The Malaysian embrace of Japan is nothing new. In a city and a country already well-versed with the culture, merits and imports of Japan, the launch and opening of Isetan The Japan Store at Lot 10 is the icing on the proverbial cake; it's the first of its kind in the world, aside from its smaller counterpart store within the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris, France.
Isetan The Japan Store is a swanky specialty store, featuring 11,000 sq m spread over six floors of fashion, lifestyle and technological products from Japan, with more than 200 brands debuting outside of Japan for the first time. In concept, it differs from other departmental store as the products are coordinated and curated around the four pillars of the Japanese philosophy of aesthetics: iki (cool), miyabi (elegance), sen (sophistication) and so (pure). For the time being, only five floors are operating, with each floor designed with and dedicated to a single theme: The Market, The Museum, The Studio, The Room, and The Cube. The sixth and final floor, The Table (a premium dining floor featuring authentic Japanese cuisine), is set to open in Jan 2017.
We break down every floor and its offerings below:
Best for: Bites, Japanese sweets and seasonal groceries
Dine and shop for seasonal groceries at The Market. The floor offers authentic Japanese food and flavours, as well as seasonal ingredients (seafood, sashimi, meat, vegetables and so on) from each of Japan's regions. Here, you'll be able to sample Japanese green tea and sweets from Fukujuen, Henri Charpentier, Ginza West, Minamoto Kitchoan and Toraya. There's also a bakery; a section featuring sake, regional craft beers and globally-acclaimed Japanese whiskies, as well as western-style spirits made in Japan; and a delicatessen peddling bento boxes and home-style cooking. Each zone also offers eat-in dining areas, where you'll be able to indulge in standard Japanese menu, such as sushi, soba, and tempura. At the back, there's a zone where patrons can discover the latest in Japanese food technology and kitchen appliances, namely freeze-drying and LED-lit vegetable processing.
Best for: Japanese high fashion designers
The Museum is the store's main entrance and is located at the ground floor. Japanese fashion greats hold court here; think Comme des Garçons, Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER, and Yohji Yamamoto. Besides that, goods reflecting Japanese craftmanship and sensibilities are on display here, such as bamboo, lacquer, paper, wood and other such materials.
Best for: Japanese streetwear
For those whose style leans a little more street, The Studio spotlights next-generation, up-and-rising Japanese fashion designers, such as Kolor, Mame, and N.Hoolywood. Other labels include G-Shock, Porter, and Onitsuka Tiger. On this same floor, Time Out Tokyo Café and Diner dishes out coffee, tea and Japanese bites.
Best for: Japanese beauty and lifestyle products
The Room splits itself into two distinct spaces of concentration: beauty and cosmetics brands, such as Shiseido, SK-II and Wacoal, as well as minimalist, sleek lifestyle products – copperware, pajamas, and towels, and the like. The beauty, hair and nail saloon collaboration uka x 76Style is also located on this floor, plus uka's clean-eating café Ukafe.
Best for: Books and Japanese culture classes
Culture vultures, meanwhile, will do good to skip straight up to The Cube. The floor's layout encompasses 12 experiential areas where customers can delve deeper into the Japanese culture. For one thing, there's a bookstore featuring some 10,000 books curated by book director Yoshitaka Haba of Bach and in collaboration with Kinokuniya. There's also a tatami-style classroom, which will see calligraphy, flower arranging and tea ceremony classes being offered all-year long. FabSPACE is a collaborative makespace; here, you can make use of 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines, and other such cutting-edge Japanese technologies for a small fee.
Lot 10, 50 Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2382 7777/thejapanstore.mistore.jp). Daily, 11am-9pm.