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Shop ‘n Chill


So you get to the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store food hall bright and early to nab a coveted bunch of First Grapes Of The Season before they’re sold out, then you spot a nice piece of salmon for dinner. You buy it before remembering that you have to go to the dentist after doing your shopping. Oh no! That fish is going to smell like, well, let’s just say Dr. McFlossmore is going to be breathing through his mouth, wondering how to broach the subject of that odor.

What to do, what to do?

Mitsukoshi refrigerated coin lockers to the rescue! Yes, conveniently located on the perishable foods floor is a bank of chillin’ cubbies in which you can stow your groceries until you’ve finished getting that root canal, lunching with the empress’s sister, or whatever other urgent chores must be dealt with in Ginza before carting that fish home on the subway.

And they’re free! You put in ¥100, take the key, then get the ¥100 back when you return it. Polite signs exhort shoppers to take their purchases home in a timely manner, of course.

A tip o’ the beanie to Tokyobling’s Blog, where I first read about this fab invention! If you’d like to visit the Ginza Mitsukoshi the next time you’re in Tokyo, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

7 thoughts on “Shop ‘n Chill Leave a comment

    • I thought so too! In fact, I even love REGULAR coin lockers, of which there is a generous selection at almost every train station. If you’re out doing errands, you can just stow all your shopping bags instead of lugging everything around!

  1. Absolutely brilliant! I wish a few places in Manhattan had such an arrangement. And please don’t tell me real estate in Manhattan is too expensive…more expensive than Tokyo? I think not.

    • Hmm, it might be more of a user population problem. Here people are probably pretty respectful of using the refrigerator lockers for what they were intended – to stow your groceries for a couple of hours while you finish your shopping, then take your stuff home so other people can use them. But I imagine that in America, some people might immediately figure out ways to take advantage of the system and use them in ways that don’t add value for the store’s other customers.

  2. I am curious whether you know who manufactures those lockers? I have been looking for something like that to implement at several businesses in town. Thank you.

    • I did a Japanese search for this, but can’t seem to come up with a manufacturer, and my photo isn’t hi-res enough to see if there’s a brand name anywhere on the lockers. Will check the next time I’m in Ginza and see if I can spot any more info for you!

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