each product is also various, from 3000 Yen to 20000 Yen and their quality is really good at high standard. You can find many stores of these brands on the Clis Road as well as in some shopping malls near Sendai station.
ABC – Mart
ASBEE shoes store (you also can find a 100 yen store named Seria on the 2nd floor)
3COINS (where all the products are at 300 Yen) and CLAIRE’S are ideal destinations for girls who want to find cute and fashionable accessories at very reasonable prices. There is one 3COINS shop and two CLAIRE’S shops on the Clis Road.
The third tip is making sure that you come to these stores and shopping malls during their sale seasons. In Japan, sale seasons take place several times throughout a year. According to my own experiences as well as friends living in Sendai for a long time, the best months for shopaholics are January, August and December. January is when the sale activities welcoming the New Year happen. You can buy winter items at good discounts compared to other kinds of products. Especially, Fukubukuro, also called lucky bags, are sold almost everywhere and offer customers opportunities to purchase multiple items from many famous brands at ultra-low prices. Meanwhile, August is the best time to shop for fashion items and summer’s discounted products. And of course, December is the best month to buy winter clothes as well as household goods. Not only fashion items and household ones but dozens of other products are also discounted during this time, and some stores start a very good sales season even before Christmas.
To save food costs when living in Sendai, the fourth tip I would like to recommend is “Please shop wisely”. If you do not mind, please buy imported foods ((輸入 食品 – yuunyuu shokuhin), such as meat from the US or Australia, or bananas from Philippines. Avoid buying Japan’s domestic products except frozen ones because in fact these products tend to be more expensive. You can find these products in Gyomu supa supermarket on the B1 floor in TIC building near Jozen-ji dori road. You can even buy a box of 2kg Meiji ice cream with over 500 Yen or 2kg of frozen chicken’s legs at an extraodinarily cheep price – only 643 Yen (included tax). Seiyu supermarket is also an ideal place to buy good-quality foods if you come here at certain times within a day. At about 5 to 6pm everyday, almost all of the fresh meat that is nearly expired (usually on the next day) is discounted for 25% or even 50%. You can also find many nearly out of date diary products, bread and other kinds of food at discount counter here as a bargain.
A Gyomu supa supermarket near Ichibanchou street
Last but not least, I would like to suggest that always consider buying second-hand stuffs and items. You can also find many types of used products which are still in good condition in the chain of Bookoff Super Bazaar stores or fleamarket in Sendai. Bookoff branch, located on the 7th floor of Sakurano Building near Sendai station, allows you to buy any book and DVD that you want at cheaper prices than usual. On the 6th floor of this building is also a store of this chain which sells used clothes, shoes, bags and accessories from a variety of brandnames from budget to luxury ones at very cheap prices. Mode off is also a second-hand clothes store and located on the second floor of a drugstore on the Clis Road near AEON mall. And if you are interested in second-hand electronics products, you can drop by ソフマップ store to get items with good guarantee and customer service. My friend was replaced his Kindle bought there with another used Kindle when there were some technical problems happening to his previous one. How amazing the service in Japan is!
MODE OFF (used-clothes) located on the 2nd floor of a drug strore on Clis Road
Softmap ( ソフマップ) store located on the 1st floor in the same building with GU
Sakurano Building which has BOOK OFF on the 7th and used clothes store on the 6th floor
In conclusion, the above tips are all I want to share with you, especially foreigners who live in Sendai city. I hope these tips will be useful for you to really enjoy the pleasure of shopping as well as saving cost of living when decide to settle right here, in this lovely and wonderful city of Japan.