One of the best things to do in Japan is shopping! Designer leather bags in the Philippines are heavily taxed and are therefore more expensive to buy. Every time I travel I take the opportunity to buy a quality made structured leather bag for work.
I didn’t always buy nice bags. After years of using cheap bags and getting attached to them, it always broke my heart to see these bags fall apart. Either the leather would start to peel off, the handles become discolored or the inside lining rips apart. These bags are just beyond repair and it broke my heart. I ended up buying animal leather bags from then on.
So we headed to Nagoya. It was about a 2 hour bullet train ride. Once we got off the train station, we were met by friends.
After having read about the booming second hand bag market in Japan, I was excited to check out Brands Off and Komehyo.
We immediately went to Ossu shopping district. Right off the bat, we spotted Brands Off (which I searched for in vain in Osaka!). We decided to check out Komehyo first.
Komehyo is a department store that also happens to sell second hand designer bags. Compared to full retail prices offered by other Japanese department stores, the bags here are definitely well within the affordable range.
Their store offers a guide in the pricing of bags -from second hand bags up to good as new bags. The better condition the bags are in, the more expensive they get.
The brands varied from Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Chanel, and contemporary designers for young ones like us 20 somethings, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Coach and Tory Burch. I was about to settle for a good as new Neverfull (about PhP 30,000.00) when our friends stopped me. Apparently there are other stores for us to check out with better prices. Needless to say, I was excited.
We slipped into the Brands Off next door. It sold both brand new and vintage bags. However the vintage bags were over priced, compared with bags in Don Quijote in Tokyo and Komehyo. After browsing for a little bit and appreciating the bag designs on display, we left to get lunch.
Our friends took us out to a buffet restaurant of Japanese food. There was yakiniku, sushi, veggies, unlimited drinks, ice cream and cakes, most importantly, a diy cotton candy machine!
PAWNSHOP / DESIGNER BAG MECCA
After lunch, we finally headed to a pawnshop/store. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch its name because of two reasons: (1) the name on the store facade was in Japanese characters and (2) I couldn’t care anymore after seeing the endless row of Louis Vuitton bags!!
As our friends promised, the LV bags here are sold at floor prices! Unlike Komehyo, the bags here are much much cheaper. I found an LV speedy bag that was priced at PhP 7,500.00. There were second hand Prada, Channel, Balenciaga, Loewe, and Longchamp. Contemporary designers were there as well.
I was contemplating the LV bag. I wondered how it could be so cheap. I inspected a Neverfull as well and checked signs of authenticity. Unfortunately, I never bought an LV bag from an LV store before so I doubted my authenticating skills. While the second hand LV bags looked good and despite Japan’s reputation for its strict laws against selling counterfeit bags, I doubted their authenticity.
These bags were cheap, yes. But I would rather settle on a bag that I’m 100% sure on the authenticity than on a doubtful one. So I settled on getting Kate Spade. I’m fond of contemporary designer bags at the moment and very sure of my authenticating skills on these. I settled on a black cedar street small hayden in saffiano leather. It was in such great condition it might as well have been a brand new purchase!
There are outlet stores in Nagoya as well, which offer brand new designer bags for less. Unfortunately, we only had half a day to spend here. After shopping, we went to Yamazaki river.
Yamazaki river is about a 6km stretch of water that’s lined with cherry blossom trees. During sakura (as that time we went there) season, this place transforms for the sakura festival where barbecues are held by families on the mouth of the river and stores set up along it. People from all over Japan head here for the annual merriment of eating and drinking and sakura-viewing.
Nagoya doesn’t disappoint! The cherry blossoms here are in full bloom and are in abundance. It was just a peaceful and quiet walk (before the sakura festival starts). The wind was blowing and the temperature was just enough for a light coat. The blossoms are breath taking and my photos don’t do them justice.
All in all, Japan has been a feast for my senses. The prices are expensive but the place, the food, the nice and helpful people (despite the language barrier), the varied and colorful flowers set against an industrial setting, are more than worth it. I hope to come back again someday!