Anyone that has traveled Japan more than a walk around Tokyo has seen a few Aeon shopping centers. Aeon is a chain developer of shopping malls; these are beacons of hope in the suburban communities looking for a one stop shopping experience at affordable prices.
The Aeon shopping center is a massive three story (with basement) building that is a favorite of Goshono residents. Goshono is a suburb of Akita, the capital of Akita prefecture. The town itself is built with a modern design, incorporating streets on a grid pattern and zoning laws, something that doesn’t happen often in Japan. This means the area is easy to navigate, perfect to bring more customers in for shopping.
The mall itself is a smorgasbord of chic fashion, services, and stores. Its three floors hold nearly every store imaginable. You can buy glasses, donate blood at the Red Cross, purchase groceries, or relax at the mall’s arcade or browse one of its bookstores. On the third floor at one end of the mall is the adorable Pet City. This shop sells pet supplies but it is most famous for its cute dogs, kittens, and bunnies you can see and sometimes even pet. Want to hang out with some friends? Meet them in the main hall where there is a large television screen and tables to lounge around. The area also hosts special events such as fashion shows, mini festivals, and performances. My favorite place to go with friends is the Village Vanguard. This place is chockfull of pop culture knickknacks and goodies. You’ll find anime figures, rude t-shirts, vintage Disney products, electronics, and music. Later, head on over to Toho Studios movie theater to watch a Japanese or English (with Japanese captions) movie. Movies are expensive in Japan at nearly $20. Also, you will select your seat on a computer screen before entering the theater auditorium. The Japanese are efficient and want to fill every space if they can on crowded days. The last place to finish your shopping experience has to be the Daiso. Daiso is what you would call a "100 yen shop' and is similar to Western dollar stores. Here you can buy all sorts of stuff and most have the Japanese touch. Cute correction tape dispensers look like animals and towels may have pictures of Hello Kitty.
As a major shopping center, of course there are many food locations to choose from. The mall has one food court, a line of restaurants on the first floor, as well as places to grab snacks, cafés, and a grocery store complete with bakery. Even Western eateries have a distinct Japanese flair. For example, McDonald’s sells shrimp burgers and Baskin Robbins 31 has green tea flavored ice cream. Food is a little pricier than most Westerners are used to, but there is no tipping in restaurants.
The mall’s facilities and services make the shopping experience convenient for shoppers. The website and coupon books promote sales, the parking lot is large and free of charge, and maps and an information booth can answer questions you may have. There are also ATMs on site that accept international bank cards, though keep in mind ATMs in Japan shut early (around 7pm) for the evening.
As one of the largest Aeon shopping complexes in Tohoku (the north eastern area of Japan) you can make Aeon in Goshono your one stop shopping destination.