October 27th was the grand reveal of the much-awaited ISETAN, the Japan Store. Marketing themselves as “storyteller(s) of authentic Japanese culture through aesthetics deep-rooted in Japan,” this specialty store is one of two to exist in the world, the other being in Paris, France.
It was certainly a grand affair.
The 5-floor departmental store showcased its best for the opening: each floor offered a variety of shopping options or services, all beautifully and tastefully decorated and presented.
The organisers of the evening evidently spent a great deal of time and effort putting everything together for not only was it a treat for the eyes (and a huge temptation to break open the wallets), but they also tied it all up with different sensational experiences to ensure that the evening would be one that would be hard to forget.
The lower ground floor is called “The Market” where multitude of foods, from desserts to entire dinner courses can be found.
Unsurprisingly, it was my favourite floor in the store. It was a huge venue and it took us quite some time to explore the entire area, especially with so many delicacies to distract us.
During the opening we had the good fortune to sample many of the authentic Japanese eats and having never visited Japan before, the experience was almost enough to make me believe I was really in Kyoto.
Despite being a big fan of the cuisine, I tasted more that night than I have in my lifetime!
From special handmade Japanese jelly to easy, DIY dashi broth. It really was a reward for my tastebuds. Although the true champion of the night, in my opinion, was their tuna sashimi.
The sashimi comes from a variety of different cuts, each more delicious than the next one. So firm and fresh that there is no doubt in my mind when they say they just flew them in. Thinking about it now, it is enough to make me hungry.
Moving on from there we started our journey upwards; the ground floor, “The Museum” features a combination of high-quality Japanese technology, jewellery, and art. Isetan had also invited Ikuko Kawai, a renown Japanese violinist to serenade us while we walked and shopped, and the music was indeed divine.
One up from that, “The Studio” uses its space to convey the fashion culture in Japan. From harajuku-esque dresses to casual street clothes, the shopping racks were intermingled with bright and beautiful decoration and accessories.
Furthermore they even had DJ Nikki performing a set while live mannequin models walked and posed from station to station. Definitely very cool.
The second floor, dubbed “The Room” holds their seriously gorgeous hair salon – 76Style. With their large mirrors, faux bamboo walls and minimalist nude/beige colour scheme, my inner beauty queen could barely be contained. Beyond that this floor housed a variety of Japanese beauty products and bedroom essentials. Not to mention this extremely gorgeous set up of gardening paraphernalia:
With a little bit of a heavy heart, we reached our final floor, “the Cube”. This space was split into three sections, ‘feel’, ‘know’ and ‘create’, each area serving a different purpose.
They have a travel agency to help you plan the most fruitful trip you can get to Japan, a huge dome that takes photographs of you from every angle to create your own ‘figureme’, an area that sold all sorts of neat technology you can use in the classroom, an event space that was featuring photography by Mika Ninagawa and so much more.
Looking at this store from an architectural and design standpoint, it is truly, very well done. I was impressed by all that I saw from the displays to the restaurants.
The fourth floor, although still under construction during the opening, is rumoured to begin business in January 2017 where it will contain a combination of 6 grand restaurants all highlighting the Japanese cuisine.
Now that, I will be most eagerly waiting to try. Thanks, Isetan for the great time, a job well done and a very unique experience indeed.