SUNMALL: The essential Hiroshima Shopping Experience

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sunmall_20140428-1SUNMALL… oh where to begin with this gem of a place located right in Hondori, in downtown Hiroshima.  SUNMALL is best described as five levels of some of the most diverse, quirky and interesting shops that Hiroshima has to offer. No matter what your tastes are, you are sure to find something that appeals to even the most critical of shoppers. It is particularly popular with teenagers and college students, but of course, everyone is welcome.

In the basement you’ll find a supermarket with lots of goodies as well as a branch of the Baskin Robbins or 31 ice-cream shop, as they like to refer to it in Japan. There are also some other cheap and cheerful places to eat for a quick, on-the-run meal. You’ll find both little old ladies and salary men on this level, sitting side-by-side, eating and shopping for their daily needs.

The first floor has an assortment of shops including Star Travel agent, the ever-popular GU, shoe shops and other clothing shops, mostly for women. There is also a swimwear shop (which has some good bargains right now for the end of summer) and a kimono and yukata shop.

The second floor is entirely dedicated to Uni Qlo and is one of the largest branches in Hiroshima.

On the third floor you’ll find a Daiso and a number of men’s and women’s clothing stores. If you’re into photo booths (either the printed or sticker variety), there are also some located just outside Daiso where you can have fun posing with your friends.

The fourth floor is for those interested in Japanese subcultures. Here you’ll find many Goth and Lolita-inspired dresses as well as a dolls and figurines shop called Volks.

The fifth floor is my favourite with a manga shop, hobby shop for train and plane enthusiasts and the if-you-can’t-find-something-in-here-you’re-a-hard-person-to-please-shop, Village Vanguard. There are also quite a few used clothing stores. As a lover and avid searcher of second-hand clothing, I feel that much of this is overpriced, but you can sometimes get lucky and find a real bargain. For those of you looking to find great gifts to either send to loved ones or to take back with you when you go, I highly recommend the Japanese souvenir shop, Takumi. I have found that the goods are both high quality and reasonably priced.

Due to its central location, SUNMALL is a popular meeting place and you’ll always see people standing outside the entrance waiting for their friends.

I think the only bad point about SUNMALL is the opening hours. It’s open everyday from 10.30am, but closes at the very early time of 8pm. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a visit and I’m sure that after your first one, you’ll find yourself going again and again and again! Enjoy!

http://www.sunmall.co.jp (English website!)

Image by Taisyo (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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