Welcome! (Photo: Peter Sidell)

Ebina LaLaport

Enjoy shopping at this bright suburban mall

Welcome! (Photo: Peter Sidell)
Peter Sidell   - 2 min read

In the western suburbs of Tokyo, Ebina is home to not one but two shopping malls. In the beginning there was Vinawalk, a cheery, colourful outdoor shopping centre, complete with a cute train for the kids, two cinemas and its own pagoda; the newer of the two is LaLaport, bigger and more upmarket, with a classy aesthetic and a dizzying array of stores.

It's easy as pie to get to, connected by a walkway to the town's two stations, and the interior is very easy on the eye, with lots of matt white surfaces, wood and brick patterns on the panels. Including all the restaurants and concessions, the website tells me there are 263 stores, so there's probably not much you can't find.

By way of fashion, it's pretty solidly mid-market: Gap, Zara, UniQlo, Old Navy, Brickhouse are a few of the many, many clothing stores, with the odd excursion made into more upmarket territory, Armani Exchange and Cecil McBee among them. There are also plenty of places to buy things for your home: Nojima for electronics, Awesome Store and 3Coins for cheap'n'cheerful goodies, Muji and Loft for everything else you can think of.

Once you're done shopping, there are plenty of places to stop and sit down for a snack or a meal. There are a handful of cafes and bakeries dotted around the mall's four floors, and on the third floor there's a big, lively food court where you can get comfort food staples like pizza, ramen, or okonomiyaki. Up on the fourth there are a handful of restaurants which I imagine have a good view (over Vinawalk, I guess), including Chinese, Italian, Hawaiian and sushi. You'll have plenty of time to eat: while the shops close at 9:00pm, the restaurants and food court are open until 11:00pm.

So if you're in Tokyo or Kanagawa and fancy a day or an afternoon of retail therapy, then a trip out to Ebina will do the job! But good luck carrying all your purchases on the train back.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.