High end Japanese store sets sights on PH market
Mitsukoshi mall, Seasons Residences to bring Japanese design, expertise to BGC
Faulkner wasn’t writing about Tokyo when he came up with those lines, but he easily could have been. Although it is city associated worldwide with the shock of the new, there are few places anywhere where the past is as much alive—as fully present—as in Japan’s major city, Tokyo. Or Edo That was what Tokyo was called until 1868, when the emperor moved his court from the imperial capital, Kyoto, and renamed his new home Tokyo (“eastern capital”).
Edo grew prosperous from an influx of merchants and artisan drawn by the city’s gravitational pull and became Japan’s financial, commercial and military hub. By 1720, one million people lived here; Edo is believed to be the first city in the world to hit the million mark. Kimono dealer Life back then centered on central-city Nihonbashi, a short distance from handsome, stone-faced Edo Castle, now part of the Imperial Palace. Nihonbashi is the historic core of the world’s largest city. A short stroll from Nihonbashi Bridge, long a symbol of Japan, is one of the country’s oldest heritage business: Mitsukoshi. Mitsukoshi started out selling kimonos in Nihonbashi in 1673, Kiyoko Kondo, the ‘omotenashi guru’, or hospitality head of Mitsukoshi mall, told the Manila Standard. Today, it has morphed into one of the most renowned department stores, not just in modern-day Tokyo, but in various parts of the world, as well. The Mitsukoshi branch most familiar to travelers may be the nearby Ginza store. But Mitsukoshi’s main store is in a dignified 1935 renaissance revival building, and annex just north of the bridge on Nihonbashi Chuo-dori.
The pair of century-old brass lions standing guard outside the grand entrance to Mitsukoshi’s main store are polished to a smooth sheen by visitors who rub them for luck, Kondo pointed out. Inside, the store features a vintage theater pipe organ on a second-floor balcony, an expansive food hall with diverse takeout foods in a basement as bustling as a Tokyo train station, and a massive, intricately designed art installation, located at the heart of the mall, carved out of a 500-year-old cedar tree. Mitsukoshi experience at BGC In a few years, Filipinos will no longer need to get a visa—or even a plane ticket—to experience Mitsukoshi’s unique Japanese shopping experience. This as Mitsukoshi, Japan’s oldest surviving department store chain, will open a branch in Taguig by 2021.
“We look forward to our fruitful partnership with Federal Land and Nomura Real Estate, and we’re very excited to bring a piece of Japanese life to the Philippines,” said Kobayashi Daisuke, Isetan Mitsukoshi’s general manager of real estate business and overseas promotion. “We’re sure Filipinos would love to get a Japanese experience within the comforts of their own home while living, shop[ing, and dining the Japanese way.” A mix of offerings In a round table discussion with newspersons from Manila, Kobayashi revealed that Mitsukoshi at Bonifacio Global City (BGC) will carry a mix of classic favorites as well as products that feature technological advances in holistic care in its two main stores—Isetan Shinjuku and Mitsukoshi Ginza. “These two stores are always packed with locals as well as visitors from all over the world who explore offerings of premium international and homegrown brands. We think we can replicate this experience in the Philippines,” he averred. For example, Kobayashi said his company will bring the same election of skincare and cosmetic products featured in its stores worldwide to the beauty store of Mitsukoshi Mall in Manila. The mall will be a four-storey collection of brands from beauty to food, to everyday items that aim to elevate one’s lifestyle. Beyond the products, Kobayashi said Mitsukoshi Mall will feature the Japanese store standard of service, which primarily aims to provide everything possible to make customers happy. The Mitsukoshi Mall, set to open in 2021, will anchor the Japanese-inspired Seasons Residences, which will offer generous one to three bedroom units with prices starting at P16M.
The Mitsukoshi Mall in BGC will be the first in the Philippines and the retail brand’s 56th outlet in the world. Isetan Mitsukoshi also has stores in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Italy, and the United States. “We know how much Filipinos love to go to the mall to shop and eat, or to simply to relax, so we hope Filipinos will enjoy their Mitsukoshi mall experience,“ said Kobayashi. “We are excited to open the first mall of its kind in the Philippines.”
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