Top Ten Outlet Malls Within a Day Trip of Tokyo

Top Ten Outlet Malls within a day trip of Tokyo

For those of you who love to shop and bargain, a great way to experience Japan is by visiting some of the outlet malls in and around Tokyo. They can make great date spots or be a fun way for the family to spend a day as there are usually facilities for kids too.

1. La Fete Tama Minami Osawa

Styled in to be a little like Provence in South France (little bit of a stretch) this spacious mall is a nice place to spend a day shopping and sampling the restaurants and cafes. There is also a toho movie theater nearby. Has the usual mix of sports, outdoor, fashion, lifestyle goods, pets, furniture etc. The spacious environment and greenery of Minami Osawa make this a relaxing day out.

2. Grandberrry mall

Grenberry mall is quite large and although it is an outlet mall, it also includes all manner of shops, from pet stores and hairdressers, to lifestyle and fashion shops. This mall is divided into four zones; a family and family life themed zone, a fresh foods zone, an outlet mall zone, and a communication and entertainment zone.

3. Lala Port

Lala Port has continued to grow through successive additions since its inception in 1981. It is now home to more than 540 stores, including many brand name stores, fashion houses, movie theater etc. It is one of the largest shopping malls in Japan and is located just on the border of Tokyo in Chiba, Funabashi.

4. Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza

Fashion is the main focus for this outlet mall, although there is a little of something for everyone. There is an imax theater, bowling alley and there are plenty of restaurants to enjoy. In the vicinity there is also a ski field and a couple of Onsens to enjoy (Hoshino Onsen is recommended).

5. Premium Outlet Mall at Gotenba

This outlet mall is one of the more expansive shopping malls around and has views of Mt Fuji on a clear day. There is every manner of foreign and domestic fashion brand as well as lifestyle stores and some 20 fooderies. There is a large ferris wheel and a play area for the kids. This is a popular mall and can get very crowded on public holidays and at bargain times.

6. Mitsui Outlet Park Iruma

This large Outlet mall has over 200 shops, 180 of them outlet stores. The main focus is on fashion. There is everything from kids fashion, outdoor and sports fashion, to accesories and fashion magazines. 44 shops opened their first Japan outlet store here, so there is definitely value in taking a look.The food court has 11 shops. There are six restaurants and three cafes to choose from and you can even take your pet. There are also facilities for babies and you can rent a baby cart if you wish.

7. Outlet Park Makuhari

This outlet mall has over 90 stores, mainly fashion-focused. The mall is a fairly open planned two-storey complex and is easy to get around. There are more than 30 restaurants.

8. Outlet Mall Rism

This was the first outlet mall in Japan so is a little older than others on this list. However, with about 40 stores, it is a relaxed place to shop for an afternoon.

9. Outlet Park Yokohama Bayside

Outlet shopping mall near one of Asia’s largest marinas. This is a lovely spot by the sea packed with shops all selling at 30 to 70% off. Yokohama is a nice spot to shop as it is more open and expansive than Tokyo. Enjoy the big open skies of Yokohama and the lovely sea breeze while you shop or hang out at one of the myriad of open air cafes. There is everything from brand name clothes, outdoor goods, shoes, casual wear, to household goods and restaurants

10. Sano Premium Outlets

There are about 180 domestic and overseas brands in buildings styled on U.S. east coast architecture. This store has an open and green feel to it with Mt. Mikamo behind it to the east.

It is about 40 minutes by car or 90 minutes from Shinjuku’s south exit (JR Highway bus terminal).

Secrets of a Fashion Daredevil – #1 How to Wear What the Skinny Girls Wear

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What the Fashion Daredevil wants the Fashion Daredevil gets

I love shopping with my friends, those special days we take to the malls to try everything on in hopes of finding that new favorite dress. On those days of dressing room rumors it is never more apparent that no two women are created equal. What looks good on some looks equally as bad on others (didn’t Versace say that?, well someone did).

We all want to look good in whatever we try on, especially if it’s a hot new fashion. Everyone has clothes that fit them better than the rest, its the spice of life, but wouldn’t it be great if we could fit into any pair of designer jeans or that new Alexander Wang Leopard Print Dress. There are many reasons a “unique fit” results from something as standard as clothing sizes. In part, fashion designers design for models. Often these models are not real people, well they are real people, but let’s face it they are models; skinny, tinny, weenie models. It should be no surprise that our 5’9″ 90 lb friends (BTW, I don’t call these people friends any more) look better in high fashion than we do. To be fair many designers design for real people, but in the end the really cool fashions, the ones we wish we could wear are designed by stylistas for young women. As I write this, I dream of walking into a party wearing a Diane von Furstenberg dress complete with complementing young men and whispering two faced co-workers.

I want that dream but just short of giving up my kids to take up a life of purging, fasting and 24 hour fitness I don’t think its possible. Wait, don’t be so negative, you’re the fashion daredevil and what the fashion daredevil wants the fashion daredevil gets. After a moment of, “where there’s a will there’s a way”, “necessity is the mother of invention” and the vision of Anthony Robbins giant teeth, Body Shapers came to mind like a premonition. It makes perfect sense, I mean celebs are wearing them (cheaters). There are all kinds of new ones on the market, hell I’ve even seen plastic surgeons hocking them on TV. These don’t look like Grandma’s girdles, they are sleek, strong and technologically advanced. Can these, discretely disguised as underwear, secret weapons really work? I had to try one.

Quickly I ran to the computer and Googled, “body shapers” up came a list of about a million pages. I clicked the link top on the list: “Shape your body with some lame electronic stimulator”; what the hell…, this isn’t what I was looking for. Scanning down the first page I saw a company link “Telegaleria, largest selection of body shapers…professional help”; sounds good I clicked it. Finally, a place devoted to “Body Shapers” those under garments for invisibly slimming and shaping my body. There were so many to choose from: Cinchers, Butt Lifters, Body Suits and more; there was even High Compression Powernet. Powernet? Was this some electronic body vise? Great selection but I needed help so I clicked the Live Chat button and got Ana, one of Telegaleria’s body shaper experts. I explained to her that I was looking to slim my body and get a better fit from my clothing, you know like the celebrities do (What’s good enough for Jessica Alba is good enough for me). Ana was great, she quickly assessed my situation, determined my body shape, sized me using the site’s exclusive eTailor and offered up options. Since giving birth a few years back my tummy never fully recovered and days of taking care of a family and not myself so much has taken its toll. I needed the most help with my tummy and butt so Ana recommended something called a lipo effect body shaper made from of all things, Powernet. There were more than several in the category to choose from but I settled on a brand called Vedette model 301. I finished the order online and waited.

Three days later, pretty fast considering, I received a manila envelope containing a nicely packaged Body Shaper from Telegaleria. Eager to see if it would work I ran upstairs to tried it on, stubbing my toe at the bottom of the stairs and half limping to my room I readied myself for the new me. I pulled this tiny thing from the package, “holy crap how was I going to fit into this”, I thought. I sat down and I put my leg in shimmied left then right and pulled up the body shaper. I’m not lying it was tight and a bit of a stretch to put on. My first impression was NO WAY, this is too tight, geez Powernet means P-O-W-E-R-N-E-T and it really pulled me in. After I caught my breath and gave it a minute (well really about 10) I started to feel more comfortable, the initial shock was over and I could see it was working. I stood in front of the mirror and damn if I wasn’t thinner. I looked like a goof but I was thinner. Now that I had it on I had to test it out. Running to my closet and digging way to the back I knew just the dress to try out. A few years back, when money was less of an object, I bought a Versace dress on vacation that was a size too small and regrettably never fit me as well as I would have liked. Now, there is no way I was getting into that dress without help. Hell, if I put it on without a shaper I am sure it would rip the first time I bent over. Anyway, I pulled it out, dusted it off, and slipped it on. OH-MY-GOD, it slipped on! I didn’t just fit in it, I-FIT-IN-IT! I looked great! The first sight of myself in the mirror was music to my eyes and I enjoyed the sort of satisfied inebriation one gets when success is realized. The dress draped on me like it was suppose to. I stood tall, turned all the way around, twisting my head keeping my eyes on my new image in the mirror. Unbelievable, it fits, it really fits, now I am not going to say I couldn’t feel the body shaper, I felt it but I feel a lot of things that make me beautiful. I thought, “I could handle this”. It was a small price to pay for beauty, besides I didn’t starve or have to endure hours of work-outs. One moment I was me the next I was fashionable.

Dallas-Fort Worth Shopping Mall Bites The Dust

Richardson Square, a shopping center mall, located at the intersection of Plano and Belt Line Roads in Richardson, TX is now closed.

Ross Dress for Less, Sears and Super Target remain open.

I can’t say it’s a surprise, though. Upon my visit to Richardson Square in October 2006, there were only 41 merchants that remained open. This was a 45% decrease from my prior visit in April, 2006.

During my October visit, there might have been 75-100 visitors in the entire mall, on a Saturday no less. And most of these were just walking around – not very many people were actually in the stores.

There were very few national chains that remained open. Tenants were mostly local or regional stores and lightly visited. And considering what lease space costs at malls these days, I’m only guessing that the remaining tenants weren’t even making enough money to pay the rent.

What are the ultimate reasons for Richardson Square’s demise? I think they were basically these:

No Curb Appeal. Richardson Square opened in 1977 and only once in 20 years did they attempt a facelift at all, in 1998. And this was basically paint and new tile on the inside – nothing on the outside to draw visitors. It’s like placing your house on the market – it better have curb appeal or no one is going to come inside to see your newly remodeled kitchen.

I just visited Richardson Square again on Saturday, 5/19/07. Besides the mall proper, the perimeter stores are lacking in curb appeal. Some of the buildings look almost deserted, even though they were open for business.

Location, Location, Location. Traffic in Dallas-Fort Worth almost dictates that a shopping center or mall be relatively easy to reach. Unless you lived fairly close to Richardson Square, you more than likely will be coming from 635. Richardson Square is about five miles and several traffic lights from 635.

Economic Demographics. This is kind of a hard thing to write about because it may make a few folks uncomfortable. But it’s a trend I’ve noticed over several years of studying and visiting malls. The areas surrounding a mall can sometimes be an indicator of the mall’s future. When I first visited a cousin of mine in Richardson in the late 1970′s, the area was a very upscale, thriving neighborhood. In the last few years, the fading curb appeal of the entire area around Richardson Square has been very noticeable. I’m not sure where the economic balance changes, but once the relative affluence of a community lowers to a certain point, or at least doesn’t keep up with other communities, the demise of the mall is soon to follow.

Age Demographics. The age demographics of an area could be an influence as well. If the neighborhoods close to the mall have a lot of teenagers, 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings, there will probably be good mall traffic. If the surrounding communities have a lot of retirees, or close-to-it’s, then the mall traffic is less.

Failure To Keep Up With Shoppers’ Trends. Malls must constantly re-invent themselves to entice current customers to come back, and to attract new visitors. Richardson Square did not do this. For years, malls could rely just on their novelty to attract crowds. Remember when it was an adventure just to “go to the mall?” You’d go to just gawk at the phenomenon. Now there had better be a lot more than just shopping! Malls have carousels, play areas, food courts, and ice rinks to draw families. On any weekend, there might be a car show, a fashion show, contests, celebrity appearances and tons of other events to draw visitors. Regular recipients of The Mall Pages e-Zine may have noticed that Richardson Square was never in my list of events.

What is to become of Richardson Square? According an article in the July 21, 2006 Dallas Business Journal, a major portion of the mall will be demolished to make room for a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center. This should begin summer ’07.

For those who shopped at Richardson Square, your closest option of the DFW metroplex shopping malls is probably Firewheel Town Center in Garland.