If you like shopping, welcome to the heaven that is Laforet Grand Bazar!
Tokyo, being the huge shopping metropolis that it is, has innumerable sales events all year round. Out of all of them, the Laforet Grand Bazar is certainly one of the biggest and most impressive!
With all of its releases and events, it’s practically a festival in its own right. Pretty much all of the stores in Harajuku’s most popular shopping complex participate in this event, which is held twice every year for five days, once in January and again in July. During this period most shops will have considerable discounts on many of their items and some brands will offer limited collaboration items that can be purchased exclusively at the event.
The most typical feature of the Grand Bazar is the timesales. As per definition, this simply refers to the sale being limited by a fixed start and end time. Almost all of the participating stores have several of these sales scheduled over the five-day period, and even though most of them offer discounts throughout the whole event, this is when the real bargains can be found. This, of course, results in the stores being filled to the brim with eager customers determined to get their hands on the best discount, and a not-too-pleasant, though certainly memorable, shopping experience.
If you want to go all out, you can also go for an “Asachike”, which translates to “morning ticket” and rewards customers who queue in front of Laforet before opening time with an additional 10% off of many of the already discounted items. A lot of brands also use the Grand Bazar as an opportunity to release special items that are limited in quantity and usually extremely popular. Some even go so far as to throw their dedicated customers into financial distress by scheduling several releases every day.
Information on all the releases, sales, and collaborations can be found on the Laforet Grand Bazar website. Even more informative and fun to read is, however, their twitter account, which keeps its followers updated in real time with lots of pictures and up-to-the-minute information.
This year, the Bazar was held from January 27th to 30th, and we have been going there almost every day to take our chances at the releases and timesale events. It is always amazing to see the huge crowds inside the shops, the queues in front of them that sometimes stretch over several floors (it’s not much fun if you’re in one of them), and the enthusiastic staff holding up signs and shouting sales pitches at the top of their lungs. It is also incredibly tempting and takes the devoted Accio Tokyo shopper all their willpower not to go on a huge shopping spree everytime they go there *cough*. Tomorrow, Laforet will stow away the sales banners and go back to business as usual. Of course only until summer, that is, when the next Grand Bazar opens its doors.