Shopping is great in Japan, but why would an International traveller come to Japan to buy brand goods from Europe or America? For those who know about exclusive brands, the answer is simple. Unlike many places in Asia, the buyer knows that the world famous brands bought in Japan are genuine and not a rip-off copy. For example, a Brooks Brothers neck-tie bought in Japan is a much more prestigious gift than a Brooks Brothers neck tie bought elsewhere in Asia.
There are two major places where visitors can do their exclusive brand shopping when visiting Hokkaido; one is Rera near Chitose Airport and the other is the Mitsui Outlet Park, closer to Sapporo. Mitsui Outlet Park has advantages over Rera in that it is out of the weather, has better restaurants such as Clipper Sushi and is newer.
Mitsui Outlet Park is located near the road to Chitose Airport, Route 36 and is also easy to visit on way to the Noboribetsu Hot Springs. It is well signposted for those travelling by car.
For those using public transport, there are a number of options. If you are staying in central Sapporo, catch the Tozai Subway line from Odori Station and travel towards Shin Sapporo. Get off at Oyachi Station. The fare is 280 yen and the travelling time is 16 minutes. At Oyachi station, go up the escalators to the Oyachi Bus Terminal. The bus number 88, departs for Mitsui Outlet Park two or three times an hour from 9:20am until 8:37pm. The bus ride takes around 28 minutes and costs 320 yen. A cost effective and convenient way to pay the fares is to buy a 1000 yen ‘with-you-card’ at Odori station. The card can be used on both the train and the bus.
The number of famous brand represented at Mitsui Outlet Park is staggering. Many of the major stores are duty free. Unlike buying the same goods in the Ginza in Tokyo, there is little walking distance between the stores. There are a number of facilities for shoppers with small children, but if you have small children, be sure to visit the Lego Store where they can play their heart’s content.
Mitsui Outlet Park has a food court but the best way to celebrate your shopping bargains is to enjoy some wonderful Hokkaido sushi. The Clipper Sushi restaurant is great for those who are not too confident speaking Japanese. You can select your favorite sushi as it moves past on the conveyor belt or you can use the touch pad screen to select your order. It soon arrives on a carriage just for you. Take your plate off the carriage and press the red button to send the carriage back. For certain dishes, there is an on-screen game where you can win prizes. The booth seating has plenty of room for your shopping bags or you can sit at the sushi counter. Payment is made by the number of plates you ordered with different color plates costing different amounts.
Mitsui Outlet Park is open for shopping from 10am until 8pm, Monday to Friday and until 10pm on weekends.