Takashimaya Times Square, accessible from the south exit of JR Shinjuku Station (but actually in next door Shibuya ward), is a one of Tokyo's most chic and spacious shopping complexes. Incorporating the Takashima Department Store, the Tokyu Hands DIY/interior store, the Kinokuniya bookstore and the HMV music store, it is a massive treasure trove of consumables. Think arty money.
From the B2 floor underground carpark to the 14th floor restaurants, from 10am to 8pm (8.30pm on Saturdays) it offers a thousand and one very tasteful ways to convert those boring bills into something more memorable.
Cartier, Fendi, Prada, Gucci and many, many more big fashion brand names, an art gallery, a cinema, an overseas goods delivery service, and travel agencies are among the services on offer.
Takashimaya Times Square was built in 1996 as the long-awaited Shinjuku presence that the Takashimaya Group had been aiming for since the 1960s. In the 1970s, the site nearly became the Tokyo shinkansen (bullet train) station, but that honor went to Ueno. However, what is now the B2 parking floor of the building was originally excavated for that purpose.
A walkbridge across the Shinjuku Station railway tracks connects it with the trendy Shinjuku Southern Terrace with its cafes, its constantly mobbed Krispy Kreme store, and the Microsoft Japan headquarters.
Competition from the other big department stores in the area: Odakyu and Keio on the west side of Shinjuku Station, and Isetan on the east side, means it has constantly been in the red, in spite of an estimated current annual turnover of about 200 billion yen (almost USD2 billion). The annual rent alone is said to be 12 billion yen (almost USD120 million).
Because spring is here, Takashima's floral tributes to the season, too, are designed to dazzle or titillate. Here are a couple of the many that graced each floor.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008