Loft (株式会社ロフト Kabushiki Gaisha Rofuto) is a Japanese chain store that sells everyday commodities: a wide range of high-quality products available. Their unique selection make them popular with both Japanese and foreigners alike. There are Loft franchise stores in Japan and Thailand.
Loft is a paradise for shoppers looking for unique souvenirs. Some stores offer a corner dedicated to Japanese goods, with products ranging from bookmarks and playing cards to pottery and patterned wall hangings. In the summertime, folding fans and tenugui towels are perfect for beating the heat. Cooler weather sees many shops selling umbrellas with Japanese designs. The large cosmetics department boasts unique facial masks and Japanese-brand lotions. Shoppers may even enjoy a visit to the housewares department to stock up on lacquerware, sushi-making paraphernalia or chopsticks and other kitchen utensils.
Loft is also an excellent place to fulfill any stationary needs. There is a wide range of beautiful paper products, many of which are made from traditional washi paper. Washi is used as a component of several other unique items as well. In the winter, many Loft stores sell special New Year’s cards known as nengajo, which are sent to friends and family with best wishes for the coming year. Year-round, a selection of greeting cards can be purchased – cards with summer themes will go on sale beginning in April 2016.
Perhaps one of Loft’s most unique services is their new 3-D printing department. With a bank of cameras, Loft’s printing department can take multiple photos from one or two subjects (babies, children, couples, pets and so on) and turn them into a small-scale plaster figurine that is an exact replica. These keepsakes are perfect for commemorating special events, such as weddings, births or other important milestones, or simply for the novelty of seeing yourself (or your loved one) in perfectly-printed 3D form. Figurine sizes range from 10cm to 35cm, with prices falling between ¥30,000 to ¥175,000. While the printing can take up to several week’s to complete, the store is able to ship figurines to the majority of countries around the world.
Foreign travelers will find it beneficial to do their shopping at Loft. Visitors who show their foreign passport upon check out will automatically receive a 5% discount on any bill totaling over ¥1080. Several of the store branches also offer a duty free tax refund counter, where visitors who possess a tourist visa stamp in their passport can receive a refund of the 8% sales tax applied to their purchases. To receive this discount, travelers must spend either ¥5,001 (including tax) on expendable supplies (ie food, cosmetics) or their bill must exceed ¥10,001 (including tax) on general supplies (ie appliances, clothing, accessories).
Loft has numerous branches around Tokyo, including in oft-visited neighborhoods such as Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Ueno and the Tokyo Station area. Travelers can also find branches in Japan’s major cities, from Sapporo and Asahikawa in Hokkaido and Sendai in the northern Tohoku region, to Kyoto and Kanazawa in central Japan and the Hokuriku region, and down to Oita and Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu. In total, there are over 100 Loft stores scattered across the archipelago, ready to welcome overseas travelers.