Shirokiya has made it official. It’s going to move to the new Ewa Wing at Ala Moana Center.
KHON2 was the first to report the move back in November. Now we’re learning its popular food court, known as Yataimura, is going to get even bigger.
The $35 million project is slated for the ground floor of Ala Moana’s Ewa wing expansion. Shirokiya just signed a lease for 25 years.
The company is calling it the Japan Village Walk and says they are using a “traditional Japanese town reminiscent of old Kyoto” for their inspiration.
The Yataimura food court has been the bread and butter for Shirokiya since it opened five years ago, so it only makes sense for the company to capitalize on its popularity.
The food court currently seats about 250 people and features 25 vendors.
The 55,241 square-foot project is scheduled to open on June 1, 2016 and will feature about 60 different vendors.
“That’s mind-boggling. It’s already hard to make a choice just here right now, so it’s gonna be really hard to find something good to eat,” Pearl City resident James Poyo said with a laugh.
“That’s amazing because I really love Japanese food, so to know that there’s going to be a bigger variety, I think that’s also great for other people to try more foods,” said Kalihi resident Coralyn Sunico.
The company tells us that the new food court will look more like the massive ones you see in the basement of Japanese department stores. It will have five beer stations — three more than the current location.
Project coordinator Daisuke Mori says the new location is designed to appeal to a wider customer base.
“Ninety percent of our customers are local, so I’m hoping that the new location, a lot of tourists from Japan, tourists from the mainland, will come to the new Shirokiya,” Mori said.
KZOO, a Japanese radio station that currently has a studio inside the store, will also be making the move to the new location, but the company isn’t telling us any more details about which vendors are also moving. We’re told both sides are still negotiating.
Mori says the new location will be bustling with people and the company is excited about the move.
“It’s going to be the new center court, so a lot of guests of Ala Moana Center, they’re going to start from there, so that’s why we went to that place,” Mori said.
In a press release, Shirokiya highlighted the major aspects of their plan:
- YATAIMURA (Quality Food Court and Beer Garden, 800 seats)
Yataimura will offer various Japanese food selections, including quality bento and okazu, such as takoyaki, yakitori, ramen, soba, sukiyaki, sushi, and more. In addition, Yataimura will also feature five beer service counters for the whole area.
The new Yataimura will resemble the famous Japanese “Depachika,” the quality food court setting found in the basement of major depertment stores in Japan.
- NIPPON KOMACHI (Shopping Alleys)
The walkways will be designed to replicate the shopping alleys of Old Kyoto with regional Japanese traditional crafts and artisans.
Also, visitors to Japan Village Walk may enjoy the seasons of Japan as you stroll under hanging trellises of sakura (cherry blossoms), fuji (wisteria), momiji (maple), and kusu no ki (camphor tree).
- OMATSURI HIROBA (Festival and Event Square)
Omatsuri – or festival – events will be enjoyed every 5th, 15th, and 25th of each month. Festival games and treats, such as kingyo sukui (goldfish scooping), yo-yo tsuri (water balloon fishing game), wata ame (cotton candy), amezaiku (Japanese candy sculpture), and more, will be featured in the Omatsuri Hiroba.
- GUARDIAN SPIRIT SANCTUARY (Good Luck Gods)
Guardian Spirits Buddha statues depicting each of the twelve animals of the Japanese zodiac – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar – will be displayed in this spiritual sanctuary.
The old location will close before that but the company did not want to say exactly when that will happen.
The specialty store originally opened on the Ewa side of the mall back in 1959. But it only stayed there for seven years. In 1966, Shirokiya moved next door to what is now Macy’s to have more space.
Ala Moana’s expansion will open on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, a couple weeks ahead of Black Friday.
The Ewa wing will feature 650,000 square feet of retail space, including a 167,000 square-foot Bloomingdale’s department store, large format retailers, dining, entertainment, and 200,000 square feet of inline retailers. Nordstrom is relocating to the new wing in March 2016, and Foodland announced they are returning to Ala Moana in the Ewa wing in July 2016.