Don Quijote: Japan’s Twisted Walmart

Don Quixote, Don Quijote

Photo by kalleboo

Friends often ask me, “Where should I go shopping first in Japan?”  My answer is always,

“Don Quijote”

The first time I saw a Don Quijote store, shortened to “Donki” in Japan, I thought it was a shady gambling/pachinko parlor, so I didn’t enter for about a month or two.  However, a friend who had been living in the area for a while was always raving about the deals that she found at Don Quijote, so I eventually had  to check it out.

Don Quijote: Not Your Typical Box Store

Don Quijote has a huge selection of regular items, along with unusual items that would make great souvenirs from Japan for your friends and family back home.  With products ranging from the ugly-cute kobito-zukan characters and cubic mouth Disney characters, to unusual Japanese beauty products, you can be guaranteed to find something, even if it is not what you originally entered the store for.

The two Don Quijotes in Tokyo that are probably most well know would be the ones in Akihabara and in Shinjuku.

Akihabara Don Quijote

Open: 10:00 am to 5 am (no holidays)

Description: This Donki has a floor dedicated to AKB48, the famous sort-of-teenage singing group in Japan.  There’s a big screen always showing videos of their songs and sometimes AKB48 has been known to show up!  This Don Quijote also features the maid cafe @Home Maid Cafe.

Map

Shinjuku Don Quijote

Open: 24 hours

Description: This Donki is right in the middle of the red-light district of Tokyo, Kabuki-cho.  This may have something to do with why it is open 24-hours a day.

Map

My favorite area in Don Quijote is usually the food section or the cute/ugly-cute character sections.  How about you?

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