Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Trip to Shibuya Mark City Includes Food, Photo Ops, and Fabulous Shopping!

Heading to Shibuya to see Tokyo's most famous dog, Hachiko? Want to mingle in the hectic crowds of Shibuya Crossing AKA Shibuya Scramble? Feeling your stomach growl? Perhaps you're just ready to hit the malls of Shibuya and shop til you drop? Well, Shibuya Mark City is calling your name!

Here at JAPANKURU, we can appreciate the Shibuya landmarks, and the joy of being swept away by Tokyo's busy crowds. But on this trip we beelined for Shibuya Mark City. Our stomachs were empty, and the shops were calling out to us! This shopping mall has popular restaurants, interesting souvenirs, and even some great photo-op spots, so we were ready to explore!
The large building is divided into East and West sections with a little of everything in both halves, but since it's directly connected to Shibuya Station, it's not hard to find!

Shibuya Mark City1-12-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo
Store Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Restaurant Hours: 11:00 - 23:00 (may vary)
Official Website (en)


Lindt Chocolat Boutique

Swiss chocolatier Lindt has been in business for 175 years, and with that level of success and popularity, it's no surprise the brand has opened more than 120 stores worldwide, and made its way to Japan.

One of their most iconic products is the Lindor truffle, a round chocolate shell surrounding a sweet, creamy center. They come in a wide variety of flavors, and are sold by weight, meaning you can choose a little of this and a little of that.
We were especially excited to find these special limited edition matcha truffles, which are only available in parts of Asia and Australia!
If you're looking for a Japanese souvenir for a chocolate lover, they've got giftable products of all kinds, but these little gift boxes decorated with Japanese pattens and filled with chocolates, matcha and other, stole our hearts!

Lindt Chocolat BoutiqueMark City - 4th Floor
Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Official Website (jp)


Interestingly, Israeli bath and beauty products have been all the rage in Japan as of late, thanks to Dead Sea salt specialists Sabon.
Their body scrubs are especially beloved, made of Dead Sea salt and fragrant, moisturizing oils. They occasionally make new fragrances, so we might just drop in again for a deep whiff next time we're in Shibuya!
The JAPANKURU team left the shop with some very smooth hands, soft from almond and avocado oils! Sabon also sells skin and hair care products, hand creams, and soaps, if your skin is a little sensitive for scrubs (or you just can't get enough of their products).

Mark City - East Mall 3rd Floor
Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Official Website (jp)

Kutsushitaya Tabio (靴下屋 Tabio)

For the fashion-forward traveler, we present Kutsushitaya Tabio! This Japanese sock brand makes a variety of hosiery, most of which is made in Japan, from simple, comfortable basics to slightly more fashionable glittery numbers, and even a variety of men's products.
Despite the variety, we hear that their most popular products are their basic, mid-calf socks, which come in a range of colors. These are the special seasonal hues!

But, as we mentioned, we couldn't resist the latest trend: lamé! A nice compliment to loafers, or the perfect way to spice up a simple pair of pumps.
Some of the shop's most intriguing socks aren't just focused on decoration - they make toe socks, along with these cool split-toe socks inspired by Japan's traditional tabi socks. They're comfortable, and a topic of conversation when you take your shoes off!
They make these cool men's tabi socks as well, plus some very cool socks made just for athletes (or people who like a lot of foot support)!

Kutsushitaya Tabio (靴下屋 Tabio)Mark City - West Mall 2nd Floor
Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Official Website (jp)


Want an interesting memento from Japan? Something you can show off every day? We went to check out the glasses at Owndays, which (if they've got the lenses in stock) can be put together in 20 minutes!

They've got a really simple system, where you just pay for the frames - no extra fees for measurements! And if you decide a few days later that the strength isn't quite right, you can come back and they'll help you for no additional cost.

They make all kinds of frames, but some of the most popular ones are in this sophisticated Graph Belle line.

For a more distinctly Japanese pair of glasses, these ones are made by Sen-Ichi in Sabae, Japan, known for artisan glasses frames.

OwndaysMark City - East Mall 1st Floor
Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Official Website (jp)


Sushi no Midori (すしの美登利)

While Sushi no Midori's reputation hasn't spread to the English-speaking world quite yet, the small chain is a super popular sushi destination for locals, and travelers hailing from Korea and Taiwan. In fact, during meal times the lines of eagerly waiting customers stretch down the hallway! But, fortunately, in recent years they've installed a modern reservation system, where you a number near the entrance or "line up" on your phone, so you can avoid the long wait.
Seats at the counter afford you a view of the sushi being made, and the blur of skilled chefs' hands.
There are also tables, but by the time the sushi arrives, you won't care where you're sitting. Every piece of sushi we tried when we visited was delectable! We ordered the seasonal omakase is, well, seasonal, which means the fish on the platter change regularly, to feature whatever's freshest and most delicious at the time! (Don't ignore the miso soup, either. The flavor was delicious, and if you're lucky, you might just get a little bit of cooked fish or seafood in the soup as well.)

Sushi no Midori (すしの美登利)Mark City - 4th Floor
Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
Official Website (en)

Nana (菜な)

If you've ever been to Kyoto, you might have tried Kyoto's traditional "obanzai" cuisine - small dishes made with simple flavors, and fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. In Kyoto, ingredients often include "kyoyasai," or particular vegetables grown in the Kyoto area. At Nana, we found both Kyoto culinary traditions, and a little bit of kyoyasai, right in the middle of Tokyo!
Whether you want a simple lunch platter, or dinner with a luxe variety of little obanzai dishes, they've got plenty of stylish seating, including little, private, Japanese-style dining rooms.
Depending on how hungry you are, you can go for a 3-dish set, 5-dish set, or even 12-dish obanzai platter, and select whatever little bites look most delicious to you. We wanted to taste everything! But alas, we only had room in our stomachs for so many things, like this orange pumpkin and fresh, ripe tomato.

Nana (菜な)Mark City - 4th Floor
Hours: Weekdays 11:00 - 16:00 & 17:00 - 23:00 / Weekends 11:00 - 23:00
Official Website (jp)

Afternoon Tea Tearoom

For a taste of English teatime, with a touch of Japanese flair, head to Mark City's Afternoon Tea Tearoom! After eating so much tasty Japanese food, we were good and ready to relax and enjoy a sweet treat and a hot cup of tea.

The tearoom serves drinks and desserts throughout the day, along with some simple meals for hungrier customers. The most popular item on the menu when we visited was this limited-time-only seasonal platter, with a selection of strawberry desserts and a pot of tea.

They take great pains to make the perfect cup of tea - no need to make it yourself with a wimpy tea bag! By the time it gets to your table, the tea in your teapot has steeped for the perfect amount of time, and it's ready to drink without getting overly bitter. Even the tea leaves themselves are the freshest possible.
Of course we had to look at the fun tea merchandise they had for sale! If you fall in love with the tea you try in the tearoom (or even their lemon curry, which we hear is popular!) they've got packages for you to take home...
...but for souvenirs, we recommend one of the tea samplers, like this frankly adorable book of teas!

Afternoon Tea TearoomMark City - West Mall 1st Floor
Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Official Website (jp)

Explore Like a Local - Shibuya Mark City's Coolest Spots

Get that perfect shot for instagram, or just a great view, by navigating the Mark City complex like a local! Our first recommendation is this fabulous spot leading to one of Mark City's exits, in the direction of Shibuya Dogenzaka. The gleaming tunnel was designed by American installation artist Vito Acconci.

For a unique perspective on Shibuya's famous crosswalk, we found our way to this walkway between Mark City and Shibuya station. Unless you happen to arrive right at rush hour, it's generally a calm, quiet area, so you can see the rush of people without having to dive right in!

Less a sightseeing destination and more of a tip for sightseers: on the second floor of Mark City's East Mall we found this convenient currency exchange booth! If you suddenly find yourself out of yen, but with pockets still full of your home currency, just find your way to the Travelex.

Shibuya: Shopping, Food, and So Many People!

Mark City is both a big part of the Shibuya shopping scene, and also a bit of a quiet oasis from the crowds of the streets below. While we explored a few shops that intrigued us most during our trip, the large complex has something to offer just about any shopper (plus restaurants and cafes to satisfy all the hungry and thirsty travelers out there). And with the great views available, too, it's easy to find plenty of reasons to head over directly from Shibuya Station. So tell us all about your time in Shibuya on twitter, instagram, and facebook!



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