Many people have the common misconception of Japan being an expensive country. While it is true that there are some categories of goods that are pricier than elsewhere, it is just about buying the products that you are looking for at the right time and in the right place. Nearing the new year, many people are out to buy stuff either for Christmas gifts for their family or friends, or for their own personal use.
I’m sure not many of foreign visitors to Japan are aware of this, but there are bazaars in Japan that sell quality products at lower prices before the new year in order to sell out their inventory before the new year comes. Usually, bazaars would cut 50 to 80 percent off the original price and you can get more affordable items on wholesale.
Iwamotocho is a wholesaler district where shoppers can hunt for year-end bargains. Iwamotocho is located just the south of Akihabara. There are about 150 wholesalers all within a 15-minute walk and they sell a variety of items from clothes and accessories to households products and much more.
The 73rd Iwamotocho Higashi-Kanda Family Bazaar will be held this year on the 27th, 28th and 29th of November and on the 4th, 5th and 6th of December. Some wholesalers nowadays cater directly to the end consumers instead of selling to retail stores first.
Since the Family Bazaar is a wholesale district, it is wise to buy in larger quantities to save more money. But these stores also sell per piece items so there’s no problem if you just want one piece, but make sure to look around to compare prices. The Family Bazaar runs from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon, make sure you go between those hours to see as many stores as possible. Also, please remember that in Japan people do not bargain. And most importantly, many people, especially tourists want to use credit cards when shopping but there are only a few shops that will accept credit card payments, so make sure to have plenty of cash with you before you go!
Iwamotocho Family Bazaar*Japanese Only