Christmas is around the corner, so is another New Year. December gets hectic because there is lots to be done before 2012; wrapping up the things at work, preparing for Christmas and New Year feasts as well as doing the year-end housecleaning. But there is another task left most of us love to complete; yes, it’s the year-end shopping! Outlet Mall Ashibina is the place for you to satisfy your geared-up customer-spirit
The 10 year-old mall made its reopening on December 12th, adding around 30 new shops including well-known brand stores Gap, Tory Burch, Beams, United Arrows to its regular line-ups of Gucci, Coach, Brooks Brothers, Swatch, Vivian Westwood and such. Outlet it is, many items frequently are available at discount prices so that shoppers can treat themselves with the luxury items. The spacious avenue inside the mall allows families with small children or people in wheelchairs to stroll around in the relaxing atmosphere. During the day, especially on weekends, the mall gets busy with shoppers, window-shoppers, groups of tourists from in/outside of Okinawa, taking on the air of hustle and bustle. Daytime shopping at the outlet stores is fun, but this time of year my recommendation goes to evening-wandering in its winter-blue illumination, which is a special treat in this holiday season.
Named “Winter Elegance”, the mall’s illumination has become popular for its snowy cool colour tone, which is unfamiliar to the eyes of Okinawan locals. The main avenue of the shopping area has rows of trees shining blue along its sides, and you will spot a luminous triangle Christmas tree at the end of the avenue. It looks like a near-futuristic pyramid in a sci-fi movie rather than a fir tree in traditional decoration, creating a perfect scene for photo opps for the visitors. There are many illumination spots in the Okinawa cool winter and most of them showcase colourful twinkling lights. “Winter Elegance”, however, maintains its characteristic simple shine of crystal blue, and successfully enhances the magical glowing effect for the visitors to relish shopping or just strolling around a casual winter evening.
There are also new eateries open on the site(Starbucks, A&W, a hamburger steak restaurant Bikkuri-Donkey) to fill up your stomach. Out on the mall, there is another shopping complex “Tomiton”, a bookstore Toda Shoten, an electronics retail store Yamada Denki, all less than a minute walk so you’ll never miss them. The mall has a parking capacity of around 1,000 and offers a free shuttle bus between the mall and Naha airport, which gives you a chance to bargain-hunt at the very last minutes of your Okinawan stay.
The mall’s name “Ashibina” means ‘playground’ in Okinawan language. This playground is open to everyone who wants to get a grasp of new fashion trends or just treat their eyes with romantic lights of soothing blue.