OK, there are just a few realities that a traveler to Japan just has to deal with.
Yes- it actually CAN cost upwards of US $300 for a taxi ride from the airport to your downtown hotel.
Yes, there actually is a right way and a wrong way to enter & exit the subway and yes, making a call on a public phone is challenging even for the tech-savviest of people.
But, there are fewer places that are more chaotically beautiful, visually stimulating, (and yes, crowded too) than Japan itself, and the same goes for the Food Hall at Osaka’s Hankyu Department Store. This popular mainstay has a food floor that rivals that of Harrods as far as culinary overload is concerned.
Plan to visit, be sure to check out the food market on the lower floors, which is known for its excellent quality and service.
Traverse the aisles and you’ll likely agree, never before and never again will you see such a collection of interestingly shaped fruit, angry/cool/ugly-looking fish, brilliantly colored sweets…and who knew there could be an entire aisle dedicted wholly to the art of tempura?
Bring your appetite, your camera, and naturally, your very fat wallet because even small souvenirs or nibbles of these intersting delicacies don’t come cheap. My tasty stick of shrimp tempura rounded out at the equivalent of US $25 (ok it was a BIG shrimp but still…)
Choose from about 30 restaurants serving delicious Japanese cuisine, including sushi, eel, tempura and okonomiyaki – an Osaka specialty – as well as Chinese, Italian and other flavors from around the world.
More info about Hankyu Department Store
Hankyu is one of Japan’s largest department store chain and their flagship store is in the Hankyu Terminal in the Umeda district. It really is worth seeing. The exclusive interior matches the high standards of other Hankyu stores throughout the country. The brands on offer are both international and Japanese, including names such as GAP, Miyake, Nicole Farhi, Kenzo and Cerruti.
The store is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00. Some departments, such as the restaurants, may vary. There may also be changes to the hours of operation. Please note that the store will be closed on January 1st.
Although today it is not uncommon to see department stores near train stations around the world, Hankyu Department Store was the very first, establishing Osaka’s Umeda district as an important part of shopping history.
Tax Refund for foreign visitors
Foreign visitors staying in Japan for less than 6 months are not required to pay sales tax.
Check the list of eligible products and conditions below for a tax refund, and bring all eligible products to the tax refund counter to receive a tax refund.
A processing fee of 1.55% of the pre-tax price of the taxed item will be charged. (The tax refund processing fee is not refundable if the product is returned).
Where can you get the tax back
B1 Foreign Customer Services Counter. That’s where you will also find lots of food.
Who can get the tax back?
Non-resident Japanese citizens who can prove that they have lived outside Japan continuously for at least two years. (Applications by proxy are not eligible).
Non-resident aliens with “temporary visitor”, “diplomatic” or “official” visas who have not resided in Japan for more than 6 months. (Proxy applications are not allowed)
Date of purchase only (during business hours)!
What kind of products will I get a tax refund on?
For clothing, fashion accessories, watches, accessories and housewares, there is no minimum amount per store, but purchases must be made on the same day and total at least 5,000 yen excluding tax. Best of all, you don’t have to wrap the items separately!
If you prefer to buy food, beverages (including alcohol), cosmetics or medicine, there is no minimum amount per store, but the purchase must be made on the same day and must be between 5,000 yen and 500,000 yen excluding tax. Please note, however, that the packaging must meet Japanese government specifications and must not be opened if you intend to consume the items in Japan. Excise tax will also be due if you use the items in Japan.
You can get the tax back in cash or credit card. Accepted cards include VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and UnionPay. If you prefer to use your smartphone, you can also use WeChat Pay or Alipay.
Procedure to get your tax money back
If you want your eligible purchases refunded as soon as possible, you should make sure you take them to the tax refund counter on the same day.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- First, you will need to bring the items you purchased with you so they can be verified.
- Second, you will need your original passport with an immigration stamp on it.
- You will also need a receipt, but only machine-issued receipts will be accepted.
- Finally, if you paid by credit card, you will need a valid card. Please note that corporate credit cards are not accepted.
A sales tax refund will be issued after deducting a service charge (1.55%).
Important, be sure to show your purchase and passport to customs when you leave Japan.
How to get to the Hankyu Department Store:
Hankyu Department Store is a 2-minute walk from Hankyu Railway Osaka-Umeda Station, JR Osaka Station or Osaka Metro Umeda Station on the Midosuji Line.
Importantly for all customers, the Wi-Fi service is free. All you need to do is register your e-mail address. Up to three 60-minute connections per day are allowed. To ensure universal connectivity, WEP and other security measures are not enforced. Please keep this in mind when using the service.
After selecting the “wifihhdept” network on your device, register online with your email address and you’re ready to go.
So if you find yourself in Osaka, do drop in, it’s worth a visit.