AEON Kurashiki Shopping Mall, Okayama Prefecture (Photo: Yoshi Mikami)
- 3 min read

AEON Kurashiki Shopping Mall

Where locals go to shop, meet friends and watch movies

For some reason people tend to associate shopping malls with the United States but since I’ve been in Japan I beg to differ. AEON Kurashiki is in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture and would be considered medium sized by U.S. standards. What is different about this mall compared to most found in the U.S. is that it is located not far from the heart of the city. Where I’m from in the U.S., city center shopping areas largely disappeared before I was born. This is why shopping in Japan is so intriguing for me.

For Kurashiki locals it’s like having a mall in your own back yard and for those in other nearby cities it is easily accessible by national route 2. There are buses that can take you there from Kurashiki Station if you are using public transportation. Going by car is a breeze and parking is even easier as AEON can accommodate a few thousand cars. For someone staying in a hotel near the station, a taxi might be a good idea, especially for big shoppers. There are around two hundred stores, shops and eateries in the mall. Everything from brand goods to local specialty items is available as well as a full sized Cineplex. For children there are several toy stores, including one that sells traditional Japanese toys and candy. Of course the kids will love the arcade that is outfitted with the latest video games. For people like me who wear a U.S. size 11 or over, your shoe search is over. There is a great shop where you can actually buy the style you like and not just look for whatever they happen to have in your size.

Don’t be surprised to find that there is an event taking place while you’re in the middle of shopping. The yearly event calendar is packed with things to do and see for children and adults. There are live performances, concerts, guest speakers, celebrity hosts, workshops and exhibitions held regularly. The last time I was there I was in--of all places--the supermarket and saw something that you may only see in Japan; supermarket self-checkout! That’s right. You ring up your own groceries, bag them and pay.

Malls may not be where many travelers expect to find themselves, but for a quick lay of the land, they are not a bad place to visit.

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