From culture and food to technology, everything Japanese is just so thrilling. But the thing I find most interesting is the shopping. For some Japanese people shopping is the same as seeing a movie or going out with friends. There are a wealth of stores selling anything from furniture to the most up-to-date electronics and the hottest fashion brands on the market. Popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor as well as high-end brands such as Armani and Coach line the streets. If you are looking for the best bargains on these popular name brands then I would suggest that you visit one of the many outlet malls around Osaka.
In Osaka there are several large shopping districts such as Umeda, Shinsaibashi, and Tennoji--each with its own unique flavor and atmosphere. A little farther away from the hustle and bustle of these shopping districts there are a handful of outlet malls. Outlet malls are complete malls where name brand retailers have shops that offer deals on off-season items. They’re places where you can spend the whole day just walking around and looking for the best bargains. Here we will take a look at three must-visit shopping outlet malls near Osaka.
The Rinku Premium Outlet is located in Rinku Town, across the water from Kansai International Airport. Home to over 200 shops and restaurants, it’s a shopper’s delight with something for everyone. The Rinku Outlet is open 364 days a year (they are closed on the third Thursday in February) from 10am until 7pm. Restaurants are open until 8pm. They also offer currency exchange, ATMs, lockers, baby stroller rentals, clothing alterations, delivery service and more.
RINKU OUTLET SHOPPING: ALL THE BRANDS
Rinku Outlet has something for everyone. DC, Diesel, Quicksilver, and Stussy are just some of the many street clothing brands that they have. Need a new pair of sneakers to explore Osaka? Nike, Adidas, and Crocs have all the footwear that you might need. Looking for a designer suit or high-end brands? Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jimmy Choo are all here--and all priced at a bargain. Want to have some child-like fun? The Sanrio and Lego shops have all the toys, housewares, and fashion you can imagine. So whether it is something for yourself or shopping for people back home, you are sure to find a good deal here.
RINKU OUTLET DINING: FOOD PARADISE
Getting a little hungry? Rinku Outlet has an array of restaurants and cafes. Among them is Kua’aina, a hawaiian hamburger restaurant. The avocado burger is great. It's also Kua'aina's best-seller. They also have a variety of burgers, sandwiches, and salads. In the mood for some Japanese food? Mametora is a Japanese udon restaurant. The ten-don (tempura bowl) is their most popular dish, but they also have a variety of udon and other traditional Japanese dishes. Whether it is Japanese food, Korean Food, or Chinese food they have it all. If it's just for a quick bite to eat then the World Gourmet Junction is a food court that offers a variety of options. Looking for something a bit lighter? Several cafes such as Starbucks, Bagel & Bagel and more have light menus and refreshing beverages.
INSIDER TIP: TRAVELER’S DEALS
If you are planning on going to Rinku Outlet, first check out their homepage for discounted travel offers. Rinku Outlet also offers a free coupon to overseas travelers. This coupon gives extra savings in addition to the normal discounted prices not available to the general public. Sadly, the discount doesn’t apply to the restaurants but the savings from regular shopping should leave you with extra dining money. To get the coupon, first you must show your passport at the Rinku Outlet information center. Of course, almost all of the shops are tax free. Just show your passport to the cashier. For even more savings, try to make it for one of Rinku Outlet’s five annual sales.
Just across the way from Kansai International Airport, Rinku Outlet could be your first stop in visiting Osaka or last-minute shopping before going home. Shuttle buses are available from most major train stations in the Osaka area. Just go to the information counter at any major train station and they will be happy to assist you.
Kishiwada is a city in Osaka Prefecture known for its Danjiri Festival. It is also home to the second outlet mall on this list, the Kishiwada CanCan Bayside Mall. About a 30-40 minute train ride from Osaka station, it’s located right on the waterline of Osaka Bay and home to over 100 shops and services. You are sure to have a delightful shopping experience. Additionally, they offer much more than just shopping. Be sure to stop by the information booth and check the event calendar for any ongoing events. If you are looking for bargains or a place to visit and relax, Bayside Mall is the place.
KISHIWADA MALL SHOPPING: ACTIVE ATTRACTIONS
What makes this particular outlet mall different from others is not only having popular clothing shops such as Uniqlo and H&M but they also have a variety of attractions. Gravity Research, a gym dedicated to the sport of bouldering, offers a 6 meter wall and courses for first-timers and veterans alike. If you have never tried it you might want to stop on by. Murasaki Sports, a popular surf and skateboard shop, has a BMX and skateboard park. They offer lessons at a reasonable price for both kids and adults. Kishiwada Bayside Mall also offers a 9 screen movie theater if you're in the mood to watch the latest premieres. The nearby bay at sunset also serves as a romantic date spot visible from anywhere in the mall, making it an attraction in itself.
KISHIWADA MALL DINING: SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS
Getting hungry? Bayside Mall has an array of gourmet delights to satisfy your appetite. In the mood for noodles? Then Kiraku is the place for you. Located on the first floor, Kiraku specializes in udon and soba noodles. Looking for something a bit heartier? Katsuki on the third floor is a tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) specialty shop. Daily lunch specials are available at a reasonable price. If coffee is your thing, then stop at one of the many cafes that are located throughout the mall. Pancakes, donuts, and cheeseburgers; there’s something for just about everyone.
INSIDER TIP: EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOOD
There are also many sights in the area that might be of some interest. Kishiwada Castle is only about a 10 minute walk away. It might not be as big as some of the other castles in Japan, but it has a very intimate feel to it. Plus, Kishiwada Castle offers a great view of the bay and surrounding areas. There are also a few restaurants nearby with great views of the castle. Ganko Kishiwada Gofuso Garden, located right behind Kishiwada Castle, is a nice place to visit. It is open all year long and it’s free of charge. The lighted garden is a romantic date spot and there’s also a lovely restaurant that serves traditional Japanese food. The food is excellent and inexpensive.
Whether it is a full day of shopping or just a little of everything, Kishiwada Bayside Mall will give you a full day of things to do. From shopping and dining to walking around and taking in the sights, Kishiwada Bayside Mall and the surrounding area have much to offer.
Mitsui Outlet Park is Japan’s biggest chain of outlet shops with more than 13 locations in Japan. The Outlet Park near Osaka is located in Tsurumi, which is about a 20 minute train ride from Osaka Station and Shinsaibashi station. It’s open all year round from 11am until 8pm. Outlet Malls in Japan are usually a large one- or two-story outdoor mall. However, Mitsui Outlet Tsurumi is an indoor mall. Situated on 3 floors--the lower 2 floors are home to Japan's second largest flower market!-- it’s home to over 65 shops including a variety of dining options.
MITSUI OUTLET SHOPPING: BARGAIN VARIETY
Mitsui Outlet Tsurumi features clothing shops such as Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, and many more. But the large variety of discount sporting brands, like ASICS and Columbia Sportswear, is the most famous attraction. In addition to the many well known international brands available, Mitsui also features a collection of Japanese select shop outlets. Shops such as Urban Research, In the Grove, and Majestic Legon just to name a few. If you love shoes you will also find the Nike clearance store, Timberland and more for a nice well-rounded selection. Along with fashion goods, Mitsui Outlet has many internationally famous kitchenware shops. Kyocera Kitchen Outlet sells cute and high-quality Hello Kitty knives and cutting boards. Utsuwa Market stocks traditional Japanese style bowls and plates that make great souvenirs for your chef friends back home.
MITSUI OUTLET DINING: RELAXED FOOD COURT
The third-floor food court offers a variety of dining options. Hara Donuts is a well-known bakery chain featured in malls across Japan. They make their donuts with fresh ingredients and no added chemicals or preservatives. For a heartier meal, try Tsuruhashi Ramen for Japanese food. Fujio Ken is a great option if you'd rather have large portions and cold beer. If you’re looking for a full meal or maybe just a nice cold beverage, the food court will have everything that you might need.
INSIDER TIP: SALE SPECIALS
Although it is small compared to other outlet malls, what makes Mitsui Outlet Tsurumi stand out are their bargains. Like other outlet malls, Mitsui has everyday low prices, but they also offer daily and weekly sales specials. For example, let’s say that Levi’s has a daily sales special, one pair of blue jeans at a discounted price of 4000 yen. But, on top of that they add another 10-15% off as the daily or weekly special. Not a bad price for a pair of Levi’s jeans, right? So be sure to check out the daily bargain specials.
With an ample selection of shops and great daily bargains, Mitsui Outlet is a must if you're looking to do some serious shopping. Stock up on coupons and take advantage of daily sales for awesome savings!
Shopping at an outlet mall isn't quite like going to a mall or shopping on city streets. Unless you know Japanese, getting around may be harder too! Before you flex your credit cards, keep these tips in mind for the easiest and most fun shopping trip.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL
You'll probably end up with a lot of bags from scoring so many sweet deals. Too many might make subway or train travel difficult. Check if there are shuttle options to and from your chosen shopping mall to a large transit hub, maybe even the airport. If you don't want to shell out the extra cash, make sure to bring enough friends to help carry everything!
Luckily, almost all shops accept major credit cards, especially in tax-free shops aimed at foreign tourists. However, some of the yummier restaurants may be cash-only. Or you may find something you love at a smaller store or stand inside or around the mall. Check and see if there's a currency exchange at the mall. Some ATMs (like 7/11 ATMs) allow withdrawals from foreign accounts, but fees can add up. Plan ahead and you can save even more money!
TAKE IT EASY
It's too easy to get wrapped up in the go-go-go nature of bargain shopping. But remember, shopping in Japanese outlet malls is supposed to be an experience. All 3 of the malls on this list are designed to be beautiful to look at and provide the ultimate leisure activities. So between souvenir hunting, take a breath, look around, and soak in the moment. Even if it seems like a more mundane experience, you're still in Japan after all!
Since Japan is the fashion capital of Asia, you will find many places to shop. With all these options, the best bargains will definitely be at outlet malls--and Osaka has lots of them. Offering the most popular brands and food courts with tons of dining options, you can spend the whole day just walking around. And figuring out how to carry all of your bags. Plus, most of these outlet malls are fully serviced. With English speaking customer service, lockers, tax free shops, currency exchange, free WiFi, and more, outlet malls have everything you need for a wonderful and fulfilling shopping experience.