Tokyo is world famous for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Head to Ginza shopping district and you could easily spend your whole month’s salary on a few pairs of socks. Visitors to this city often expect to pay ridiculous sums of money for products, restaurants, hotels, and definitely finer items such as jewelry.
However, there is a ray of light that you may not know about. There exists a district in Tokyo called Okachimachi, which is home to over 150 jewelry shops. You can find expensive diamonds and golden rings here, of course, but if you spend sometime browsing, you will also find some amazing bargains. It’s a great place to find cut-price gold jewelry, unique gems, and discounts which you may not find in many other countries.
This area, located just between Ueno and Akihabara, is not massively known among tourists to the city, but perhaps that makes it all the more alluring! Find out more about this fascinating little area and what great gold, diamonds, and other jewelry items you’ll be able to find here.
Okachimachi is an area with a very rich history. When Tokyo was called Edo (before 1868), Okachimachi was a town, and mainly consisted of basic accommodation belonging to samurai infantry. Samurai in the lower ranks were often poorly paid, so they made their homes in this cheap area of the city.
These samurai residents made their living through craftworks, selling their works to local residents. Over time, and particularly after the Meiji Restoration in the late 1860’s, when Japan began to modernize and industrialize, these same samurai generations turned their hand to jewelry making.
Thus, the area became the biggest, and now the only, jewelry wholesale district in Tokyo. It is a charming area, beautiful and fascinating to walk around, and is the perfect place to spot some good bargains on jewelry, diamonds, and gold.
What’s on Offer?
When you enter Okachimachi, you will likely be overwhelmed by the vast number of jewelry shops stuffed into such a tiny space. There are just so many to choose from, and stock many jewelry items.
Customers can buy gold, diamonds, silver, platinum, pearls, and precious stones, and will find a huge array of options in Okachimachi. There is also a wide range of different designs and levels of quality.
Aside from the wide array of jewelry on offer, you can also find many stores which will fix broken or stained jewelry, so if you have something you want to get fixed you can bring it along.
You also have the option of selling jewelry you no longer want, to various vendors in the area. Make sure you really take some time to find a price you’re happy with if you decide to sell.
How About the Price?
Prices in this area vary quite a lot and depend greatly on the quality of the piece and the shop you decide to buy it from. Before you start, be assured that Japan is not a country that rips tourists off in the way that might be done in other parts of the world. Japanese society values honesty, and deceiving customers is regarded a genuinely shameful thing to do.
Generally, if you are looking for cheaper jewelry items, rings and earrings are very affordable here, whilst you may find yourself spending a little more on bracelets, necklaces, and watches.
You will likely notice that many shops have sales on specific items, and may also offer attractive discounts if you pay in cash, depending on the value of the item. Do have a look around, because you can find some real bargains here! For example, vendors have been known to sell 18 karat gold rings for as little as 2000 yen!
There are a lot of shops to choose from that offer a good deal, so make sure you check them first before you make a purchase! A further point to note is that many of the stores are closed on weekends, so do try to visit them on a weekday if you can.
This wonderful and lesser known part of Tokyo is definitely worth visiting if you want to explore a less touristy part of the city with a bit of extra magic. Make sure you bring cash if you plan to buy some jewelry as some places won’t accept cards, and be sure to take a bit of time to really search for a bargain.
Even if you don’t want to buy things, it’s still a fun afternoon walking around and exploring the area where the streets are paved with gold!