Renee Lodens on Tokyo

While we may have just missed cherry blossom viewing season, Tokyo is beautiful any time of year. When in the city, here are a few Tokyo shopping tips to keep in mind.

Renee Lodens on Tokyo | Tokyo Shopping Tips | Travelshopa
  • Most stores offer tax-free shopping to tourists spending over ¥5000. Don’t forget to have your passport on hand while shopping.
  • Carry some cash with you: not everyone accepts credit cards (especially markets and small stores)
  • Bargaining may be the norm across most of Asia, but it’s not the done thing in Japan. The only place I suggest you try your luck is a flea market.
  • Buy a vintage Kimono from a flea market.
  • Tokyo is short on space so many shops are above/below street level. There is so much more than meets the eye.
  • Cherry blossom viewing (hanami) season is generally the very end of March/early April.

Shopping Precincts in Tokyo

Shopping in Tokyo is like opening your very own shopping bento box. You never know what you're going to get. In the city where fashion is art, and design is diverse, expect cutting-edge fashion and stores, talented local artisans, and lust worthy homewares. Rather than trying to see this vast city in one visit, select an area and spend the day there.

Shopping in Tokyo | Where to Shop | Travelshopa


Ginza has been named as Asia’s most upmarket shopping precinct, and is home to the city’s classiest boutiques and department stores. Tucked in between malls like Tokyu Plaza, Mitsukoshi and Dover Street Market Ginza and the newest addition Ginza Six are a number of independent stores and local brands. The main roads in Ginza are closed to cars on Sundays, making the whole area a shopping paradise.


The welcome of malls and department stores can make Shinjuku a little overwhelming. Here you’ll find local and global threads at Isetan, and lots of specialty stores in the surrounding streets.


Shibuya is the epicenter of all things shopping in Tokyo. Just paces from the famous enormous intersection are dozens of department stores, a busy pedestrian area filled with shops Center Gai and the iconic cylindrical building Shibuya 109. A fay here will ensure you have your retail fix.


The zelkova tree-lined avenue, Omotesando, has been named the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo. Located in Shibuya and Minato, Omotesando is home to many international brands and local labels. Less crowded than Ginza and lacking the department stores, the streets are filled with beautiful boutiques.


Harajuku is most known to be the center of teen culture in Tokyo. The area has a great selection of vintage stores. Head to the streets off Takeshita Street for the best boutiques and local wares.






Meet the Artist: Sound Portraits, JP Jones

Sound Portraits by Jp Jones | Meet the Artist | Travelshopa

Image via JP Jones

JP JONES is an international contemporary artist and acclaimed musician, whose work has taken him all around the world. After being blown away by his latest work SOUND PORTRAITS, which was exhibited at the Camilla Boutique, Paddington, I was intrigued to learn more about the Welsh artist's creative process and the inspiration behind his work. Here, the new father shares his love of Caravaggio, why he unifies art and music, and how he celebrates his favourite classic songs.

My first art love was… Caravaggio. I loved the drama he created in religious scenes. His use of light and dark felt way ahead of its time. His understanding of perspective was almost back to front but felt correct. I get that! His work just stuck out to me when I was studying renaissance painters at school.

The turning point in my career was… when I took my ‘invention’ to a deaf school in London. I got the deaf students to make sounds into a microphone enabling them to see their own voices. I also played songs and they were able to watch the sound patterns of the laser’s reflection. It was an amazing experience to watch people who can’t hear seeing sound for the first time.

Can you tell us a bit about your artistic process? 

Sound portraits started after I watched a kids tv show! On the show they had cut both ends of a soup can and stretched a balloon over one end. They shone a torch through the other end and spoke into the can. When the balloon vibrated it created a light projection on the wall.

I then developed my technique by putting mirror on a speaker, and shining a laser beam on to the mirror. When the speaker vibrated to music it caused the mirror to move and the reflection of the laser created a sound projection on the wall. A literal visual representation of sound!

Sound Portraits by Jp Jones | Meet the Artist | Travelshopa

"A great work of art is in the eye of the beholder. A piece of art can be perfect to one person but not to the next." Jp Jones

A sound portrait is… a painting of the laser’s reflection to sound. I project the moving sound patterns to songs and words like “I love you” on to canvas and paint them. Sometimes incorporating portraiture and Celtic symbols that relate to the particular sound. I always start a sound portrait by building a structure (home) for the sound patterns to live inside. The colours I choose for each piece happen when I hear the sound over and over. I close my eyes and feel the colours.

I work with… acrylic paint, spray paint and oil pastels. I also make solar etchings where I photograph the sound patterns and transfer the photo on to solar plates and expose them to light and then etch the plates on a press.

The inspiration behind my latest series… was to create a group of paintings of songs that changed my life in one way or another. I wanted to affect the viewer as I was affected as a listener. Making each song speak in the same way on canvas as it does on record.

My latest series is… a celebration of classic songs. Rock and roll meets art.

Sound Portraits by Jp Jones | Meet the Artist | Travelshopa
Sound Portraits by Jp Jones | Meet the Artist | Travelshopa

My favourite subjects to paint are… the personal recordings. When people record “I love you” and I paint their words. The most poignant commission I did was when a lady’s husband had died and I painted the last answer machine message he left her. She has that message on her wall forever.

When I feel I’m stuck… I usually go into my music studio and write songs.

My creative influences… change all the time. At the moment I’m massively influenced by artists such as Retna, Gregory Siff and Danny Minnick. And all music. Always!

My top 5 songs right now…

Daughter – Loudon Wainwright lll

Sweet Thing – Van Morrison

Flim – Aphex Twin

Good Fortune – PJ Harvey

Flagship – Jason Isbell

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma

FONDACO ROMA, the first 'concept street' in Italy (and perhaps the world) is a place where taste and elegance make their way. Located right in the centre of the city, in Via della Frezza, just behind the imposing Piazza Augusto Imperatore, Architect-designer ALESSANDRA MARINO has revitalised an entire street, anchored by the three-storey Fóndaco. It encompasses a restaurant, a cocktail bar, a tearoom, a chocolatier, a show kitchen, three guest suites, a day spa and a series of intimate, connected galleries that display modern and contemporary art and design. Lucilla Loiotile explores the hottest shopping strip in Rome which launched in 2017 with a Gabriella Crespi retrospective.

Words & Photography by Lucilla Loiotile

It is in Milan that the first “Concept Store” was born but it is in Rome that the “Concept Street” is filled with taste and originality. Under the name Fòndaco are united different places characterized by the same stylistic sign.

We are talking about “via della Frezza”, an address in the historic center, the object of a restructuring aimed at giving back to the Romans and tourists a street where they can indulge in any kind of treat.

A Fòndaco in the Middle Ages was a building that stood near the port, common in the Italian Maritime Republics, designed for foreign merchants who used them as warehouses, to exercise their businesses and sometimes even to stay.

By coincidence via della Frezza is behind the ancient Port of Ripetta that supplied the Romans with all kinds of goods.


Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

It is this way of drawing inspiration from the past and making it actual and innovative that fascinates us by this place where you can do many things.

You can buy as well admire the works of international artists in the art gallery, the bookshop or the boutique, as well as through the lighting that decorates the shops.

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Contemporary photography is the other constant that you find in all areas. Along with great masters such as Gabriele Basilico, we also discovered international names or the unexpected lesser recognizable works of photojournalist Magnum Paolo Pelligrin.

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

You can also find shops selling outdoor furniture such as the exclusive brand OLUA. There are also home and office shops, a music shop, and a pet shop. Then there are areas such as a tea room, a chocolate shop, an American bar and even a laboratory kitchen. Fòndaco is also a place where you can feel special in three suggestive suites and take care of your body and mind in the “day spa”.

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

In the boutique, you can find a calibrated mix of Made in Italy brands less known to the general public that are based on traditional tailoring, such as Maurizio Pecoraro and Aquilano Rimondi. These brands together with emerging designers and some selected foreign brands (but produced in Italy) make it an international address. Then you have Elisabetta Cipriani’s jewelry “Artwork to be Worn”. A well-known gallerist who invites renowned international sculptors and painters to create exclusive wearable pieces with the use of precious materials. These pieces are created in limited collections or as one-off items.

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

It is impossible to absorb all that Fòndaco has to offer in a single visit because every object has been chosen for the story it tells. Each selected brand marries the same values of competence, aesthetics, ethics, and perfection as the entire project.

Shop The Story

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Fondaco Roma


Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Fondaco Roma


Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Fondaco Roma


Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Fondaco Roma

N° 312 BL – BL ROUND

Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Fondaco Roma


Guide to Shopping in Fòndaco Roma | Where to Shop | Travelshopa

Fondaco Roma


Explore more about Fondaco Roma.

Via della Frezza, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Frequent attendance recommended.

The George Inn, Montclair

Most are familiar with Bobbi Brown and her hugely successful namesake cosmetics company. However, since her departure from the brand entrepreneurial adventure have taken off again. With her husband, Steven Plofker, a real estate developer and lawyer, she recently refurbished and opened a boutique hotel THE GEORGE INN in Montclair, New Jersey, a suburban town 45 minutes north-west of New York. The timeless, masculine interiors are a nod to the personality each of the 32 rooms is named after. Curious to see more? Perhaps it is time to book a trip to take a look for yourself.

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa
Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

Moss & Spy

Corinne Dress Midnight

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

The Store by Fairfax

Kuchi Puppy Tora Bora

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa



Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

The Society Inc

Indigo 83

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa


Candle Stand, Molecular 4, Brass Plated

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

La Maison


Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

La Maison

Oscar Mirror

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa


Collection 10

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

Bungalow 55

Calais Antique Brown Floor Lamp

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

Journey East

Luxurious Soft Brown Leather Sofa

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

Eclectic Find

Stunning Hallmarked Sterling Silver 1930’s Trophy

Gorgeous George | The Edit | Travelshopa

Coco Republic

Flag Scatter Cushion Australia

Sarah Rasheed on Dubai

Sarah Rasheed on Dubai | Insider's Guide | Travelshopa

Images: Sarah Rasheed

Born in Damascus, Syria, SARAH RASHEED moved to DUBAI with her parents when she was 5 years old. As the Senior Beauty Editor of Marie Claire Arabia she knows what's in and out in the Middle East's mecca of all things style. Here, she shares her insider tips for the city she and her family have considered their second home for 25 years.

Dubai is…

Fast growing, rich in superlatives and very luxurious.

Favourite thing about Dubai…

Meeting people from all over the world

Fondest memory of Dubai…

The UAE consists of seven Emirates so I used to like cruising the Emirates with my family on the weekends, visiting different cities and experiencing different vibes within the same country.

One fun fact about the local people

Emiratis tend to keep themselves away from the main tourist mass, so it’s rarely unlikely to get to chat with one on the beach.

Best time to visit Dubai

Anytime from December until April. The weather is great then with lots of sunshine and amazing alfresco cuisines that you can get to try.

A local tidbit should one must know about Dubai

If you are planning to visit the city and tag your Instagram photo in Dubai, use the hashtag #MyDubai .

One must pack…

Summer dresses, comfy sandals, hats. Make sure to get a nice cocktail dress, if you are planning to party or dine in a fancy restaurant. I would also suggest bringing chic sunglasses to block away the rays and a good SPF to keep your skin protected.

Sarah Rasheed on Dubai | Insider's Guide | Travelshopa

Sarah’s Blackbook

Favourite things to see 

The Dubai Mall fountain, Dubai Cycling Tour and Art Days in Dubai

Favourite places to stay

Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel, Four Seasons Jumeirah, One & Only the Palm and XVA Art Hotel

Favourite places to eat

II Borro Tuscan BistroLa SerreLogma and Abd El Wahab

Favourite places to shop

Shop at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Dubai Mall and visit Old Dubai, where there is a variety of local markets that you will get to experience

Favourite things to do 

Do underwater yoga at Atlantis the Palm, go horseback riding in the desert at sunset, do a Desert Safari and take a cruise in a traditional boat in the Dubai Creek.

Must-see/do in Dubai

Visit Burj Khalifa and see Dubai from the highest building in the world, go to Aquaventure Waterpark and Burj Al Arab, as well as visit Al Bastakiya.

Sarah Rasheed on Dubai | Insider's Guide | Travelshopa

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