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Department stores / Shopping centers / Fashion buildings / Outlet malls

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Department stores

A department store sells all kinds of goods from food to clothing and jewelry. They do not discount the price except during the bargain season. The major department stores in Japan include "Mitsukoshi", "Matsuzakaya", "Sogo", "Takashimaya", "Isetan" and "Matsuya". Matsuzakaya was established in 1611 and Mitsukoshi in 1637 - a history of nearly 400 years! Even the relatively new Isetan dates back to 1886. All of these stores started out dealing in kimono fabrics and thus, they place a strong emphasis on clothing items. Department stores such as "Tokyu", "Odakyu", "Keio", "Seibu", "Tobu" and "Hankyu" came along much later, but their parent companies were railway companies, and therefore the department stores are conveniently located next to stations. They also focus on developing original brands and services. As a whole, they tend to place emphasis on the food sections in the "Depachika" (department store basement).
 

Shopping centers

These are new complexes established at the city center through area redevelopment. In some cases, world-famous hotels, movie theaters, stage theaters, offices and luxury condominiums are built around super-high-rise buildings. Major shopping centers include Roppongi's "Tokyo Midtown" with its Midtown Tower, the highest building in Tokyo, "Roppongi Hills" with a TV station and observatory, and "Caretta Shiodome" in Shiodome. Moreover, even though they do not have entertainment facilities, popular spots such as "Marubiru (Marunouchi Building)", "Shin-Marubiru (Shin-Marunouchi Building)" and "Marunouchi oazo" were established on the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station. In Toyosu in the bay area, there are large commercial facilities such as "Urban Dock LaLaport Toyosu". The main characteristic shared by all these shopping centers is that they have tenant shops that have advanced in Japan for the first time or brand shops that have developed their business in a unique style. The restaurants always have queues regardless of whether it's day or night. In Osaka, the Umeda area underwent large-scale redevelopment, and super-high-rise buildings were constructed to create "Osaka Garden City" and "Herbis OSAKA" containing flagship brand shops.
 

Fashion buildings - Check popular youth fashion

Fashion buildings specialize in clothing, miscellaneous goods and cosmetics. They have a good range of select shops that carry domestic and overseas brands for women and some shops prepare products according to the sense of the owner. Many fashion buildings also have stage or movie theaters attached. For instance, in Shibuya in Tokyo, there is "PARCO", "109" and "MARUI". In Shinjuku, there is "LUMINE", "MYLORD" and "MARUI", all conveniently located close to the station. "AQUA CITY ODAIBA" and the "Venus Fort" shopping mall with its medieval streets of Europe are also popular as date spots. In Osaka, there is "E-ma", "HEP" with its huge Ferris wheel in Umeda, and "OPA" in Shinsaibashi.
 

Outlet malls - Stocking popular fashions along with tableware and assorted goods

Outlet malls have an atmosphere similar to a theme park but they are actually shopping centers where you can buy brand products at a reasonable price. There are presently about 30 outlet malls in Japan. Both the indoor and outdoor malls have wide passageways, so you can truly enjoy walking around and shopping. The "Rinku Premium Outlet" in Osaka is serviced by a shuttle bus from the Kansai International Airport. The "Town Outlet Mare" facing Osaka Bay is situated in Cosmos Square and you can enjoy it together with the amusement facilities or observatory at the Osaka World Trade Center, which is the tallest observatory in Western Japan. In Tokyo, there is "La Fête Tama" reflecting an image of the streets of Province in the South of France, and the spacious "Grandberry Mall" about 1 hour from the center of Tokyo by train.