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Ryubo Palette Kumoji is gem for shoppers

By: Elizabeth Garrett

Date Posted: 2001-06-29

Ryubo Palette Kumoji is an Okinawan gem in Naha. It is located across the street from Kokusai Street with its name on the top of the building. The name Ryubo is short for “Ryukyu Boeki” (boeki means import/export). Because of the store’s business-like exterior, it resembles an office building or even a hotel. However, just like an artist’s palette is full of different colors, Ryubo Palette is full of different shops and restaurants with eight floors of shopping fun. The ninth floor is a nice place to relax and eat some good food if you have any money left after shopping.

Though Ryubo Palette is an upscale shopping center, I actually found many items on sale and things I could afford to buy.

It is approximately 13 km to Ryubo Palette From the Camp Foster Kitamae Gate. Total driving time was about 25 minutes taking Highway 58 on a Saturday. While driving on Highway 58, after you enter Naha you will see a sign that says Kokusai Dori 0.4 km. Turn left at this corner where you also see a Hot Spar convenience store on the left. Ryubo will be on the right hand side of a square after you cross a small bridge. There are 100 parking spaces in the basement but you have to drive to the back to find the entrance. Other pay parking lots in the area give one hour free parking if you spend at least ¥1,000 in Ryubo and get their ticket stamped at the Customer Service Counter.

Outside the building there were beautiful potted flowers and plants. There are also various shops such as a MOS Burger, photo lab, optical shops, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream parlor outside. If you like green tea, you might want to try a scoop of green tea ice cream for 290 yen at Haagen-Dazs. The taste is very unique.

The first floor immediately inside the department store is full of beauty aids and definitely a lure for women. From the extensive Clinique section to Shiseido to Chanel the alluring cosmetic displays certainly look appealing. Other items on the floor include accessories such as costume jewelry, fine jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, hats, and even hair extensions. In the back of the store, various gastronomic delights await you. I bought a scrumptious swan-shaped cream puff topped with fresh fruit for ¥380 at a bakery.

The 2nd floor called the “Young Ladies Floor” has several interesting places that are slightly more affordable and quite fun to browse around. The Mama Ikuko shop offers a variety of kitchenware, sachets, clocks, and knick-knacks. K’s Variety Plaza is like an American drugstore with its assortment of reasonably priced beauty aids such as hair color, perfume, cosmetics, and lotions. Trend Club had pretty pastel sweaters on sale for ¥1,000. The Afternoon Tea tearoom is a lovely café with an Afternoon Tea Living store attached to it. The Store offers simple ceramic ware, cloth napkins, and other house ware. There I found some adorable mini lead crystal vases for ¥650 each.

The 3rd and 4th floor feature various designer women’s clothing such as Ralph Lauren, Sonia Rykiel, and Lady McGregor. Japanese designers include Yukiko Hanai (conservative dresses), Hiroko Bis (trendy clothing), and Tokyo Soir (formal wear). There is also a beauty salon.

The 5th floor is actually the men’s wear department. With the usual assortment of slacks, dress shirts, belts, ties, jackets, and suits there is a place for men to buy some items for themselves.

The 6th floor is the house wares department. Here you will find everything from pots and pans, to ceramic ware, lovely Okinawan lacquer ware, Narumi bone china, and bath and body products. There is also an event hall on this floor that will feature a Kimono Bargain Sale through Jul. 2.

The 7th floor features a large bookstore, CD shop, optical shop, stationery/office supply, travel agency, and jewelry store. I saw some beautiful pearl necklaces on sale at 50% off.

Children’s clothes and shoes, toys, an arcade with a castle, Sanrio Plaza, even a kids’ hair cut salon are located on the 8th floor. A prominent display of beautiful and expensive Japanese hand-made dolls took the center stage.

On the 9th floor are various restaurants serving western and Japanese food. We ate at an affordable Japanese restaurant called Shiki Saii. We ordered zaru soba (buckwheat noodles) for ¥550, tempura udon for ¥680, and iced tea was included in the meal. My husband tried to order a coke, but the waitress kindly informed us that iced tea is included in the meal. I also asked for green tea as it is complimentary in Japanese restaurants, and always tastes better when someone else makes it. There is also a movie theater on this floor.

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