Inside a Chikagai in Japan (Underground Shopping Centers)
Underground shopping centers are one of the best places to go during summer here in Japan, where afternoons can be very hot. Right now, the temperature outdoors can rise up to 35º C and although I enjoy strolling and bicycling outside, this time I would choose to stay indoors due to intense heat outside.
I decided to have some lunch today at Yokohoma Station’s East underground shopping center called “Porta”. This shopping center opened in 1980 and it is just one of Yokohama’s biggest underground shopping street. Locally, underground shopping centers are called “Chikagai” (地下街) and are not to be confused with “Chuukagai” (中華街) which means shopping street.
Most of these chikagai’s are conveniently located near train stations in Japan. This makes it very easy for people from work and school to do things like shopping before they go back to their homes.
Most of the underground shopping centers have a floor map where it lists all the places you can go to. As you can see (below), it looks like you can do everything here – restaurants, fashion, services, grocery, bookstore, and many more…
I had my lunch today at a Thai restaurant named “Siam Orchid”. And Siam Orchid is just one of the international restaurants in Porta.
After lunch, I toured around Porta to see what other shops you can visit.
The shop with the longest line is from this Taipei dessert shop.
A fruit juice at this juice bar would be very refreshing this summer.
American style restaurants – hotdogs, roast beef box.
I visited a French bakery Jean Francois to buy some bread. They have an amazing bread selection!
If you need to buy some omiyages (souvenirs), check this store “Yokohama Pocket Mart”
If you would like to take home desserts and sweets, check the Sweets & Deli area.
There is still more to explore for sure, but time to go up and get back to work 🙂