Next morning, we are back at west exit of Shinjuku Station. We will visit one of the largest outlet malls in Japan – Gotemba Premium Outlets (御殿場) located near the foot of Mount Fuji. This premium factory outlets house over 200 stores selling off-season high-end fashion items at reduced prices. That’s definitely music to bargain hunters’ ears.
International designer labels such as Armani, Balenciaga, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Coach, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Tod’s can be found here. That explains why Gotemba Outlet mall is such a popular shopping haunt among the locals and tourists alike.
Shinjuku to Gotemba Premium Outlets
From what I gathered, two straightforward means of transport to Gotemba Premium Outlets are offered by Odakyu. First option is to take Odakyu Limited Express Asagiri ‘romance car’ from Shinjuku to Gotemba before hopping on to the premium outlet mall’s free shutter bus service (every 10mins, 30mins and 50mins hourly). But Limited Express train ticket ain’t cheap at ¥2,500 per person and that’s the price for one way.
So we settled for the second option by taking the round trip ‘Gotemba Premium Outlets Shopping Tour Bus’ at ¥2,800 per person. There is only one bus per day and the departure time from Shinjuku is 09:20 and returning from Gotemba Premium Outlets at 15:00.
I initially gathered that this special route operates only during Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. But the day we took the bus was on a non-public-holiday Tuesday so please check with Odakyu to confirm. We bought the tickets at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center which is near Bus Stop No.23 where we alighted yesterday. The ticket includes seat reservation, a souvenir magnet, discount coupons and the premium outlets map.
Gotemba Premium Outlets mall is divided into East and West zones with a bridge connecting both. And yeah, it’s a freaky huge place. Does that mean lots to see and buy? Wifey was excited about the outlet mall shopping trip while I feared about the waiting time haha.
Luckily, the beautiful scenery along the way alleviates the pain of the 2 hours bus ride. Blessed with a clear blue sky, we saw the snow-capped Mount Fuji in its magnificent glory.
Shopping at Gotemba Premium Outlets
We alighted at the mall’s west zone bus stop and Mount Fuji was there to greet us. Gotemba Premium Outlets struck me as special because being able to see Mount Fuji while shopping was a pretty awesome experience.
We wasted little time for outlet shopping and explored around the west zone’s stores. The most popular stores in this zone are Gap, Coach and Burberry. There are also many brand names which we have never heard before. Nothing caught our eyes here and so we moved on to the east zone.
Many locals were queuing up in front of this Crazy Crepes store next to the link bridge. So we joined in the fun as we couldn’t resist the delicious-looking crepes. And yeah, it was nice!
Fuji San was slowly retreating behind the white clouds.
Ferris wheel of the amusement park can be clearly seen from the link bridge too.
And it seems that the more popular stores are in the east zone. Stores of Nike, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Armani, Kate Spade, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Tod’s and the Banana Republic were all full of people.
Spoiler alert for my Gotemba Premium Outlets review!!!
Do not expect ridiculously cheap prices though. The stuff here may be cheaper compared to those regular retail shops around Tokyo shopping district but most were comparable or more expensive than what we get in Singapore. So it is best that you are aware of the ‘market price’ in order to sniff out good bargains in Gotemba Premium outlet mall. We felt that the better bargains were from the sportswear brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma instead.
We boarded the return bus with only one big Adidas shopping bag, though wifey was clearly disappointed with the not so attractive ‘outlet price’ for the luxury labels.