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Outlet malls are popular shopping venues in Japan. They carry both domestic and international brands, including fashion, electronics, food, sports, household and luxury goods. While prices at outlet malls are not ridiculously cheap, they tend to be better than at regular retail shops. Outlet malls often have sales at different times during the year when prices are further reduced. Many offer tax free shopping to foreign tourists.

Outlet malls tend to be built with an open-air design, incorporating open plazas and covered walkways that connect the shops. They also feature restaurants and/or a food court on the premises. Facilities and services such as ATMs, lockers, rental wheelchairs and rental baby strollers are commonly provided. Some outlet malls also have an event space for live music or entertainment, creating a festive atmosphere.

There are more than 30 outlet malls nationwide from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south, although most are found in the Kanto and Kansai regions where they are usually built outside of the city centers near major airports and expressways. Aside from a few independent ones, most outlet malls in Japan are managed by two companies: Mitsui Outlet Parks and Premium Outlets. In general, though, most outlets malls tend to have similar brand stores. Below are some of Japan's most popular outlet malls:

Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza

Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is another of Japan's largest outlet malls, attractively located next to the main station of Karuizawa, a popular up-scale mountain resort. Visitors can combine shopping with sightseeing, golf in summer and skiing in winter.

Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu

Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu is the largest outlet mall in Japan with almost 250 shops. It lies across the bay from Tokyo and is directly connected to central Tokyo and Yokohama by highway bus.

Rera Chitose Outlet Mall

Located near New Chitose Airport outside Sapporo, this outlet mall is connected with the airport by free shuttle buses or accessible in a few steps from JR Minami-Chitose Station. It is one of the few outlet malls that sees heavy snow in the winter.
Page last updated: February 5, 2015