Japan is a shopper's
paradise, offering everything from high-tech gadgetry and electronics
to traditional arts and crafts. Large department stores, specialty
shops, fashion boutiques, hotel arcades and shopping centres abound.
Popular buys include cameras, watches, CD players, hi-fi equipment,
silk goods, lacquer ware, Japanese dolls, and woodblock prints.
Duty-free shopping is only available in Japan's international airports
but tax-free shopping is possible in urban centres at authorised
tax-free stores. In these stores, purchases of over ¥10,000 on
selected items are exempt from Japan's 5% Consumption Tax but
it is worth comparing prices at discount stores and bargain markets
before you buy.
Tax and Service Charges
At most hotels, a 10-15% service charge
is added to the bill in lieu of tipping. There is usually a 10-20%
service charge at Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns) with private maid
If the total charge for your accommodation per person per night
(including food, drinks and service charges) is ¥15,000 or less a 5%
tax is imposed. When the total charge exceeds ¥15,000, an 8% tax is
On October 1st, 2002 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government introduced an
accommodation tax to help cover expenses to promote tourism and to
enhance the attractiveness of Tokyo. The tax is only levied on guests
who stay at hotels or inns in Tokyo priced at ¥10,000 or higher. For a
room priced ¥10,000-¥14,999 per person, per night the tax is ¥100 per
person, per night. For rooms over ¥15,000 per night the tax is ¥200
per person, per night.