Elegant high-end shopping at T Galleria in Naha

Elegant high-end shopping at T Galleria in Naha

by Peter Sidell

Much of the shopping in Naha is about souvenirs and traditional Okinawan goods, and you'll find them in abundance on the main drag of Kokusai-Dori or in the covered arcades to its south, where you can buy all the cookies, Shisa lions and aloha shirts you can carry. However, you don't have to go far to find a more upmarket place to go shopping; right next to Omoromachi station, just a few minutes ride away on the city's adorable Yui monorail, you'll find T Galleria, a smallish but swanky shopping center with plenty of premium and brand name stores.

It's easy to spot from the outside, with its high glass-and-steel frontage, the host of high-end names emblazoned like billboards on the long side wall, and the design which seems to be modeled after a traditional castle. Then when you get inside it's like walking into the lobby of a five-star hotel; high ceilings, muted colors, chic design, soft music, shining polished floors, and a striking glass-and-rock fountain at one end.

Walk through to where the shops are and it's more of the same, very easy on the eyes and ears, making for a relaxing, leisurely atmosphere to browse the stores in. And what stores there are: the list of brands is like a Who's Who, from Alfred Dunhill to Yves Saint Laurent, nodding heads along the way with Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Ralph Lauren, saying hello to Prada, Ferragamo and Bulgari, then sharing a dram of premium malt whisky with Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan (which sounds like a firm of Edinburgh solicitors).

As well as the designer fashion, jewellery and watches, there's also a section dedicated to fragrances and cosmetics, so while the men check out Ray-Bans and Tag Heuers, the women can indulge with L'Occitane, Lancôme​, Clinique, Esté​e Lauder and more.

Then on the first level there are a few shops selling souvenirs and Okinawan goods, where you can pick up traditional local glassware, food and candy, and goods from the Nago Pineapple Park in the north of the island. Also here at 'Ryukyu Mura' you can take a seat at a mocked-up old bar and sample from scores of different brands of awamori, the fierce Okinawan spirit, though you probably won't be allowed (or able) to try all of them.

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