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att. Culture - Outlet malls - a la japonais
att. Culture - Outlet malls - a la japonais
att.JAPAN Issue 26, January 2006

Outlet malls - a la japonais

 What is an "outlet mall"?
Outlet malls are an idea conceived in the U.S. in the 1980s. Japan's first outlet mall was opened in 1993 and in the years since, new malls have been opening one after the other all over the nation, becoming more and more popular as time passes. At the beginning most outlet malls were believed to sell only stock quantities and / or damaged goods but that image is now changing. Modern malls enable visitors to shop all day long and offer access to the most recognizable brand-name products, all in a large resort like facility.

The products sold at outlet malls today are actually a given makers' samples (some samples never actually went into production and so have increased value for collectors and many have associated rarity value because they are sold only in such malls), previous year stock and less than perfect goods.

In general, it is not always possible to find something you like in terms of size, style and color. so when you do, you feel all the better for it. Furthermore, in recent years, in addition to malls offering the stock of earlier years and older designer goods, more recent stock is starting to dominate shelf space meaning that you may even be able to obtain the current year's newer lines just a few months after they first appeared.

 Use outlet malls wisely
Since you are taking the time and paying the money to travel to an outlet mall, obtaining items at reasonable cost is essential. Finding them is the key. As most outlet malls are immense in terms of size and offerings, take care not to become irritated later in the day as you start to feel tired because you rushed around at the start. Plan your trip accordingly and check out the specific shops you want to visit to avoid letting irritation deprive you of the bargains you hope to pin down. Of course, with ample time and enough energy, you could visit all of the shops.

Another aspect of careful shopping are sales and the dates sales start and run for should be kept in mind as although products at the outlet malls are already discounted, during sale time you can get the same goods even cheaper. NB: some sales start around the time the department stores are ending their own sales.

Map Other charms of the outlet malls
Unlike most existing shopping centers, the large outlet malls found in Japan are largely wide open spaces sometimes surrounded by nature. Not only can you feel as if you have traveled abroad at some locations but visits can be combined with a stroll through the surrounding natural scenery and even a side visit to a local sightseeing area.

The following is a list of recommended outlet malls with easy access to public transport. Please note that some of these malls hold sales from late January to February and checking in advance to confirm the best time to pick up the cheapest bargains is highly recommended.
(the number of shops indicated in each outlet mall was correct as of November, 2005 and is subject to change without notice).

 Sano Premium Outlets
Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, is one of Japan's most famous sightseeing areas as millions of people annually visit the Nikko Toshogu Shrine to the former Shogun of Japan. Sano Premium Outlets in the same prefecture hosts approximately 100 famous domestic and international brand shops and is close to Nikko. Based on a town on the East Coast of the US of A, Sano is famous for its "Sano Ramen" and is not too far from Fukushima Airport for those flying in or out.
78 Shintoshi Sano, Sano City, Tochigi Prefecture
TEL: 0283-20-5800
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/sano/ (Japanese, English)

Garden Walk Makuhari Garden Walk Makuhari
Garden Walk Makuhari is close to both Chiba Marine Stadium, home ground of the professional baseball team Chiba Lotte Marines - the Japan Series champions of 2005, and also the famous Makuhari Messe - venue for the Tokyo Motor Show. Some 30 minutes from Tokyo by train, Garden Walk hosts approximately 90 shops and overall is a relaxed mall when compared to others. Garden Walk Makuhari is close to Narita International Airport and Tokyo Disneyland.
2-6-1, Hibino, Mihama-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture
TEL: 043-212-8200
http://www.gardenwalk-outlet.com/ (Japanese, English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, and Korean)

 La Fete Tama Minami Osawa
The motif of La Fete Tama Minami Osawa looks like a town in Provencal southern France and with its wide open layout and approximately 80 shops is a nice day out in western Tokyo. Sanrio Puroland is nearby for the kids - big or small.
1-600, Minami Osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo
TEL: 0426-70-5777
http://www.lafete-outlet.com/ (Japanese only)

 Yokohama Bayside Marina Shops and Restaurants
Yokohama Bayside Marina is based on an east coast USA 19th century port town. Facing one of the largest marinas in Asia, a stroll to enjoy the sea breeze can be fun in the right weather.
5-2, Shiraho, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
TEL: 045-775-4446
http://www.bayside-outlet.com/ (Japanese only)

Gotemba Premium Outlets Gotemba Premium Outlets
Gotemba Premium Outlets is located at the very best place in the nation to see and appreciate Mount Fuji. Hosting many famous brand shops in a traditional western town style, a combination shopping trip / tour of Fuji, Hakone and Izu is recommended as is a look around the Fujikyu Highland theme park nearby.
1312 Fukasawa, Gotemba City, Shizuoka Prefecture
TEL: 0550-81-3122
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/gotemba/ (Japanese, English)

 Toki Premium Outlets
The Toki Premium Outlets, opened in March 2005 and looks just like a Rocky Mountains town transplanted from Colorado, USA - albeit with approximately 85 shops. Convenient access from the new Central Japan International Airport and also sightseeing areas in Gifu Prefecture make this a popular mall to visit.
4-1, Plasma Research Park, Toki, Toki City, Gifu Prefecture
TEL: 0572-53-3160
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/toki/ (Japanese, English)

Jazz Dream Nagashima Jazz Dream Nagashima
The image on which Jazz Dream Nagashima is based is New Orleans, a world famous city of jazz, music and festivals on the Mississippi River. Hosting a wealth of famous shops, visitors can also enjoy a theme park and onsen at the adjacent Nagashima Spa Land. Close to the newly constructed (2005) Central Japan International Airport.
368, Urayasu, Nagashima-cho, Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture
TEL: 0594-45-8700
http://www.jazzdream-outlet.com/ (Japanese, English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, and Korean)

 Tsurumi Hanaport BLOSSOM
When Blossom opened it was the first large outlet mall in Japan. Offering famous brand name shops selling everything from sports goods to outdoor items and also denim based casual brands, it is a place for all the family as well as couples. Blossom is a short 30 minute trip from Osaka.
2-7-70, Matsutaomiya, Tsurumi-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture
TEL: 06-6915-3939
http://www.blossomoutlet.com/ (Japanese, English)

Rinku Premium Outlets Rinku Premium Outlets
The Rinku Premium Outlets is a facility located on the opposite side of Kansai International Airport and is very conveniently located in relation to this hub of international travel. Many famous brand-name shops can be found among the approximately 150 shops.
3-28, Rinku-orai-minami, Izumisano City, Osaka Prefecture
TEL: 0724-58-4600
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/rinku/ (Japanese, English)

 Marine Pia Kobe Porto Bazar
The Marine Pia Kobe Porto Bazar is located in Kobe, a famous town for its fashion sense and its sightseeing. The motif of the Bazar resembles a jovial port town in southern Europe. Facing the Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi Bridge, it offers splendid views and comfortable walking routes. Kobe Airport, which will open in February 2006, is easily accessed and after shopping a recommended way to end the day would include sightseeing in Kobe.
12-2, Kaigandori, Tarumi-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
TEL: 078-709-4466
http://www.portobazar.com/ (Japanese only)

 Tosu Premium Outlets
Tosu Premium Outlets is located in Tosu, Saga Prefecuture, on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu. Not unlike a beautiful, southern California town, Tosu Premium Outlets hosts 90 shops and can be added onto a trip to the nearby Huis Ten Bosch theme park, Arita, famous for Arita ware and the Yoshinogari local ruins.
8-1, Yayoigaoka, Tosu City, Saga Prefecture
TEL: 0942-87-7370
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/tosu/ (Japanese, English)

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