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They are female staff, neatly dressed in uniform with the task to tend to the elevators. They provide relevant information to customers as the elevator goes through the different levels and act according to requests by customers to alight at specific floors. Unfortunately, the number of elevator girls has decreased in recent times, presumably due to cost cutting measures, but they can still be found at some of the bigger stores in Tokyo and Osaka.
Another element is the impeccable presentation of the goods, especially if they are bought as gifts. Products are usually already nicely packaged by the manufacturer in the first place. As gifts, they would be given an additional layer of packaging or some other decoration such as ribbons. They would then be placed in carriers bearing the name of the department store to demonstrates that the gifts have been obtained from a reputable source. Opening hours are typically from ten in the morning to eight in the evening.
The restaurants tend to open later at about eleven but also close later at night. Department stores are open on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays as these are the most popular shopping days. Some stores are instead closed on one weekday per week or month.
Many stores close on January 1. At major department stores, foreign tourists are often able to get a refund on the consumption tax for purchases of over 10, yen or 5, yen in case of consumable goods, such as food and cosmetics.
Payment should first be made as usual, after which shoppers bring the receipts, purchased goods and their passport to a dedicated duty free counter in the store to receive their refund. Every major city has one or more department stores.
The stores are usually located in the city center or around large train stations, and many of them actually belong to the same parent company as the railway companies.
Major department store chains that can be found across Japan include Isetan-Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya and Daimaru-Matsuzakaya. In addition, there are many chains that operate mainly within certain regions or cities. The cosmetics section is usually on the first floor. Nice desserts can be found at the food section. Tokyo The capital is a shopper's paradise with many districts having multiple department stores: Ginza is Tokyo's, and perhaps Japan's, most famous upmarket shopping district; Shibuya is a center for youth fashion and culture; Shinjuku has a busy shopping area around the world's busiest railway station; and Ikebukuro has several large department stores around its station.
Osaka Osaka is the economic center of western Japan. Many department stores can be found mostly around its two main city centers of Umeda and Namba.
Besides the nationwide chains, shoppers in Osaka will also find local chains such as Kintetsu, Hankyu and Hanshin. Japan's largest department store is located in Abeno Harukas , the country's tallest skyscraper. Kyoto Shijo-dori Street is the main shopping district in Kyoto , featuring Takashimaya and Daimaru department stores. Company revenues from non-retailing operating segments are removed unless otherwise noted; system-wide sales are provided when the operation is a franchise.
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