Shopping Spotlight: LOFT, the peak of variety goods
The loft is usually where you find hidden, maybe forgotten gems. Like a dusty box of Christmas decorations, or a painting hidden under a sheet. In Japan, Loft is more like a goldmine. A place to find fun variety treasures, useful things you might never have thought of, and beautiful Japanese souvenirs.
It’s a shopping adventure
Finding a branch to explore is easy enough. Loft has a huge presence in most major Japanese cities and almost every prefecture. Picking yellow and black for the logo helped.
Depending on the store you go to, visiting might be like climbing up to an attic. In Osaka, there’s a Loft on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Namba Centre building, and one on the 3rd floor of the Mio Plaza in Tennoji. It’s the same story in Tokyo, where the Ikebukuro branch covers floors 9-12 of the Seibu department store. There are some on the ground floor: Shibuya, Yurakucho, Abeno, a few others.
Stepping through the doors of Loft is still like entering a totally different world. When we say ‘totally different’, we’re not kidding. Many of Loft’s stores around Japan – maybe all of them – have their own Twitter accounts. They tweet about different things, like store-specific items and sales. And the main Loft account loves to RT them.
To be fair, there’s a lot to talk about. You can add to pretty much every room in your house on a trip to Loft. (Or by shopping online.)
Variety you can only find in Japan
Tourists often head to Loft for variety goods and weird Japanese souvenirs. Most of the time, you’ll see the unusual stuff as soon as you walk in. Don’t miss the original Nanoblock designs or the special ‘pop-up shops’ around the store.
For unlucky people who avoid testing their skill with gacha machines, being able to buy prizes off the shelf is handy. Just tell everyone you won it, they’ll never find out. Cup Fuchiko – Kitan Club’s leading lady – takes pride of place in Loft mini figure displays.
Loft isn’t just for Japanese brands and kawaii goods. There’s a healthy mix of characters that everyone should recognise. Moomins make the list, of course they do. They’re on mugs and cup covers, bento boxes, plates and chopsticks. You can also pick up some official Where’s Wally? stuff – it isn’t hard to find at all. Which is a bit disappointing, if you think about it too hard.
As we mentioned, each range spans from novelty/variety goods to genuinely useful homeware. Now’s your chance to own a light-up polar bear (or other animal) sleeping in the bath. Safer and cuter than a candle.
Like a forest of paper and pens
Away from the character goods, a section that’s always busy is the stationery department. Loft’s selections of Japanese paper, envelopes, gift cards and bags, diaries and notebooks is seriously impressive. Are ‘thank you’ notebooks a thing anywhere else in the world? They are here.
That’s before you even reach the memo pads and post-it notes.
Get motivated by writing positive things in a speech bubble next to a handsome guy. These ‘ikemen’ memos cater to everyone: there’s a friendly doctor, a sympathetic coworker, a charming waiter, and a flirty barista.
Loft exclusives often become Japan-wide trends. The store made international news this year for selling over 350,000 official Vladimir Putin calendars since August 2016. For some reason, Putin’s really popular with Japanese women, and Loft is the only retailer in Japan that’s got the calendar on sale. What a coup. Okay, maybe that’s not the best word to use.
And don’t forget the pens. Well, with this many pens to choose from you’re not about to forget. Loft hasn’t forgotten to offer a decent-sized pencil selection, either. Traditional or mechanical, it’s up to you.
It’s hard enough choosing the paper or card, let alone what to write with. Take your time and enjoy browsing.
In your face – hey, it’s good for your skin
Health care goods, beauty products and makeup take up a similar amount of shelf space in many Loft stores. (Sometimes it feels like part of the other departments. We saw a ballpoint pen with a face roller on the end…)
For fun and fresh skin, check out the kawaii Sanrio narikiri character face packs. Become a Hello Kitty ninja, a leopard, a sleepy Gudetama, a strawberry, or a delicious Pompompurin.
For less novelty and more nourishing, the premium beauty goods have got you covered. Loft stocks bumper packs of the LuLuLun Plus lush face sheets. They also have the Botanist hair product range, and loads of aromatherapy-related items.
That’s the other draw about Loft – so many products smell so good. What does a typical store smell like? A dreamy mix of amazing and cool, that’s what. The home/interior section’s got reed diffusers, and your personal care options include gorgeous body mists and sprays.
Take a peek in the Loft
Whenever Loft items appear on online shops like Amazon and Rakuten, that means we’ve got them listed too. Check out the selection now.