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Spreading the wealth
The revitalization of Marunouchi is not limited to Maru Biru. The surrounding area, Marunouchi 2-chome, has also seen the following funky new stores spring up over the past few months.

1. A.P.C.
Simple yet stylish clothes with a rock-star twist from French designer Jean Toitou.

2. Brooks Brothers
Eponymous Ivy Leaguer's outfitter.

3. Cabane de Zucca
Paris collection fashion brand for wild young Tokyo trendies.

4. Facial Index New York
Fashion-conscious eyewear store based in Manhattan.

5. Kate Spade New York
Smart city dweller's bag brand.

6. Motion Element
Minimal tailoring for sophisticated salarymen.

7. Tomorrowland
Elegant and conservative fashion boutique.

 

 BUYLINE
Shibuya’s Zenmall (29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 03-3770-1641), known for offering large clothing for men, is holding a two-day Early Bird Pre-Summer Sale. The sale will take place on the mornings of April 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun) for three hours (9am-noon) each day. During these times, nearly everything will be marked 20-80 percent off. Some of the bargains include suits with a spare pair of pants for \9,800 (sizes 3-8L), and summer casual jackets for \8,000 (3-6L). Imported designer suits by makers like Calvin Klein and Boss are also marked down to \39,000 and \59,000, respectively. Those who spend over \10,000 can take part in the Cash Grabbing Contest, where shoppers can dig into a box full of cash. Spend over \30,000 for two chances to grab, and \50,000 for three. Don't miss this rare opportunity, as it could be one of the few chances for those looking to buy large sizes in Japan, especially at affordable prices.
 PAST ISSUES
ADVERTISERS:
Ash 03-3770-3755
Biodanza
Boots
Clinique TCA
Club Boy Beau
Crunch 03-5459-123-
Dr. Allen Leroy Robinson
Hair Dressers Archecal 03-0449-6106
Hayato New York 03-3498-9113
Hugo BOSS
Japan Electrolysis Clinic (Ginza)
Maiko Make Over Studio Shiki
My Boo Nail Salon 03-5428-1121
Neal's Yard Natural Therapy Center
03-3405-7216
Roksen Bar Cosmetic 03-5658-7675
Sin Den
Takagi Skin Clinic
Tamariba.inc.
Tokyo Skin Clinic
Toni&Guy Japan 03-3797-5790
Watanabe Hair Dressing 03-3405-1188
Who Ga 03-5570-1773

IN STORE ARCHIVE:
535: Anything goes
Add a little spunk to your life at Tokyo's zakka housewares shops. Hanna Kite visits five of the best.
531: To a tee
Tokyo’s hottest T-shirt shops boast designs by some of Japan’s top talents. Hanna Kite dresses down.
527: Treasure chests
Hanna Kite checks out five Tokyo jewelers that offer the perfect setting for your next shopping excursion.
523: Arts and crafts movement
Trina O’Hara goes in search of the Japanese creative spirit.
519: Bra-vo
Move over, Hello Kitty. Sexy has finally replaced cute in Tokyo's lingerie stores. Hanna Kite reports.
515: Bowled over
Trina O'Hara tracks down the latest tableware to suit any time of day.
511: East meets nest
Trina O'Hara finds that Tokyo's flea markets and shrine sales suit all types of personalities and interests.
503: The write stuff
Hanna Kite takes notes at Tokyo's finest pen and paper boutiques.
499: Blasts from the past
Tokyo trendsetters have a knack for making old fashions new again. Jennifer Au goes back in time at the city's coolest vintage clothing stores.
495: In the bag
From haute to mass-market, designer to dowdy, Tokyo has a tote to suit every taste and budget. Jennifer Au tracks down the best.
491: Paper chase
Steve Trautlein goes on a search for Tokyo's best English booksellers.
487: Happy trails
A love affair with the great outdoors is easily consummated at these Tokyo retailers. Steve Trautlein gears up.
483: Top hats
Whether it’s a rooftop barbecue, a riverside picnic or an afternoon stroll, there will be times this summer when you’ll want to keep the sun off your face. †Martin Webb hunts down Tokyo’s best headwear suppliers so you can stay shady in style.
479: Oriental express
This summer, all things Asian are hot stuff. Martin Webb finds out how to get the look without breaking the bank.
474: Haute haven
Forget Roppongi Hills’ aspirations to be the city’s cultural hub. This is the consumer capital of the world, and it’s all about shopping. Martin Webb reports.
468: New kit on the block
Backed by street-wise fashion chain store Beams, these seven new stores are upping the style quotient in Daikanyama. Martin Webb sizes up this brand new shopping experience.
463: Can buy me love
Stuck for ideas about how to make Valentine’s Day extra memorable this year? Martin Webb shops around for some great gift ideas for lucky ladies.
452: Perfect timing
For the rushed residents of our fair metropolis, keeping an eye on time is one of life's little necessities.
448: House of style
The newly open Marunouchi Building is drawing legions of eager shoppers from all over Japan
445: Present perfect
Tired of wasting your yen on last-minute gifts at duty free?
441: Toy story
Martin Webb tackles every parent's annual ennui and finds playthings that could earn you more peace and quiet than you bargained for
437: Natural selection
Seven new "select shops" are giving style seekers an excuse to keep spending
433: Window shopping
Stephen Cotterill indulges his yen and peers into the retail oasis that is Glassarea Aoyama
429: Jet, set, go!
With the holiday high season just around the corner, trendy travelers are in hot pursuit of packing accessories
425: Loud and clear
No home is complete without a sound system, and for audiophiles, time at home revolves around those little black boxes
421: Red brick revival
Once at the heart of Yokohama's bustling port industry, Akarenga Soko has a new lease of life as an exclusive entertainment and retail complex
417: Eye browse
An eyewear boom has seen new stores open and old favorites prosper
413: Sporting goodies
Shibuya sportswear
409: Go Figure
An army of action figures
405: Puff 'n' Stuff
Tokyo's best cigar shops
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House of style

The newly open Marunouchi Building is drawing legions of eager shoppers from all over Japan. Martin Webb fights through the crowds to report.

Last month, Tokyo's newest temple to capitalism flung open its doors to the masses. The Marunouchi Building, popularly known as Maru Biru, is the concrete manifestation of corporate giant Mitsubishi Holdings' approach to 21st-century Japan. Billed as an ultra-modern, multipurpose space, the 37-story, 180-meter skyscraper houses 140 cafés, restaurants and shops, as well as offices, conference halls, academic suites, event venues and gardens.

In homage to the previous Maruonuchi Building-an eight-story structure built in 1922 as Tokyo's first modern office building-the architects preserved parts of the original architecture and added to the already impressive earthquake-proof design. They also created a layer of vegetation over the roof of the lower floors to combat the urban heat-island effect. In just one month, Maru Biru has seen a host of art, music and design events draw hordes of shoppers from all over Japan into the complex, injecting some much needed vitality into this once sedate and gray business district.

 

From the ground up
The rush starts down in the basement-level food court, home to a host of tempting treats. San Francisco Italian dessert store C3 and Belgian chocolatier Debailleul vie for customers with healthier rivals like Bagel K, Ying Kee Tea House and focaccia specialist Garbagnati. Apart from mouthwatering luxuries, essential services like a post office, bank, copy center, florist and photo lab are here alongside gift stores and a handful of boutiques. Also on hand is age-old expatriate favorite the American Pharmacy, where slimming tablets are available to help you lose the pounds gained at the food court.

The sleek 37-story Maru Biru is changing the face of Marunouchi

In the cavernous ground-level Maru Cube section, shoppers can watch themselves on monitors mounted in silver, tear-shaped sculptures suspended from the ceiling. Next door to busy eatery-cum-event space Café Ease is artistic accessory specialist H.P. Bijoux. The giant alien teddy bears in the window display should prepare you for the wild and wonderful interior goods, bags and jewelry on offer inside the gallery-like store. Super-trendy boutique Beams gets the biggest space on the floor. The fashion buyers from this store are world-renowned for their expert eye, so be sure to take a look. Adding a touch of business savvy to the space is financial media giant Bloomberg's interactive gallery and showroom space.

Second-floor highlights include sharp shoe store Grappe Bannister and ultra-cool ladies' boutique Aquagirl, but the biggest draw has to be The Conran Shop, which in fact spills up onto the third floor. "Plain," "simple" and "useful" are interior design mogul Terence Conran's watchwords, and the home furnishings and accessories here meet these prerequisites with miles of style to spare. More fashion names on the third floor include Theory, United Arrows, Anteprima and Yoshida Kaban. Lingerie, plants, spectacles, gifts, bags and a hair salon are among the 19 outlets on the fourth and final retail floor. For those looking for more cerebral fare, Yamano Music offers a wealth of CDs and DVDs while Maruzen stocks thousands of Japanese books and magazines, plus a handful of foreign titles.

 

Style meets substance
For shoppers who are done with their well-deserved sprees and feeling peckish, the only way is up. Foreign fare from California, Hawaii, France, Italy and Vietnam is available on the fifth floor. An impressive array of Far Eastern cuisine-everything from tofu to tonkatsu, and sushi to sumibiyaki-takes pride of place on the sixth floor. More formal affairs-requiring a reservation, sartorial preparation and plenty of cash-take place on the 35th and 36th floors, which command a magisterial view of the metropolis. (The same view forced the Imperial Agency to re-landscape the palace gardens to shield the royal family from the prying eyes of diners and the 4,000 Mitsubishi employees based in the office section of the building.)

Checking out the latest styles at the third-floor Pool Side

Mitsubishi Holdings reports that the number of visitors to the building has exceeded all expectations, with an excess of 1 million making the trip in the opening month. Embattled shoppers and staff testify to the fact that the building is a little too popular, but after one visit the reasons are clear: Maru Biru offers an unrivaled day out for sophisticated city dwellers.

Shops open 11am-9pm Mon-Sat, 11am-8pm Sun and hols; restaurants open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat, 11am-10pm Sun and hols. 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-5218-5100. Nearest stn: Tokyo. www.marubiru.jp

Photo credit: Courtesy of Marubiru, Tama Miyake

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