Mainland Japan will get its first duty-free shop outside of an international airport when the Japan Duty Free Ginza debuts at the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on Wednesday, a top company official said a day earlier.
“We are looking forward to further energizing Ginza — Japan’s most famous shopping district — by making it more accessible to foreign customers,” said Heichi Yamamoto, president of Japan Duty Free Fa-So-La Isetan Mitsukoshi Co.
Customers must present their passport and plane tickets at a reception counter in the store before shopping. Once done, they will receive a voucher that can be exchanged for items at pick-up counters beyond passport control at Narita and Haneda airports.
Unlike the nation’s 29,047 tax-free shops where purchases can already be made free of consumption tax, the Ginza store will offer imported luxury items — such as Italian fashion apparel — free of Japanese import tariffs. Liquor and tobacco are also offered free of their respective taxes.
Japanese customers, too, are eligible to use the store before a foreign trip.
Funded by the Japan Airport Terminal Co., Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. and NAA Retailing Corp., the Japan Duty Free Ginza will be the first such store outside Okinawa Prefecture, which has already introduced them.
Yasuhide Yonemoto, a senior managing director of the Japan Airport Terminal Co., said the store’s interior employs a design concept representing a mixture of Japanese traditions and Western influences.
The new duty-free floor at Ginza Mitsukoshi will have four sections: Tobacco and cigarettes, cosmetics, luxury brands and traditional craft shops, which includes an area that demonstrates cutting-edge projection-imaging technology.
Japan has seen an explosion of tourists recently, with the number of foreign visitors hitting a record 19.73 million last year, the tourism ministry said last week.
The figure was just shy of the government’s goal of 20 million arrivals by 2020.
Spending by foreign visitors also hit a record in 2015, jumping 71.5 percent year-on-year to ¥3.48 trillion.
By nationality, Chinese were by far the biggest spenders, accounting for 40.8 percent of the total. They were followed by Taiwanese nationals, who accounted for 15 percent and South Koreans, who made up 8.7 percent.