Halfway between Osaka and Kobe lies the city of Nishinomiya. There, less than two years ago, the Hankyu corporation opened Western Japan’s largest shopping center, Nishinomiya Gardens. This massive shopping mall was built on the site of a demolished stadium just a short walk from Nishinomiya Kitaguchi, the city’s busiest train station.
Having free time on my hands, I thought I’d visit the mall to escape the summer heat.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Garden’s lack of customers and well air conditioned interior. Conversely, the last time I had visited it was near the holidays and the place was packed with people and uncomfortably hot.
Unlike most public places in Japan, I could find a seat with ease — the mall was almost dead. It must be tough for business. I wonder if a western style mall is right for Japanese consumers.
This guy was enjoying his new iPhone — he must of got in early during the preorder! I’ve been told from Softbank and the Apple Store that they’re sold out for weeks. I’m on the wait list now, but half of me wants to wait for an iPhone 4.5 without the antenna issue (I’m left handed) and the vulnerable rear glass panel (please go back to aluminum or plastic!).
The mall is nicely styled. It has natural lighting with spacious walkways that create a relaxed, slower paced atmosphere.
However, it got me wondering if such a shopping environment is well suited for Japanese consumers. From my observations, it seems that Osaka people are attracted to crowded and seemingly chaotic retail spaces. It’s kind of like when you’re searching for a restaurant and you automatically skip the ones that look empty.
Speaking of restaurants, the fourth level of the mall is dedicated to food; however, If you explore the place fully, you’ll also find eateries placed here and there.
The Sasebo Burger joint is on the bottom floor amongst regular retail shops. It’s almost like a fast food sneak attack!
Summer sales are in full effect!
Do you dress Funny? This is a western style cowboy store. But still very much Japanese.
Eventually I had to buy something. Just a shirt that was on sale from Rage Blue.