From intensive retail therapy to quick souvenir shopping, Kobe has a score of places where you can explore and discover great finds to take home or give away as gifts. There are some places where locals flock to on a daily basis, and others have a lot more wares to choose from that would surely attract tourists. Whatever your purpose is and what you want to buy, there’s surely a place in Kobe for you.
Some places have schedules when they set up shop like in parks. This is quite common in Asia and other parts of the world. Vendors and local entrepreneurs congregate in areas where people normally go to to unwind so they are easily accessible to everyone. They sell food, souvenirs and sometimes produce and delicacies so travelers and locals do not have to travel to the bigger shopping areas to shop. It’s also a great way to promote what the city has to offer.
Maiko Park (Saturdays)
This is a great example of a popular attraction that holds a flea market on a particular day of the week. After trying out the Maiko Marine Promenade of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge on a Saturday, you’re able to buy street food and drinks and check out the wares that are displayed by the local vendors afterwards. You might also want to visit other famous landmarks in the area like the Dream Lens, the Ijokaku or Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Maiko Park Pine Forest and a couple other historical and architectural destinations.
Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street
A mish mash of goods from toys to electronics can be found here. It might take you a day to explore this huge expanse of a shopping haven so put on a comfortable pair of shoes to keep you going without any hitches. When hunger strikes, there are several gourmet food shops that you can choose from or you might as well try all of them if you’re coming just once in your lifetime. There’s a duty free shop that you can check out, too.
Meriken Park (All Sundays and 2nd and 4th Saturday of Every Month)
Here’s another flea market in the middle of some famous landmarks. Meriken is a derivation of America in the Meiji Era and the park now houses the most significant symbols of the city, the Kobe Tower, which is the emblem of Kobe, and houses a spinning cafe and restaurant. It also contains the only crack remaining from the earthquake on the 17th of January, 1995 that was left untouched and now serves as a memorial. Preserving the crack allows visitors to understand how strong the earthquake really was. Going back to the flea market, it is right on the pier. As the schedule is subject to change, you should take note of it so you won’t miss it.
Sunshine Wharf Kobe
You probably also need half a day or an entire day to tour this shopping center especially when there’s a flea market or other activities within the shopping space. It has a playground where children and families can enjoy what this commercial complex has to offer. Moms can go on a shopping spree and dads can watch the kids while they play and they can enjoy the seascapes at the end of the day.
Kobe Harborland (Weekends)
This landmark that is facing the sea contains several shopping malls and attractions that you can explore for probably more than a day if you need more time to specifically just go shopping. There’s a wedding chapel, spa, a giraffe sculpture that’s popular because it’s said that if you meet someone in front of it, you will fall in love with each other, scores of restaurants and boutiques, a hotel and many others. It’s like a one stop attraction for all ages and walks of life.
Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets
Outlet complexes like this one in Kobe can be found all over the world. It’s widely known for offering a wide array of designer brands in their own boutique shops and selling at discounted prices. There’s a long list of brands to check out and a good number of restaurants to choose from when you get hungry or thirsty from walking from one shop to another. Al fresco tables are also available for you to relax in between periods of shopping.
Mint means a lot of things, the plant, the color, something new and etc. In Kobe, it’s a shopping mall that reflects what mint is. The color of the facade is mint. It exudes a refreshing and stylish way of shopping and amusement. It’s imposing structure is the landmark of downtown Kobe and all it’s 12 floors are occupied by classy shops and a cinema complex. If you have a posh taste then this is for you.
Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe East
Overlooking the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the second outlet mall in this list with 140 international and domestic designer brands. It’s a resort outlet mall that boasts it’s Southern European port town ambiance. There are events held with the mall and limited occupancy of certain brands so you have to check on their information from time to time with what’s new and upcoming before you visit.
Whether it’s a humongous shopping center or a flea market or a mall with a flea market, shopping always gives us that excitement of purchasing new or antique items that we can use or display at home or bring as souvenirs to our loved ones. There’s also that excitement of trying new dishes and drinks and trying out whatever is new to us. Whoever says retail therapy doesn’t lift the spirits probably has probably been living under a rock all this time because really, wherever you are and no matter how meager your budget is, shopping will always have a space in your itinerary because it’s fun.