A shopaholic's theme park07 October, 2011 by Chad
Mitsui Outlet Parks are a series of designer malls spread all around Japan. Almost all of them are strategically located at ports such as in Sendai or Yokohama and feature factory outlets for a wide range of international, as well as local brands.
Each of these large complexes almost seem like amusement parks made for the sole purpose of shopping, with architecture inspired by other seafaring towns from around the world. Here we take a look around Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe, the Mediterranean themed promenade in Kobe.
The Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe is located at a pier along the Osaka Bay about half an hour West of Kobe. It’s just about a kilometer from the Akashi Kaikyo Pearl Bridge (the world’s longest suspension bridge) and the bridge can be seend clearly from many parts of the complex. This and the mall’s Western setting gives the area a surreal, otherworldly atmosphere. Possibly a calculated plan by the owners to help you lose track of your expenses.
Kobe’s outlet park is made up of a number of spacious two floor shopping complexes, reminiscent of malls you’d find in Australia. Unlike the malls in the city centers that tend to be more specialized, each complex at Mitsui Outlet houses various popular international mid-class brands for a wide range of goods.
In this aspect they resemble Singaporean malls more. But instead of overpriced resellers hogging the shelves, you’ll find that various factory outlets call Mitsui Outlet Park home.
There are over 140 factory outlets here for brands like Coach, Porter, agnes B and Lacoste. The season’s goods can be gotten at a significant discount, while older ranges of products go for a ridiculous steal.
These weren’t just individual items or sale either but rather store wide prices. The Coach, Porter, Nike and Swatch shops that we visited all carried their goods at half the price of stores in Singapore. For comparison, Wilson spotted an agnes B bags that retailed in Singapore for approximately SGD$800 (which he had just picked up in Hong Kong for $500 then) available here for only $250.
Granted the Mitsui Outlets’ are pretty out of the way. And not everyone’s purpose of a holiday is to shop. But while shopping was never high on our list of priorities, we still ended up spending quite a bit of time here while occupied in bargain spotting. Each of us even walked away with a few bags of loot.
If you’re a confessed shopaholic, then I might recommend visiting one of the Mitsui Outlet Parks during your travels to Japan. If you’re in Tokyo then the nearest one would be at Yokohama but is still sufficiently far enough from the main city to prove quite a hassle. We stopped by this particular outlet because it was en-route to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (which is quite a distance from Kobe city too).