By Erika Clark
Umie (meaning "to the sea") is the newly remodeled indoor mall in Kobe Harborland that consists of three buildings: North Mall, South Mall, and Mosaic.
Within the three buildings there are 58 fashion-related stores, including Comme Ça Style, Zara, H&M, Old Navy, and of course, a huge Uniqlo. There are 76 dining/café/and sweets locations (my favorite is the crêpe shop located on the main walkway), 26 locations for services such as banks, and 64 lifestyle stores.
Though remodeled, there are still aspects of the old shopping center that remain, one of them being the ball machine called “Ding Dong” located in the main passage of the building. The name may sound ridiculous, but it is still the first thing people see, and the machine is iconic of Harborland. Many people continue to stop and stare as colorful balls make their way up and down, making pleasant sounds as they hit metal bars on different levels. The main passage is called Center Street (previously Canal Garden), and it usually has bushes shaped like animals or seasonally changing decorations like a Christmas tree, giving the building a fresh look every time you visit.
Center Street is enclosed by a glass ceiling that lets in sunlight, allowing you to walk through without feeling trapped indoors. There are always beautiful decorations floating from the high ceilings. These too change with the season from cool abstract art in the summer, to orange pumpkins in the fall, and beautiful dangling Christmas lights in the winter.
This area has always been the place to go on a date or visit with friends and family. The stores and attractions cater to people of all ages, and the new changes are likely to increase the crowds. Once you have had your share of shopping, make your way up the curved escalator to enter Mosaic. The little stores are a treat to peek into. Make sure to go past the Ultraman statue and onward to the port. On a sunny day, you’ll encounter a site you will not forget: the beautiful view of Kobe!
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Hello, My name is Erika and I am a Japanese American currently studying in Long Beach State University. CA. I was born and raised in Kobe Japan untill I was 15 and am fluent in both English and Japanese. I find that Japan has so much to offer and hope to share my experiences with you as I explore and discover new favorite spots! Thank you for reading :)