Across the street from Shiseido The Ginza is Shiseido Parlour, the original building of where the company was founded. Shiseido Parlour is an old-timey style confectionery shop on the ground level with Faro, an Italian restaurant, cafe, penthouse bar and banquet hall on the upper levels. You’ll naturally gravitate towards the glossy, dark red exterior of the building and be greeted by giant roses made out of lipstick bullets! Half the reason you come to Japan is for the food and there are quite a few snacks you can buy to bring back home or dine-in to enjoy the ambiance of Ginza’s high-class culture.
One of the first brands I associated with Asian beauty is Shiseido as it was my mother’s preferred luxury brand when I was growing up. Shiseido was also one of the most accessible brands to purchase before there was the Internet or online shopping. In fact, there were a couple of Shiseido franchise stores that opened right in Chinatown, NYC where salesladies were able to make sales by speaking Cantonese to my mom. For my epic Tokyo vacation, I naturally wanted to visit the Shiseido Flagship right in the heart of Ginza, Tokyo’s premiere shopping district. The flagship has four floors with each providing a unique beauty experience. Right across the street is Shiseido Parlour, an old-timey style confectionery retail shop. If you’re a Shiseido fan, or at least a fan of any of Shiseido’s many sub-brands, look at through my mini photo tour to see if you’d like to step inside.
If you love cute character items and cosmetics, It’s Demo is a MUST-VISIT. The little kid inside you will scream with joy because it knows adult-you can buy everything you ever wanted as a child. This is getting a little meta but It’s Demo is the best store to indulge all those irrational desires for a Sailor Moon shaped compact or a My Melody phone case. At least with makeup and fashion accessories, it’s quasi-functional. It’s Demo has been described as a fashion convenience store because it also houses hair, phone and general accessories, hosiery, totes, decorative cookies and of course cosmetics as the main attraction. Their specialty is carrying almost anything with a cartoon character on it which ranges from Disney’s Frozen (and all Disney Princesses), Pokemon, Spongebob Squarepants, Doremon and even classic OG Sanrio characters like Keroppi, My Melody, Little Twin Stars, and Cinnamoroll! The store seems gears towards the 13 – 25 demo as the majority of the items were a little too kiddy for my personal taste but it was still worth a visit! I took photos from the Shibuya location where my Airbnb was located. Click to read more and peek inside.
Ainz & Tulpe is like an elevated chain drugstore in Tokyo. Unlike the traditional drugstore like the Matsumoto-Kiyoshi with its garish discount signs and cramped aisles, the Ainz & Tulpe is a spacious and modern way to shop for beauty.You will find all the best drugstore brands, certified organic beauty, and even international brands popular in Europe. They have a skincare rankings wall that lists out their top picks so you can research ahead of time the popular items in Japan (and it’s NOT what you think)! The name is German and it stands for “One & Tulip”, derived from their pharmaceutical parent company. How is this store different than the Loft, another recommended beauty shop for tourists? For one, Ainz & Tulpe focuses on beauty, cosmetics and facial tools and doesn’t have room for anything else like home goods or stationery except if they are trending hard. There are also beauty consultants in the downstairs basement who work for Shiseido, SK-II, Kose, Kanebo and Sofina so you can get one on one attention for your needs. I’m not sure what the level of English proficiency is as the Ainz & Tulpe attracts both tourists and locals. Their excellent product displays, stylish store setting and wide selection makes it into one of my recommended stores to visit in my Shopping Guide for Tourists in Tokyo, Japan. Click to see more!
Loft is most recommended for tourists as it’s the go-to for Japanese inspired knick knacks, stationery, toteable home goods and of course, beauty. You can find Star Wars themed toys, anime items, pretty paper fans, photo frames, travel accessories and cultural items too. The MoMa Design Store has a small section as well. Beauty-wise, they have everything the drugstores carried as well as some natural brands too. It’s a beautiful space to shop and the Shibuya location even has a bar and sit-down section that serves alcohol and small bites if you need to rest. There are wide aisles and it’s not the same chaotic and cramped experience you’ll get shopping at a Matsumoto Kyoshi or Don Quijote store. How the tax-free system works here is that you have buy all your items first and then head to the top floor to wait on another line in order to have the taxes refunded back to you. This means you can make a purchase as many times as you want, but you must save all your receipts in order to have the tax-free counter refund and wrap your consumable items in a tamper-free bag. Read more tips like this on my Shopping Tips as a Tourist in Japan post. Now onto the photo tour!