Half day in Gion and General Shopping, Japan Review
My last full day in Japan was spent shopping, eating and wandering around the Gion district. Japan is famous for the odd and quirky but I spent more time purchasing skincare products and snacks.
For me my attitude to shopping is usually all or nothing: either I browse without a care in the world without buying anything, or it’s a silent military exercise as I rush between adjacent shops; eyes glazed, silent and frowning.
When I have a purchase list in my head, shopping is an operation that I go into with a grim concentration befitting of hospital surgery. I am capable of spending hours trailing through shops comparing the minuscule differences in the pricing for a pot of cream, hovering on the thin line between frugality and madness.
This shopping trip was definitely not the fun and breezy kind and I present to you the spoils of war, with a few cheats as I did buy things on other days.
Skincare and Make-up
First the skincare and makeup products: I bought moisturiser, toner, cleanser, exfoliator, face-masks, lip balm, oil blocker and blenders mainly from Don Quijote.
It was an operation for the store staff to wrap up these products in plastic after removing the 8% tax; tax free shopping was a breeze in bigger stores and all I needed was a passport and a lot of patience for the queuing. It was a shame that I couldn’t try the products whilst in Japan to keep the tax saving, but I guess the fiver I clawed back from the Japanese government was totally worth it. Japanese people pay so little consumption tax in comparison with the UK!
Other things I bought; an umbrella (I lost it already…), earphones, Uniqlo basics with all the colours of the rainbow, nick knacks from the 100 yen shop, a rucksack, white trainers, a towel and a postcard.
As for snacks I bought jellies, kit kats and every single dry fish snack I could find. Of course Japanese convenience stores being so wonderful I ate a lot of my purchases before flying home.
The most expensive and largest product was definitely the rice cooker, which I managed to squeeze into the spare suitcase.
The Full Spoils
Spreading out all my purchases was quite a feat, although I cheated as 30% of the pile belonged to my boyfriend.
Fortunately I managed to squeezed in the beautiful, pedestrianised and crowded Gion district. The stone paved streets were lined with traditional wooden buildings and traditionally dressed tourists roamed throughout.
I took some beautiful images of the sunset in Gion and near Yasaka shrine.
It turned out that everyone else agreed that the view was beautiful.
Japan is a shopper’s heaven with all the major cities equipped for the typical tourist; there are endless department stores and popular high street brands standing shoulder to shoulder; I definitely recommend it, especially if you slip in some sunset views of Kyoto in Gion as well.