Over 7,500 products, locally sourced produce and food, eco-friendly initiatives…this Muji is amazing!

Muji fans, are you planning a trip to Hiroshima soon? You should be because Muji just opened their newest store there, and it also happens to be the world’s biggest branch of the popular minimalist lifestyle brand.

The Hiroshima Alpark store, whose market space has the biggest area out of all the Muji stores in the world, not only stocks just about every Muji product available, but sells local produce, hosts fun local events, and more. Our Japanese-language reporter (and frequent product tester) Masanuki Sunakoma happened to be in the area on an errand, so he decided to stop by and see what the new store had to offer.

The world’s biggest Muji store spans two floors of the western building of the large-scale shopping center Alpark, which is a three-minute walk from JR Shin-Inoguchi Station in the city of Hiroshima. Alpark recently underwent a huge renovation and Masanuki, who lived in the area a few years ago, was shocked by how many people he saw there. The once-deserted shopping center was now bustling with customers. It was amazing to see how much it had changed!

What’s more, it seemed like the Muji store was the centerpiece of this renovation. It was certainly the first thing Masanuki saw when he entered the second floor of the mall via a connecting bridge, and it was extremely busy.

The second floor of the Muji Hiroshima Alpark branch seemed to have furniture, storage, kitchen items, and electronics, and they also were holding an event there. On the first floor were clothing and food items, as well as daily necessities. But the most interesting part was, in addition to the standard Muji products and displays, this Muji store seems to also have embarked on a number of first-time initiatives.

For one, this Muji shop is striving for eco-friendliness in several ways. For example, you can buy toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and hand soap in bulk by filling up your own bottles or containers with exactly how much you need. The price is charged by the gram, and you can buy as little as 100 grams (3.5 ounces). Apparently, this is in collaboration with Hiroshima Prefecture’s initiative to reduce plastic waste in the Seto Inland Sea.

There is also a bulk food section, where dry foods like tea leaves, cereals, grains, nuts, and fruits are sold by the gram. This is to help prevent food waste, by encouraging customers to only buy what they need. This area seemed very popular as there was a line to get in (though it also had limited admission).

The store also sells furniture made from wood that was discarded for cosmetic reasons. That means each item will be pretty unique, and in Masanuki’s opinion, that’s well worth checking out.

Masanuki wasn’t in the market for any particular thing, but when he came across the farmer’s market section of the store, he had to try out a new product from a local producer: Hiroshima Oyster Chowder (590 yen/US$4.63).

It’s made with low-fat milk and oysters sourced from the Ono Seto channel, which is famous for delicious Hiroshima oysters, that were for one reason or another considered not pretty enough to sell. It required only five minutes in the microwave to heat.

The chowder boasted of having a rich and thick flavor, so Masanuki was excited to try it.

It was insanely delicious. It was super thick and creamy, and Masanuki could not get enough of the rich flavor and generous umami of the broth, which was made from oysters sauteed in butter. Masanuki had it for breakfast, and it felt like he was starting the day at the height of luxury. Apparently, it was developed to make Hiroshima’s famous, delicious oysters more familiar to everyone, and Masanuki thinks they could easily accomplish that goal. Especially if the chowder is available at the highly accessible Muji.

▼ “Let’s eat seasonally.” The local produce section of Muji Hiroshima Alpark

So if you find yourself in Hiroshima–perhaps to have some Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki or to visit the Rilakkuma Cafe–Masanuki highly recommends you stop by this unique Muji store if you get the chance. Not only does it sell about 7,500 different products, but it can also give you a taste of what Hiroshima has to offer, in more ways than one. And if you’re an oyster fan, don’t forget to try the chowder!

Shop Information
Mujirushi Ryohin Hiroshima Alpark Branch / 無印良品 広島アルパーク店
Hiroshima-ken Hiroshima-shi Nishi-ku Inokuchi Myojin 1-16-1 Alpark West Building 1st and 2nd Floor
広島県広島市西区井口明神1-16-1 アルパーク西棟1、2F
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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[ Read in Japanese ]