September 15, 2012

Shopping at Jusco on Okinawa

One of the largest shopping stores on Okinawa is called Jusco. 

The stores are scattered throughout Okinawa in most of the larger cities. These shopping locations have the variety of a store like Walmart, but the atmosphere of a department store.

The Large Pink Sign is Hard to Miss!
Jusco stores are often located near or attached to malls which really connects it's department store feel.

What makes shopping at a Jusco store fun and interesting is the variety of Japanese style clothes and products. One can find many fun engrish t-shirts (poorly translated English words) or even a light summer Ukata (a traditional clothing style).

Jusco is often a fun place to go during typhoons and many Japanese do this. I have had first hand experience going to a Jusco while a typhoon was raging outside, and finding the store not only open, but very busy.

Shopping at Jusco is an experience that one doesn't quickly forget because of the differences between American shopping stores and Japanese. These differences tend to be subtle, but are much more noticeable after returning to an American shopping store.

One difference I'll mention is the height of the shelves. 

Most Japanese are shorter than the average American, so the shelves of items in a Japanese store are around 6 feet or a little less.

For me, at 6'2", I can easily see over all the shelves making it convenient to spot friends or family who might have gotten lost wondering the store.

The Ferris Wheel next to Mihama Jusco

Finding a Jusco Shopping Center

There are at least 5 Jusco shopping stores scattered throughout Okinawa. One of the more popular locations is just outside Kadena Gate 1 in the Mihama American Village shopping area.

This location is just a few hundred feet from the beach, and has tons of other shops and activities within easy walking distance. One of the most iconic structures on Okinawa is just across the street from the Mihama Jusco - the Ferris wheel. . (See Picture -->)

And just behind this Jusco is another important structure - the tallest building on Okinawa at 25 stories.

Jusco - A Snapshot of Japanese Culture

Jusco offers an afternoon of entertainment and many souvenirs or interesting items can be found while browsing. The often attached malls give even more things to do ranging from 100 yen stores to unique Japanese Arcade rooms. (You've got to try the sushi slicing game)

So don't be shy when visiting Okinawa, take a trip to your nearest Jusco and enjoy a unique cultural and shopping experience.

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