Konnichiwa and welcome to Japan City, Australia's largest retail concept store that sells quintessential Japanese gifts, home wares and delicate ornaments.
With flagship stores located in Bondi Junction, Chatswood, Hornsby and Top Ryde; Japan City is a unique way of experiencing a taste of traditional Japanese aesthetic. From the moment you walk through its doors, you're instantly taken away by the serene ambience; so much your mind forgets that you are still within the confines of a major shopping centre.
Immerse yourself in pristine beauty
The store consists of large shelves with intricately placed items. Each shelf has a stand out feature - whether it is tea cup sets, bowls and dinner sets - as well as Zen gardens or the famous Kokeshi dolls - not to mention an entire table section dedicated to chopsticks. However these are not the ordinary beige chopsticks you see in restaurants. These chop sticks are beautifully crafted pieces of art - too good looking to be utilised.
Shopping here is transformed into an experience that is similar to wandering through an art gallery or museum. You canít help but notice the small and elegant paper cranes that are carefully positioned around display shelves and tables.
Great items for the home
Just as exhibit labels are used in galleries and museums; beside the Kokeshi Dolls are facts on their origins and their significance in Japanese culture. These hand crafted wooden dolls can be traced back to the early 19th Century. Traditional kokeshi were cylindrical in shape in comparison with todayís version, which is round in shape and more vibrant in colour. These contemporary versions of the traditional kokeshi are depicted in many of the stores collections form mugs, sake sets and coin purses which make excellent gifts.
Another show stopper is the back section of the store which is dedicated to the stunning Kimono - a traditional Japanese garment which comes in a variety of colours and patterns. If youíre going to purchase one, why not complete the whole ensemble by grabbing a pair of wooden thongs or slippers?
Searching for baby gifts? Japan City also stocks dream baby products from blankets to towels. If youíre after Christmas gifts or displays for your home, itís worth having a browse at the many charming Christmas items and displays in store. What a convenient and innovative way to shop in one store.
All the excitement may be a little too much? Then why not take advantage of the comfortable couches, or opt for the wooden table and chairs setting by the window. Perfect for sipping tea (thereís a great range on offer) or pondering over the many potential purchases youíll make.
As it is a concept store, half of the storeís space is dedicated to home wares, gifts and ornaments whilst the other operates as a sushi bar. Very clever indeed.
Where: Westfield Shopping Centre Bondi Junction. Westfield Shopping Centre Chatswood. Westfield Shopping Centre Hornsby. Westfield Shopping Centre Miranda. Top Ryde City Shopping Centre.
Why: Shopping and learning about Japanese culture
Cost: It all depends on you. Items are reasonably priced. There are however certain items that are in the higher price range, but remember you are paying for superior quality products.
When: All Japan City stores open 7 days a week, however check with each store location for their specific opening hours. Chatswood has the latest closing time.