Known mostly for its close connection with Tokyo's chic Ginza district, Shiseido has also settled in an important landmark in Yokohama. Opened in 2019, Shiseido Global Innovation Center is a free-admission interactive beauty complex that gathers 800 researchers working for the Japanese cosmetics giant.
Also called S/Park (a shortened version of Shiseido Park), visitors have access to its second floor museum dedicated to beauty and science. The brand's history and development are told through examples of advertising, products, packaging design and vintage publications. Shiseido was founded in 1872, and its history is very much aligned with Japan's modernization in the Meiji period. For example, the publications on display here reflect the promotion of an avant-garde style for women, and the 1930s uniforms used by "Miss Shiseido" event promoters helped open doors for women in Japanese society.
Along with the brand's historical view, the public can also enjoy some interactive experiments with products and digital simulations. Combining technological supports and science lessons, exhibits offer beauty tips, including giving visitors the chance to create unique fragrances.
One of the highlights for Shiseido's skincare product fans is the beauty bar on the first floor where lotions and emulsions can be purchased. After participating in clinical-like tests - try the one made with a rollerball-tipped sensor that checks the molecular distribution in the skin. Visitors will be advised by the team of technicians on which formula will suit best. By choosing the texture, the fragrance and the design package, customers have access to a completely personalised experience.
This very modern facility also offers a place for a tasty break. In the spacious S/Park Cafe, you can find a healthy menu based on the concept of "veggie centric" created by a former Shiseido Parlour chef. From morning to sunset, visitors are welcome to enjoy light meals or even alcoholic drinks next to a large open window. Even if a museum visit is not on the menu for the day, there is still always coffee and lunch.
The interior space design, conceived by both in-house and outside design firms, is also a feature of S/Park. With its giant first-floor LED screen and some special size tags 'flying' around the facility, the design represents the cosmetic leader's constant efforts in technology and cutting-edge research.
It's only a 10-minute walk from Yokohama Station, in Minatomirai, and close to important attractions such as the Red Brick Warehouse and Yokohama Landmark Tower. Shiseido Global Innovation Center makes a nice spot to visit in Yokohama for those interested in beauty, technology, design and Japanese cultural history.