If you love shopping, and especially seasonal shopping at lower prices, the Marinoa City outlet mall in Fukuoka is a must-visit place!
It is without a doubt the largest outlet mall in Kyushu, and has a variety of shops, entertainment spots and restaurants to fill out an entire day! And you probably will need an entire day to see everything and to explore the whole grounds.
It is built in its own area of Fukuoka, which is massive, and the easiest way to get to it is by car. However, public transportation is also a good option. If you’re coming from Tenjin, the Airport subway line takes about 13 minutes and costs 300 yen, and if you are taking a Showa bus from the same location, 15 minutes and 100 yen. From the Yahoo! Dome, catch the Nishitetsu Bus 303 for a 22 minute ride costing 260 yen. Regardless of what map you are using to get you there, look for the big Ferris Wheel, because it is the most noticeable part of the mall and is located right next to it.
A little tip for parking
We went there by car and realized that there is a huge parking lot on the grounds of the outlet mall, as well as an even bigger one on the other side of the mall that is a closed type with many floors going up. We first decided to park the car outside because the weather was gorgeous and I didn’t want to wait in line for the garage parking, but that plan turned out to be impossible. Although the outside parking space is very big, there are special routes that you have to take when you are looking for a place to park, and this takes a lot of time. And if you go all the way around and can’t find a space, then you have to do the whole thing over again, and it took us about 30 minutes before we gave up and just went for the garage, and found a space relatively quickly on the third floor. If you are coming during a sale period or on a weekend, go straight for the parking garage.
The most popular sale periods
Although you can find great offers in the mall throughout the year, there are also many seasonal sales that have the biggest discounts, and also the biggest variety of clothes, shoes, furniture, cosmetics, and basically everything else that you can think of.
The Winter Sale in January and the Summer Sale in August are the best times to visit the mall, because you can find fantastic deals and also the biggest variety of products. However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time to visit the mall, and that there will be a huge crowd of people looking for pretty much the same things that you are. The only way to avoid some of the crowd is to either arrive as soon as the mall opens, or to come about three hours before closing time, since most people would already have left by then. And although pretty much every month of the year has some kind of sale going on, the Golden Week in May is also a good time to go shopping at Marinoa City.
How to shop at Marinoa City
Photo : coloredby on Flickr
The first thing that you want to get a hold of is the map of the mall, which will show you where all the shops and restaurants are located and the quickest way to get to them. If you have specific shops in mind already then you will probably head off to them right away, but if you are more of an adventure shopper, start on the ground floor and work your way up. You will see many signs and offers on the shop windows, but honestly, the best way to find a bargain will be to actually go into a shop and do a little search. Many shops offer discount baskets that are full of clothes and shoes, and the same is true for quite a few cosmetics and makeup shops as well.
If you are a tourist, there is a list of TAX Free Shops where you are free from paying the tax charge if you show your passport. However, this doesn’t work if you are a foreigner who is living in the country, only if you are someone whose passport clearly shows that you only have a tourist visa for Japan. But if you do happen to be a tourist when you come, this is a great way to save money!
Stopping for some delicious food
The best food locations are on the top floor right next to the Ferris Wheel! There are so many different options to choose from, including both sweet and savory dishes, as well as Japanese styled meals and Western ones. But wherever you decide to eat your main meal, make sure that you follow it with some absolutely delicious crepes! Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the store, but it is among the the top floor ones next to the Ferris Wheel, and the best way to tell it apart from the others is by the long line of people outside. It’s that good!
Sightseeing at Marinoa City
Because Marinoa City is right next to the seaside, it’s a great place to take a walk on a beautiful day and to visit some of the great fish restaurants on the bay. Additionally, you can also take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, which lasts for about 12 minutes, or spend some time visiting the other shops and restaurants around the mall. The Ferris Wheel lights up at night and gives the whole area a whole new atmosphere. Whether you are coming for shopping or for fun, Fukuoka’s Marinoa City is in either case a great place to visit.
Nishi Ward Odo 2-12-30 (Open Year Round)
Sales Zone: 10:00-21:00
Restaurants: 11:00-23:00 (Excluding Some Restaurants)
Skywheel: 10:00-23:00 (Last Boarding 22:45)
Website : http://www.marinoacity.com/english/