There are those of us who enjoy wandering through aisles and aisles of consumer goods. Fortunately for those shoppers amongst you, there are many places to visit all over this city.
February 10th in front of Kokura Station. Isetan Department Store will be opening its doors. Finally, after several years this ideally located building will be open for business. Anything new from what is already in town? Go and see for yourself.
|For those who have been shopping around for music in the Kokura area, you may have made your may to 2 well established shops, Borderline and Chameleon Kokura (Jp). These shops have combined into one outfit on the 1st floor of Kokura Station`s Himawari Lane near the north exit. More space and more offerings; a special section for collector CDs has also been created with music available from Tokyo`s Feist Records (spelling OK?); a Hip-Hop / R&B corner with music from Osaka`s BOON COON Records . The larger space has occassional events on site.|
|The in place for shopping among the young trendsetters is without a doubt LaForet Harajuku Kokura tH´h¬q, which is right across the street from the north exit of Kokura Station and connected by the covered walkway. This shopping complex doesn`t only have the latest fashions but also some interesting shops, eateries, and an event hall.|
|Also on the north side of the station and connected by the covered walkway is the Asia-Pacific Import Mart AWA¾½mC|[g}[g, more commonly known as AIM. Aim Square is the retail section of this complex and is found on the 1st and 2nd floors.|
|Amu Plaza (Jp) is a part of the Kokura Station complex. 6 Floors of shopping and one floor of eateries.|
|A recent addition to the shopping scene is Cha-Cha Town (Jp) just across the street from the Nishitetsu Sunatsu Bus Terminal. It`s easy to find as you only have to make your way to the red ferris wheel to the east of Kokura Station. It`s also got a Herald 10screen cineplex with the late show costing just one crisp \1000 bill. The event plaza in the center of this complex has events of some sort almost every day.|
|Along the Murasaki river facing Kokura Castle and City Hall there is the Kokura Izutsuya (Jp) department store. Just a block further up the river across the street from the Mujirushi (Eng / Jp) is Izutsuya`s book center Quest (Jp) which has, if I`m not mistaken, the largest selection of English books in town.|
|Across the street and across the canal from Quest is the beginning of Tanga Market (Jp). The market was Kokura`s fisherman`s wharf back in the Taisho era and grew as merchants came from further inland to trade their goods for fish and other commodities. Today the covered arcade offers lots of fresh goods including local specialties such as mentaiko, Kokura beef, Ouma bamboo shoots, and plenty of other delicacies from the greater Kitakyushu region.|
|The Kurosaki Station area has been getting a big facelift and is trying to rejuvenate the local economy. The Izutsuya department store has moved to a larger and more convenient location in the former Sogo location next to the station. Also next to the station is the new COM City (Jp) complex (opening Nov. 16, 2001) with 7 floors of shopping, a childrens floor, and 4 floors of hotel rooms. The complex also boasts Kitakyushu`s first Starbucks coffeeshop, for those who just can`t get enough java variety elsewhere. The children`s floor is kodomo no kan HOW!? (qÇàÌÙHOW!?). This place has all sorts of different areas for kids of all ages to enjoy (some areas have a charge). Also in the complex is the first CAPCOM game center in Kyushu, the all important restaurant zone, plenty of shops, and even a culture center.|
|In Tobata, a 5minute train ride to the west of Kokura, there is the Mycal Saty (Jp) complex. There are plenty of shops and of course the Warner-Mycal cinema multiplex, with plenty of choice for everyone.|
|Right next to Shimosone Station is The Mall Kokura (Jp). This is a large shopping complex based on the American mall image, and it doesn`t do a bad job of it either. Parking for 2,000 cars and about 150 shops, including Toys`R`Us (their only store in the area), and entertainment, including a bowling alley.|
|All Most New / MINT (Jp) has two locations in town: Kokura Kita-ku Katano 1-13-5 ¬qkæÐì1-13-5 (tel: 921-1551); Yahata Nishi-ku Warikogawa(?) 2-12-33 ª¦¼æqì 2-12-33 (Tel: 631-1060). The items they deal with are almost new (thus the name). Some good deals can be had on a variety of items. Check out their website for pictures of some recently arrived goods. All Most New deals with a variety of goods while MINT deals with clothing.|