Outlet malls are good alternatives to department stores, as they usually sell items at a bargain—not dirt-cheap, but still cheaper than what you’d get at a department store. (For tourists, this is because they often have plenty of tax-free shopping options!) Shops also tend to carry Western-sized clothing and footwear, so if you’re having trouble with Japanese sizes, perhaps it’s time for a shopping trip to an outlet mall around Tokyo. Here are some great shopping options around Tokyo worth checking out.
1. Venus Fort
Access: Tokyo Teleport Station
Hours: 11:00 am-9:00 pm (shops), 11:00 am-11:00 pm (restaurants)
Unlike the other malls featured here, Venus Fort in Odaiba doesn’t have its shops lined in an open-air plaza, and is actually a regular shopping mall with a 3rd floor that happens to be filled with outlet shops. No wonder it’s called a hybrid shopping mall. The 3rd floor, Venus Outlet, has about 50 shops such as Levi’s, Puma, and Samsonite. The mall is also an attraction in itself, as it was built to look like a Venetian town, complete with an artificial sky that changes colors depending on the time of day. After a long day of shopping, why don’t you relax and take in the mall’s beautiful interior?
2. Grandberry Mall
Access: Minami-Machida Station
Hours: 11:00 am-8:00 pm (shops), 11:00 am-11:00 pm (restaurants) (Note: hours may vary per shop)
About 40 minutes away from Shibuya, Grandberry Mall is right in front of Minami-Machida Station. With a Southern Californian theme, the mall is divided into 4 sections: Freshberry Market, which is comprised of cafes and restaurants; Home Life Garden; Oasis Square; and Outlet Shops. The mall carries brands such as Old Navy, Gap, Nike, Urban Research, and Adidas. It also has a movie theater and a playground, and there are events for shoppers’ enjoyment every now and then.
3. Mitsui Outlet Park
Access: Torihama Station (Yokohama Bayside), Minami-Osawa Station (Tama Minami-Osawa), Iruma Station (Iruma), Kaihin-Makuhari Station (Makuhari), 10 mins by bus from Sodegaura Station (Kisarazu)
Hours: 10:00 am-8:00 pm (shops), restaurant hours vary per location
Mitsui Outlet Park is a chain of malls around Japan. Its branches in or near Tokyo are the Yokohama Bayside (in Kanagawa), Tama Minami-Osawa, Iruma (in Saitama), Makuhari, and Kisarazu (the latter 2 are in Chiba). While all of them are quite large, the Kisarazu and Iruma outlets are notable for being some of the largest in the Kanto region (Kisarazu claiming to be the largest in the greater Tokyo area), with the former boasting of 248 stores, and the latter boasting of over 200. Mitsui’s outlet malls have a good selection of Japanese and foreign brands. Their shops also have variety; for instance, not only does the Tama Minami-Osawa branch have clothing and footwear shops, but also pet and gardening stores.
4. Gotemba Premium Outlets
Access: Free shuttle bus from Gotemba Station; direct buses available from Shinagawa Station; bus rides from Shinjuku and Tokyo Station also available.
Hours: 10:00 am-8:00 pm (March-November), 10:00 am-7:00 pm (December-February)
Easily one of Kanto’s most popular outlet malls (and it helps that some tours to Mt. Fuji include a trip to this mall!), Gotemba Premium Outlets is located in a town near Mt. Fuji. It’s the flagship center of the Premium Outlets chain, and has 210 stores. There’s also a Ferris wheel, a cinema, and a kiddie playland to keep the young ones entertained. Like Shisui Premium Outlets, it also offers additional discounts to foreign tourists.
And if you fancy doing one of those combined Mt Fuji + Gotemba shopping tour, here’s one we recommend.
5. Shisui Premium Outlets
Access: Direct bus from Narita Airport or 15- to 20-minute bus ride from Shisui Station (JR or Keisei Line)
Hours: 10:00 am-8:00 pm (closed during the third Thursday of February)
A relatively new addition to Kanto’s outlet malls, Shisui Premium Outlets opened in 2013 and, considering its proximity to Narita Airport, it’s a good place for a shopaholic to pass the time during a long layover. The mall has 180 shops and features both Japanese and international brands. It also has some deals for foreign visitors: there’s the Narita Transit Program, which entitles those spending a layover in Narita to a souvenir and discount coupon, and additional coupons for tourists.
6. LakeTown Outlet
Access: Koshigaya LakeTown Station
Hours: 10:00 am-8:00 pm
Owned by the Aeon group, LakeTown Outlet in Saitama Prefecture is part of Aeon LakeTown, known as the largest eco-friendly shopping center in Japan. Surrounded by nature, as it literally is by the lakeside, this outlet mall promises not only a good shopping experience, but also relaxation and enjoyment. It’s only 2 floors, but those 2 floors are packed with Japanese and foreign brands such as ASICS, Keyuca, and Coach.
Getting there by car
While all these outlet malls are accessible by train or shuttle bus, they are of course equipped with enormous free car parks and they’re an ideal target for a weekend drive. If you don’t have your own wheels, see our articles on sharing clubs Times Car Plus and Careco.