One gloomy, rainy afternoon I found myself in Shizuoka City, looking for somewhere interesting and under cover where I could pass the time. Cenova ticked both boxes: it's a shopping centre with a wide range of stores to browse, and plenty of places to eat and drink or just sit and rest.
The first and second floors ("Contemporary LIfestyle" and "Urban Stylish Life") are given over mostly to young womens' fashion, accessories and cosmetics, from Beams and United Arrows all the way upmarket to Swarovski. There are a few other stores dotted there amongst them: you can pick up classy bags at Manhattan Portage or fancy housewares (¥1500 chopsticks!) at WabiSabi, then rest up at Select Eye Cafe.
The third ("Happy Home Style") and fourth ("Casual Lifestyle") floors are much more varied. On the third, Swanky Market has 'tweener girls stuff, Stories and Tentou Muchi have riotously colourful kids' clothes, Tokyu Hands has everything you could ever want for your home, and there's a cheap'n'cheerful food court where you can sit and enjoy a bowl of udon or ramen, donuts and pancakes, pasta or burgers. The fourth has Nojima for electronics, Mont-Bell for outdoor gear, b3Labo for leather goods, and Orihica and Brickhouse for office clothes.
Eating and drinking
The fifth is "Cenova The Dining", which is what it sounds like: there's a (smallish) range of restaurants here,among them Chinese, Korean, Italian and different styles of Japanese. In the centre of the floor there's a relaxing lounge with plush chairs and dim lighting that made it difficult to photograph, and at the end there's also a big Maruzen/Junkudo bookstore. This latter carries a good number of English books and magazines, and even a French newspaper (Le Monde) and magazine (Le Point).
The basement is also all about food, but in a different way: there's a supermarket, a Kaldi import food store, and lots of stands selling cakes, sweets, lunchboxes and other foodstuffs. There are also a handful of places to sit down for a coffee or snack, Krispy Kreme and Pompadour among them.
As well as all this, there's a cinema up on the ninth floor, and the building is also a major transportation hub. It's home to Shin-Shizuoka station on the local Shizutetsu train line, which trundles out east from the city past the Prefectural Art Museum to Shimizu. Finally, you'll also find the city's bus terminal, from where you can ride to destinations within the city and further afield, as far as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
The floors are pretty spacious and easy to navigate, and there are places to sit and rest on each floor. And by the time I'd had a good look round and had dinner on the fifth floor, the rain had stopped so I could head back outside.