When a person is feeling sad or is stressed out due to a plethora of reasons such as work or personal issues, there are usually certain ways to release that negative feeling. While some people may opt to sleep it off so they can relax their mind and body or to exercise to release endorphins that would give them more energy and happy hormones, others prefer to travel. This is because traveling provides this feeling of exhilaration being in another place altogether. Not only that but being able to immerse one’s self in another culture is a feeling unlike any other. To further release that negative energy from stress, one may also opt to shop. After all, retail therapy for the stressed mind is just as effective. If that were the case, then traveling to Japan would definitely be hitting two birds with one stone. Not only is Japan known for their magnificent scenic views, the country is also known to be among the best places to shop because of its various outlet malls all across the country.
Outlet malls in the Land of the Rising Sun not only carry domestic brands but international brands as well. The line of products that they offer can range from fashion and electronics to food and household items. Luxury goods are also being sold in these outlet malls. If one is looking for products that are ridiculously cheap then these outlet malls might not be for you; one can opt to check out shopping districts instead. On the other hand, these outlet malls definitely offer products that are sold at a better and lower price as compared to the normal retail shops. For those who love sales, outlet malls in Japan also hold various sales throughout the year. Shopping in outlet malls in Japan can also be a different experience as these are usually designed with an open-air concept with open plazas and covered walkways that link several stores in the mall. To further entice the foreign tourists to shop in Japan, several outlet malls offer tax-free shopping to foreign visitors of the country.
Shopping in Premium Outlet Malls in Tokyo: Shisui and Gotemba
Among the top cities that tourists visit in Japan is Tokyo. This is because of how modernized the city is and how accessible Tokyo is to other places. There are also various tourist attractions that Tokyo has to offer, but probably among the top things to do in the city is shopping. This is probably due to the fact that the city has shopping districts and outlet malls that people would go crazy shopping at. Fret not for foreign visitors as Tokyo is a friendly place for tourists, so much so that certain shops in the city carry not only Asian-sized clothing but also Western-sized clothing and footwear for those with bigger body build.
Because of the huge number of outlet malls in Tokyo that one can visit, it can be rather intimidating or confusing as to which outlet malls should one visit. Hence, this shall work as a guide as to which outlet malls are worth the visit. For the regular outlet malls, there are tons that one can opt to shop at, but if one is looking for an indoor outlet mall, then Venus Fort may be for you. Located in Odaiba, it can be accessed through the Tokyo Teleport Station. Venus Fort is called a hybrid shopping mall because while it is a regular shopping mall, the third floor known as the Venus Outlet holds about 50 outlet stores like Levi’s and Puma. What also sets Venus Fort apart is its theme based on the look of a Venetian town. A special feature of this motif is the artificial sky in the mall that changes color throughout the day. Shops in Venus Fort are open from 11 am to 9 pm while restaurants are open from 11 am to 11 pm.
Another great outlet mall is the LakeTown Outlet in Saitama Prefecture. Famous as the biggest eco-friendly shopping center in the country, LakeTown Outlet is part of Aeon LakeTown and is owned by the Aeon group. LakeTown Outlet is literally located beside a lake, hence, shoppers can enjoy its natural surroundings while shopping. while the outlet mall only consists of two floors, they still offer domestic and international brands like ASICS, Keyuca, and Coach. This outlet mall is open from 10 am to 8 pm.
There are also premium outlet malls in the city of Tokyo, one of them being the Shisui Premium Outlets. Newly opened in the year 2013, this premium outlet mall is accessible either by direct bus from Narita Airport or by a 15 to 20-minute bus ride from Shisui Station. For tourists who are just dropping by Narita Airport due to a long layover, they may spend some time shopping in this premium outlet due to its close proximity to the airport. Being just a new addition to the various outlet malls in the Kanto region, Shisui Premium Outlets hold about 180 shops that offer both local and international brands. The premium outlet mall also offers shopping deals for foreign tourists such as the Narita Transit Program, which consists of a souvenir and discount coupons.
Last but certainly not the least is probably the most well-known outlet mall in the whole of Kanto region: the Gotemba Premium Outlets. This premium outlet mall can be accessed by free shuttle buses from Gotemba Station by direct buses from Shinagawa Station, or by bus rides from Shinjuku and Tokyo Station. Just by its easy accessibility, it is apparent that many people visit Gotemba Premium Outlets. Situated in a town that is quite near to Mt. Fuji, the Gotemba Premium Outlet is considered as the flagship center of the Premium Outlets chain. It holds 210 shops that consist both local and international brands and several of them offer special discounts to foreign tourists. Many tourists join combined Mt. Fuji and Gotemba shopping tour for that overall experience. Another great thing about this premium outlet mall is that it houses a Ferris wheel, a cinema, and a kiddie playground. The mall is open from 10 am to 8 pm from March to November and from 10 am to 7 pm from December to February.
Osaka Premium Outlet Malls for the Shopaholic
Another city that is jam-packed by foreign tourists is Osaka. The cities of Tokyo and Osaka are usually compared to each other because of the overall experiences that they can offer to tourists. While each city has its own special offers that appeal to the public, one of the things that both Tokyo and Osaka has to offer is the shopping experience. Shopping in Osaka is also great due to it housing various outlet malls that visitors will surely love. One of the notable malls in the city is the Kishiwada CanCan Bayside Mall. The look and feel of this mall were based on a warehouse district of a port town in Britain. Located in Kishiwada, Osaka, the Kishiwada CanCan Bayside Mall is composed of two buildings, namely, the EAST and the WEST. The EAST contains community-based specialty stores while the WEST is an outlet mall with a cinema complex built in. About a hundred shops offer both local and imported products in this outlet mall that range from fashion to luxury goods. There are also amusement facilities in the area for those who are shopping with kids. One can also relax after a whole day of shopping as the mall is situated on the seafront. It can be accessed through a 10-minute car ride from Kansai International Airport.
As for premium outlets, there are basically two malls that are popular in Osaka. First is the Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets. The design of this premium outlet malls was based on Pasadena, a town just outside of Los Angeles. The Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlet is considered as one of the biggest outlet malls in the west side of the country. it houses 220 stores with high-end brands like Gucci and Bally. It can be accessed either by train or by bus from Osaka. While the building consists of only a single story, the array of choices is quite wide and may take a full day to shop. The other premium outlet that is popular in Osaka is the Rinku Premium Outlets. Just like Kobe-Sanda, Rinku houses not less than 200 shops that consist of both local and international brands. Its design was based on an American port city known as Charleston. Situated in Rinku Town just on the opposite shore of Kansai International Airport, Rinku Premium Outlets can be accessed by a 20-minute shuttle bus ride from the airport. There are different levels of product lines to choose from, such as household brands, restaurants, and fashion brands like Coach and Banana Republic.
Shopping in Mitsui Outlet Park Branches in Cities like Nagoya and Kisarazu
One of the biggest chains of malls in all of Japan is the Mitsui Outlet Park. It has branches all over the country like in Kanagawa, in Saitama, and in Chiba. Probably the two largest branches are in Iruma and in Kisarazu, with Iruma housing more than 200 shops and Kisarazu housing around 248 stores. The variety of shops in Mitsui Outlet Parks can range from fashion, electronic goods, household items to even pet and gardening stores in certain branches. This chain of outlet malls also offers both local and international brands so any person would definitely find something worth buying. The Kisarazu branch is the latest addition to the chain and was designed based on a green and natural environment. It also has that seaside atmosphere that would definitely help shoppers relax after a long day of shopping. Travelers that fly in and out of the city of Tokyo would definitely find this branch as the go-to outlet mall as there are frequent buses that travel to and from Haneda Airport.
Another branch that is just near the city of Nagoya is the Mitsui Outlet Park – Jazz Dream Nagashima in Kuwana. Located beside an amusement park just outside of Nagoya known as the Nagashima Spaland, this outlet mall is definitely accessible to those staying in Nagoya. This would definitely be a go-to shopping place for those who also love hot springs as this brand is near Nagashima Onsen. Not only that but for those who would also like to visit shrines, this branch can be included in the day trip to Ise Shrines.
Other Great Outlet Malls in Japan: Ami in Ibaraki, Karuizawa in Nagano, and Ashibinaa in Okinawa
Other places in Japan also offer their own notable outlet malls. One premium outlet mall that is quite notable is the Ami Premium Outlets in Inashiki, Ibaraki. Being the third premium outlet mall to open in the Kanto region just after Gotemba and Sano, the Ami Premium Outlets have about 150 stores that visitors can shop in. Located near the Ami-Higashi interchange on the Ken-O Expressway, this premium outlet mall is certainly accessible especially to those who drive cars. This premium outlet mall is open from 10 am to 8 pm every day of the year except on the third Thursday of the month of February. The Ami Premium Outlets offer both domestic and international brands and also offer special discounts to individual tourists.
One of the country’s biggest outlet malls is the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza in Nagano. Located just beside the main station of Karuizawa, it is very accessible to the public. It is so popular that this shopping center is definitely placed on the map of places to visit when traveling to Japan. Tourists who visit this place can also include sightseeing golfing during summer, and skiing during winter in their agenda. Shops and most restaurants in this outlet mall are open from 10 am to 7 pm. It offers free Wi-Fi to visitors who would like to get on the internet while shopping and tax-free products to foreign tourists. As for visitors staying in Okinawa, an outlet mall of interest would be the Ashibinaa outlet mall. Open from 10 am to 8 pm, this outlet mall has a lot to offer when it comes to brands both local and international and to the range of products being sold.
Shopping in Japan would definitely be a different experience as compared to other places because of the many things that the country has to offer. Not only is it great because outlet stores offer regular discounts, but foreign tourists also get special discounts and most products are tax-free. Hence, outlet malls in Japan should definitely be part of the to-go list.