The Lower East Nine Hostel: High-Rated Hostel that Doesn’t Meet My Expectations

HIGH-RANKED HOSTEL IN AFFORDABLE RATE Knowing that capsule hotels in Kyoto are more expensive than those in Tokyo, I decided to stay in The Lower East Nine Hostel. If I could save about $50 for 2 nights compared to capsule hotels (in Kyoto), why not? I tried my best to control our budget on where to save and splurge. … Continue reading The Lower East Nine Hostel: High-Rated Hostel that Doesn’t Meet My Expectations

Pringga’s Grill Restaurant, Ubud: Terrible Service and Inverted Racism

The night was still young. Although my sis, my brother-in-law and I were not about to party all night long till the morning light, we were not ready to sleep like a baby at 8 pm either. After all, night life in Bali is something everyone should experience, at least once. The intensity of crowds at night … Continue reading Pringga’s Grill Restaurant, Ubud: Terrible Service and Inverted Racism

Interesting Fact about Christmas Tree Display in Tallinn Old Town Square

First of all, Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it! Seeing and speaking about beautifully decorated Christmas trees in shopping malls, main squares and the rest of public places, it reminds me of a visit to Tallinn in 2012. During the trip, my family and I took a day tour highlighting one of the most preserved … Continue reading Interesting Fact about Christmas Tree Display in Tallinn Old Town Square

Less Touristic UNESCO Heritage Site in Japan: Suganuma Village

HOW I ACTUALLY ENDED UP IN SUGANUMA VILLAGE As instructed by an official at Takayama Station that from Shirakawa-go, we needed to transit at Gokayama Suganuma Station to catch an intercity bus to Kanazawa. She circled the name “Gokayama Suganuma Station” on the bus schedule she passed me. My friend Olie and I arrived at Gokayama Suganuma Station at 11 o’clock. It was … Continue reading Less Touristic UNESCO Heritage Site in Japan: Suganuma Village

Asakusa in Pictures: Outside Sensoji Temple after 5 PM

Situated in Taito, Asakusa was an entertainment district from Edo Period until about 1945 when the are was heavily damaged because of the bombings in the end of World War II. The Buddhist Temple dedicated to Bodhisattva Kannon, or Goddess of Mercy, built in 628 and the landmark of Asakusa, Sensoji Temple, was successfully restored after the war … Continue reading Asakusa in Pictures: Outside Sensoji Temple after 5 PM

First Time Shopping in Japan: Uniqlo Ginza

Uniqlo is a Japanese casual and affordable fashion brand for women, men and kids established in 1949 in Ube, Yamaguchi. Since 2005, Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. has been the parent company of Uniqlo, alongside with J Brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers, G.U., Princesse Tam-Tam, and Theory. Nowadays, there are more than 1400 stores worldwide, including in Indonesia since 2013 and I’ve become a fan ever since.

Thus, I’m so excited when I heard there’s a 12-storey Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza area, although I wasn’t sure I would have time to search for it on purpose. Anyways, there are a lot of Uniqlo stores in Jakarta, Indonesia, already and I initially didn’t see the point of visiting another one in Tokyo. Until I realized that Ginza Bay Hotel, the capsule hotel where I stayed, was just 10 minutes walking distance from that store.

Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza, on Chuo Dori St, is 9th branch and the largest Uniqlo store in the world opening since March 16, 2012. The 12-storey building stands impressively, especially at night time, with its see-through façade and vibrant lighting from top to toe. In fact, it’s the brightest building I saw of all in the area.

Not to mention the eye-catching visual merchandising with giant posters showing a glimpse of mood board of seasonal collections on the first 2 floors and rotating mannequins doing Uniqlo runaways starting from the 3rd floor and up.

uniqlo ginza tokyo

The see-through concept continues inside, including the transparent elevator and its tube in the middle, as well as a group of mannequins placed inside a secluded glass room. The ceilings are covered with mirrors, whose reflections are able to “visually” widen the store interior. Each floor represents one type of collection only, e.g. Women’s Casual on the 5th floor or Kid’s and Baby’s on the 6th floor.

My favourite part is on the 11th floor, a special section for UT collections. I love the lighted glass cabinets covering both sides of the wall, displaying rows of hanged graphic t-shirts offering the latest themes for certain period of time, such as Disney, Star Wars, Lego, etc. LED boards placed above the cabinets remind me of those at Times Square New York that usually report stock market updates.

It felt like visiting a modern art museum in a dynamic atmosphere, representing past-paced and practical life of young people. Only that it offers quality clothing with value for money, not masterpieces only the rich and famous can afford.

uniqlo ginza tokyo

Apart from the modern-edgy looking store, perhaps there’s one question here. Is it still worth to visit if there are already Uniqlo stores in your city (in my case, in Jakarta)? I admit, in terms of the collection availability, Uniqlo flagship stores in Jakarta are very complete, including sunglasses and accessories. The only thing Jakarta stores don’t have are appliqués for kid’s wear, from alphabets to Moomin. Though they are cute, I don’t really sweat about their absence.

mickey mouse uniqlo ginza tokyo
Mickey Mouse statue on 11th floor

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at the price tags. Remember that it does not include 8% VAT. I checked the price of the navy blue Eyelet Shorts, one of my favourite Uniqlo collections I’ve been spotting since its launch in Jakarta. I was waiting for the special offer that had not come yet until I left for Japan. It was ¥ 2,990 (approximately Rp. 360,000 or $ 30) before tax.

I couldn’t recall the price of the shorts in Jakarta, but I took a chance of buying one. I had a feeling that it wasn’t more expensive than that in Jakarta. After tax, I paid ¥ 3,225 ($ 29 or Rp. 390,000). Returning to Jakarta, I was very curious about how much my shorts sold in my hometown. It turned out that it cost Rp. 599,000 ($ 50). Wow!

I heard that Uniqlo stores in United Kingdom and Australia are more expensive than those in Jakarta. So, imagine how cheap they are in Japan! I wish I bought more Uniqlo stuffs there!

Moreover, if you spend over ¥ 10,000 ($ 90 or Rp. 1,200,000), you can claim for a tax refund. The forms are provided at the cashier and you can ask them for more information. As long as I remember, the staffs’ English proficiency is pretty good.

eyelet shorts

Another unique experience I got was the manner in the fitting room, where shoes and sandals are not allowed to use inside, just like entering any ryokans in the country. At first, it felt a bit troublesome as I needed to untie my shoestrings every time I wanted to try any clothes and tied them back when I left the room.

But soon, I started to feel comfortable. There was no trace of muds, soil, shoe sole prints whatsoever. To be honest, it was my first time not to worry about my trousers and some other belongings getting dirty after they drop on the floor. So, yeah. I truly appreciate this kind of particular culture and I wish fashion stores outside Japan do the same thing.

uniqlo ginza tokyo

Finally, the answer is a big YES to the question, “Is Uniqlo Ginza still worth to visit if there are already Uniqlo stores in your city?”

Not only do the collections cost less compared to those in Jakarta (and probably in your city), but it also proves that modern and casual fashion can look very tempting and more upscale (without breaking your bank account) when displayed attractively, maintaining excellence cleanliness inside and out, including the shoes-free fitting rooms.

Continue reading “First Time Shopping in Japan: Uniqlo Ginza”

Konami Restaurant: Patience Dining Near Lake Kawaguchiko

Suppose you stay on a hilly location like Mizuno Hotel  or are still around Lake Kawaguchiko after dark doesn’t mean there’s no place for dinner. Fortunately, there are several restaurants outside the hotel area serving good local food in affordable price. Five minutes walking distance from the hotel, we found Konami Restaurant. The restaurant has … Continue reading Konami Restaurant: Patience Dining Near Lake Kawaguchiko