Shop Japan in a Hawaii Mall

Shirokiya – bringing Japan to Honolulu shoppers since 1959

My love fest for the East continues with an overview of a one-of-a-kind store that is modestly tucked into a quiet corner of Ala Moana Center. It butts up against the Macy’s end, just a few stores cattycorner from the Apple Store. Peering into its doors, you might think it’s just a jewelry store, since that is the merchandise just inside, but this is a department store extraordinaire which fulfills a specific niche in so many fun ways. In their own words, the store is a “world of difference.”

So browse through the jewelry if it looks interesting, but it’s not anything you can’t find elsewhere, which is why I’d suggest you move onto other departments. I was initially surprise to find that the store has a cosmopolitan-feel full service optical department, stocking the latest styles from Tokyo and Europe. Great sunglasses too. Their electronics department has recently downsized but still an interesting look around. I personally spend a lot of time right in the middle of the first floor with all the authentic sundry items from Japan – including charms, kitchenware, personal items, cosmetics, and drug store items (not found in Longs or other American chains). Way in the back of downstairs is an intriguing used book, DVD and magazine section. Granted, most are in another language, but what a culturally fun browse it can be.

Gosh! And I almost forgot about the section for women’s bags/purses by Elise Tran – Lanai Transit. These bags are loved by the women who get them. Light & designed remarkably well for traveling, competitively priced, and trendy looking, buy when you can because they are not available on the mainland. Yesterday I saw the display-only- model’ for a new rolling carryon case- made of dramatic pumpkin colored leather that I couldn’t take my eyes off!

The saleslady was rather hush-hush’ about it, as it sat almost hidden in the display area. “It’s coming” is all she would say, and ladies let me tell you, what a WINNER it will be. I don’t think I’d ever leave it unattended anywhere if I were lucky enough to get one.(I regret not taking it’s pic, but I think the saleslady would have had to kill me if I did.)

And as if it couldn’t get any better, the second floor is amazing as a treat for your tummy. Please, even though there are many fine places to eat at AMC, eat here at least once. Get an honest, cooked before your eyes, authentic Japanese meal, treat, candy, snack, or beverage. It would take pages to describe the food offerings there – it is not really a restaurant – more cafeteria/food court where you wander the aisles, pick up packaged freshly made items, pay, then sit to eat or take out. It’s an experience. It’s another one of my destinations’ where I take my visitors to give them a treasure that is only found in this tiny spot in Honolulu. It has made a difference in my world, and I hope you’ll give it a try too.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher