The Philippine Star - - PROPERTY REPORT PH - crazy quilt TANYA T. LARA

Un­der­neath the main street of Tokyo’s Ni­hom­bashi area and con­nected to the sub­way sta­tion is an art­work that runs sev­eral me­ters long on one wall.

It il­lus­trates life above the street dur­ing Ja­pan’s Toku­gawa Shogu­nate or Edo pe­riod — houses, stores, shop­pers, mer­chants with carts and goods bal­anced on a stick over their shoul­ders.

Hun­dreds of years ago un­til to­day, this part of Tokyo was al­ways a lively mar­ket­place.

When you take the stairs lead­ing to the street above, you will be fac­ing an im­pos­ing 1914 Re­nais­sance-style build­ing: Mitsukoshi’s flag­ship de­part­ment store, a des­ig­nated his­tor­i­cal build­ing by the Tokyo gov­ern­ment.

Mitsukoshi is the first and old­est de­part­ment store in Ja­pan, founded in 1673 as a ki­mono fab­ric dealer. In 2008, it merged with an­other Ja­panese de­part­ment store, Ise­tan (no re­la­tion to the one in the Philip­pines), to form Ise­tan Mitsukoshi Hold­ings, Ltd.

Mitsukoshi’s red, ver­ti­cal ban­ners on the fa­cade of its branches are fa­mil­iar to and

Fed­eral Land’s $400-mil­lion The Sea­sons Res­i­dences, lo­cated at Grand Cen­tral Park in North BGC, will have Mitsukoshi Mall in its podium fea­tur­ing Ja­panese and lo­cal spe­cialty stores, and Mitsukoshi’s sig­na­ture beauty store.

From Page C1 beloved by ev­ery Ja­panese na­tional. An­other fa­mil­iar sight is the pair of lion sculp­tures — de­signed in the like­ness of Lon­don’s Trafal­gar Square lions — that guard the en­trance of ev­ery Mitsukoshi store. If Hachiko’s statue out­side Shibuya sta­tion is a pop­u­lar meet­ing place, so are Mitsukoshi’s lions in Ginza and Ni­hom­bashi.

From the coun­try’s Shogun era to the mod­ern-day, Mitsukoshi has ex­panded through­out Ja­pan, South­east Asia, China, Italy and the US.

Now, this Ja­panese re­tail trea­sure is open­ing in Manila at The Sea­sons Res­i­dences, a joint de­vel­op­ment of Fed­eral Land, Ise­tan Mitsukoshi Hold­ings, Ltd. and No­mura Real Es­tate De­vel­op­ment Co., Ltd.

The Sea­sons is a $400-mil­lion (P20 bil­lion) four-tower res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment lo­cated at Fed­eral Land’s 10-hectare Grand Cen­tral Park in North BGC. It of­fers spa­cious one- to three-bed­room units with prices start­ing at P16 mil­lion.

It also brings to Manila the Ja­panese way of life — ev­ery­thing that we find fas­ci­nat­ing about Ja­pan, from its tra­di­tional to very mod­ern de­sign, hos­pi­tal­ity, con­ve­niences and re­tail brands.

“As one of Ja­pan’s most pres­ti­gious re­tail op­er­a­tors, Mitsukoshi’s de­ci­sion to es­tab­lish its first mall in the Philip­pines on the podium level of The Sea­sons Res­i­dences will help strengthen the lat­ter’s po­si­tion as a new land­mark des­ti­na­tion in the metro,” Fed­eral Land chair­man Al­fred Ty said in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view.

Mitsukoshi Mall in BGC will be the first in the Philip­pines and Ise­tan Mitsukoshi’s 56th out­let in the world.

The mall will have a su­per­mar­ket and beauty store by Mitsukoshi, and a mix of high-end to mid-range Ja­panese spe­cialty and lo­cal brands, restau­rants and cafes.


The Mitsukoshi Ni­hom­bashi Main Store, which we vis­ited last month in Tokyo, just fin­ished ren­o­va­tion in 2018. The ground floor —the busiest for its high-end cos­metic and beauty bars — was de­signed by ar­chi­tect Kengo Kuma, best known for his phi­los­o­phy of re­cov­er­ing the tra­di­tion of Ja­panese build­ings and rein­ter­pret­ing them for the 21st cen­tury.

Kuma, who’s also de­sign­ing the new Tokyo Sta­dium for the 2020 Olympics, told

Time­out Ja­pan in 2017 be­fore the re­vamp was com­pleted, “I love ren­o­vat­ing old build­ings and re­mem­ber be­ing so im­pressed by Mitsukoshi as a child…old de­part­ment stores used to be so flam­boy­ant, they had an aura all of their own. I’d be happy to see it re­stored to its for­mer glory.”

I thought — stand­ing on the ground floor of the Ni­hom­bashi store and look­ing at how shop­pers were nav­i­gat­ing the space — that it was a stroke of ge­nius how the ar­chi­tect cre­ated a white, light (and lit from within) ar­chi­tec­tural cutouts that spread like tree branches from col­umns and onto the ceil­ing.

Ar­chi­tect Kuma once said, “Trans­parency is a char­ac­ter­is­tic of

Ja­panese ar­chi­tec­ture; I try to use light and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als to get a new kind of trans­parency.”

It ap­pears that this ar­chi­tec­tural style is trav­el­ing from Ja­pan to the Philip­pines by way of The Sea­sons Res­i­dences and Mitsukoshi Mall.

With over­all con­cept de­sign by the Nikken Sekkei Group and ar­chi­tects from No­mura, To­rafu Ar­chi­tects and Asao Tokolo, Mitsukoshi Mall will have an alu­minum cladding fea­tur­ing a hemp or rope pat­tern. In­dus­trial hemp has long been grown in Ja­pan and part of the cul­ture since an­cient times. Hemp fiber was used in cloth­ing and to this day for sym­bolic ob­jects in Shinto shrines.

Ise­tan Mitsukoshi Ltd. GM for overseas real es­tate pro­mo­tion di­vi­sion Daisuke Kobayashi says the re­tail space will fol­low the sig­na­ture style of Mitsukoshi stores with their “sym­bolic space” along the main en­trance and wide re­tail spa­ces and an open shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment “to let cus­tomers ex­pe­ri­ence real Ja­panese-style shop­ping mall.”


Kobayashi first vis­ited the Philip­pines four years ago when they be­gan talks with Fed­eral Land (he has since come back more than 40 times for the pro­ject).

His ob­ser­va­tion about malls in Metro Manila is that “ev­ery mall has the same stores.” He adds that with Mitsukoshi, Filipinos can ex­pect “some­thing new.”

“Mitsukoshi will bring new Ja­panese spe­cialty shops and a Ja­panese-style in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment and pro­mo­tions that have not been con­ducted in the Philip­pines be­fore.”

Open­ing in 2021, Mitsukoshi Mall will have a mer­chant se­lec­tion rang­ing from Ja­panese brands to de­signer la­bels and the best names in ac­ces­si­ble global and lo­cal re­tail.

But per­haps the most ex­cit­ing sec­tion of the mall is the Mitsukoshi Beauty Store. Imag­ine all the beauty prod­ucts found in Ise­tan Shin­juku and Mitsukoshi Ginza de­part­ment stores in one place in BGC. The store brings to Manila lux­ury cos­metic brands and high-qual­ity yet af­ford­able Ja­panese brands, and the Ja­panese stan­dard of ser­vice, “which pri­mar­ily aims to pro­vide ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to make cus­tomers happy.”


Ise­tan Mitsukoshi Hold­ings Ltd.’s de­ci­sion to open in the Philip­pines comes at the right time and with the right part­ner. “We are a com­pany with a his­tory of over 300 years in Ja­pan but a new­comer in the Philip­pines. We pro­vide

re­tail know-how and Fed­eral Land has lo­cal real es­tate de­vel­op­ment know-how. Both com­pa­nies will demon­strate their strengths and con­tin­u­ously grow to­gether. We are work­ing on a new pro­ject with very strong and good busi­ness re­la­tion­ships.

“GT Cap­i­tal Hold­ings (of which Fed­eral Land be­longs) has al­ready formed al­liances with a num­ber of Ja­panese com­pa­nies rep­re­sented by Toy­ota, and I felt that they have an at­ti­tude of learn­ing Ja­panese busi­ness prac­tices. While Fed­eral Land has a his­tory of about 47 years, the idea of fur­ther growth with us is led by the vi­sion of chair­man Al­fred Ty.”

Kobayashi adds, “Fed­eral Land was in line with our new strat­egy of not only open­ing stores but own­ing the prop­erty to con­tinue our busi­ness.” (Ise­tan Mitsukoshi has 20 per­cent stake in The Sea­sons Res­i­dences, as does No­mura Real Es­tate.)

Like the No­mura Group, Ise­tan Mitsukoshi finds the Philip­pines’ “young pop­u­la­tion and five-per­cent eco­nomic growth rate” con­ducive to busi­ness growth.

“The live­li­ness and en­thu­si­asm of the peo­ple in Manila some­how show a pic­ture of Ja­pan in the 1980s when the eco­nomic growth rate was rapidly in­creas­ing,” he says.

What we travel to Ja­pan for — epic shop­ping tops the list — will soon be in Manila and re­tail ther­apy won’t ever be the same again.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call The Sea­sons hot­line at 359-6756, email dig­i­[email protected]­er­al­ or visit the show­room at 7th Ave cor. 34th St., Grand Cen­tral Park, North BGC, Taguig City (across Lexus Manila show­room).

Visit the au­thor’s travel blog at www. find­ingmy­ Fol­low her on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram @iamtanyala­ra.

Mitsukoshi: Ja­pan’s old­est de­part­ment store opens in the Philip­pines at The Sea­sons Res­i­dences in North BGC in 2021.

The Beauty Apothecary at Ise­tan Shin­juku. Ja­pan’s two big­gest de­part­ment stores merged in 2007 to cre­ate Ise­tan Mitsukoshi Hold­ings.

The four-story Mitsukoshi Mall is on the podium of The Sea­sons Res­i­dences and has an alu­minum façade fea­tur­ing hemp pat­tern, a crop that has a long tra­di­tion in Ja­pan and is a big part of the cul­ture.

The Mitsukoshi Su­per­mar­ket at the base­ment level of the mall will of­fer “Ja­pan Qual­ity Mar­ket,” and a per­ish­able food cor­ner for fresh prod­ucts and im­ported goods such as the fa­mous sweets and sake from Ja­pan. There will also be a live kitchen for freshly cooked food by pro­fes­sional chefs.

The Mitsukoshi Beauty Store brings to­gether global, lux­ury cos­metic brands and high-qual­ity af­ford­able Ja­panese brands.

A taste of Ja­pan in Mitsukoshi’s food hall, which will have Ja­panese culi­nary of­fer­ings and se­lect lo­cal out­lets.

Mitsukoshi’s flag­ship de­part­ment store in Ni­homabashi, Tokyo

Fed­eral Land pro­ject direc­tor Sophia A. Nuñez and Ise­tan Mitsukoshi GM for overseas di­vi­sion Daisuke Kobayashi by the lion sculp­ture in Mitsukoshi Ni­hom­bashi

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