The mall with Everything
Many people think Oita is a vast beautiful countryside with rice fields and a couple of cool tall buildings here and there. That is in fact, not the case. Recently, Oita has developed into a booming city. Because of they were provided with money so they could flourish, they built a mall called Tokiwa. It is abut 5~6 minutes away from Oita Station and it holds everything from clothes you need to buy for a wedding to books for cooking specifically Japanese food. It has everything you need at a very reasonable price. It has 8 floors including 2 Basement floors with almost every Japanese food you can think of. Its interior is beautifully designed and they have the most kind staff I've ever interacted with (No Joke). They really go out of your way to help their customers find what they need.
A little bit of Help
There is a wonderful little service desk inside of Tokiwa. Right beside it, they advertise something that it almost a necessary part of life now days. FREE WIFI. Yes, I said it, FREE WIFI. If you are ever in need of some help, be sure to check out this service counter. They treat you (the customer) with the upmost respect and take everything you are looking for into consideration when trying to help. They are very well versed on all of the shops inside Tokiwa. Not only are they very detailed on the stores inside of Tokiwa, they also know the vicinity pretty well so, do not hesitate to ask them questions about the surrounding area! They are willing to care for your needs. The service counter focuses on advertising tax-free shops. Almost all of the shops in Tokiwa are tax-free. Tax-free means less money spent! This counter also functions as a tex redemption counter! It is targeted towards people who are traveling to Japan. If you spend over 5000 Yen with out Tax at any store within the Galleria Takemachi, Sent Portal or any of the shopping areas around tokiwa, you will get all of you tax money back! That is, only if you bring all of your receipts with you. It is a great way to save a little bit of money. If you're ever in town, you should defiantly try it out.
The access way to Tokiwa head department store is you may get off at JR Nippouhon Line Ooita station , and then walk around 7min from Funai Cyuoukuchi (north side).
The Food Basement
If you like shopping for unique products at a cheap price, you should visit the basement in Tokiwa. They stock some of the most high quality foods. Most of it is grown and cultivated in Oita, but they do occasionally have special items from different prefectures in Kyushu. For example, they have many different types of Jam that use locally grown fruits. They also stock other foods such as Manju (a steamed bun with filling inside), sauces and drinks containing fruits and vegetables. I’ve tried the Tangerine juice. It was so delicious, I had to buy more to share with my family!
Two Special little Places
And not too far away from Tokiwa, there are two special little places I’d like to share with you. One of them is a cute little tea shop. It sells a wide variety of tea as well as products to make tea. But, thats not all they have. Because they're a tea shop, it’s almost a must for the to have matcha, right? Well, they’ve used they're delicious matcha tea and made a dessert out of it. Match ice cream! They use the perfect amount of matcha so it’s not too overpowering. It’s just right for people who love tea (especially match). The second place is right down the street from the tea store and it was just as fantastic. It is a perfect to have lunch with friends or by yourself. I had a toriten set with a dango soup on the side. If you're looking for a place that gives you a lot of food, then this is just for you. The overall quality of the food was out of this world. I would eat it every week!
There is a shopping street nearby that I suggest you visit! One may think “This a wonderful place were I can buy clothes, food and things for my house!” right? Well, Oita’s shopping street put a little bit of a spin on these normal everyday items. It is conveniently located 5 minutes away from Oita station by foot and is incredibly easy to locate. If you walk to the end of the shopping street there is an open space to your right. If you turn around, you'll se the Takecho shopping street! The open space is used for a variety events that are held every once in a while. There are events that promote local products of Oita. When there is a music event of some sort, the area is also used as a place where people perform. Surrounding the area are different kinds of restaurants. They're great for when you're worn out or just looking for some munchies.
The ingredients of Bungo Ohno
Within this area, I stumbled upon a very fascinating/unique store. It is towards the end of the shopping street and man do they have some one of a kind items there. The name of the shop is “Daichi no Monogatari”. As you can see, they occasionally sell fresh vegeta-bles right outside the store. The vegetables come from a place in Oita called “Bungo Ohno” and if you haven't guessed yet, this store specialized on a various amount of food items that come straight from Bungo Ohno! They are all locally grown/made products that are sold at a very reasonable price. For example, I found Dried KABOSU peels that were simply amazing! (KABOSU is a fruit grown in Oita. It’s like a combination of lemon and lime). It was very delicious and costs about 480 yen. I made my way to the other side of the shop which seemed to have a lot of sauces and drinks. They had a particular drink that I hap-pen to like! It’s called Amezake. It is a traditional Japanese drink that is made from rice. It typically contains no alcohol (but there are some that contain from 1~8%). I recommend you try it at least once in your life because you’ll get hooked once you take a sip. It’s per-fect for all you sweet lovers out there.
Speaking of sweets, I'm sure many of you like pancakes, right? You have your typical 3 stack of pancakes with some syrup and butter on top and like most people, probably eat it for breakfast right? Well I'm gonna let you in on a little something very special. Located about 5 minutes away from Daichi no Monogatari, there is a wonderful little restaurant that takes a focus on Japanese Pancakes. When I say Japanese pancakes, I mean nice soft fluffy delicate thick pancakes with variety toppings and different flavors. From December to June they make a special strawberry version that uses strawberries from the Fukuoka Prefecture. They’re most popular flavors are White Macadamia, Fresh Cream and Chocolate Banana. My personal favorite is the Chocolate banana because it’s like a chocolate banana sundae with pancakes! Most of the pancakes come with a gargantuan sized scoop of ice cream. How can it get any better than that! They definitely have some of the best pancakes I have tasted in my life. And that my friends was a little taste of Oita. There are many more interesting places that offer a variety of things. How about coming on over? You never know what you'll find.
Here's the homepage of Tokiwa (English)
Barae Tea Wakatake (Japanese)
Bungo-Oono Bureau (Japanese)