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Highway “Service Area” evolves to a hot shopping & dining destination

What’s highway SA?  Why a hot shopping destination now? Japan has highway (expressway) of over 9,000 kilometers in total length, and along the highway, rest areas are located every 20 kilometers. About one in three of them are large “Service Area (SA)” and rest of them are small “Parking Area (PA)”. Their “basic functions” are, parking spaces, rest rooms and gas stations; but recently, Japanese SA concept is rapidly evolving to a leisure complex that provide travelers with unique and memorable shopping, dining, relaxation, and entertainment experiences. Originally, Japan Highway Public Corporation (now dissolved) needed to build SA along the highway simply because Japanese regulation prohibits to build any store …

Special menu at Surugawan-Numazu SA: grilled Shizuoka ox tangue with Shizuoka grown wasabi. Source: NEXCO Central

Building bond with “Developers” is vital for national retail expansion

Major Japanese “developers” of commercial facilities (e.g. shopping centers) operate a number of popular shopping complexes and always have a handful of upcoming development / redevelopment plans. Examples of such developers include: MITSUBISHI ESTATE, MITSUI FUDOSAN, Sumitomo Realty & Development, NTT Urban Development, AEON MALL, Toshin Development, HULIC, MORI BUILDING and MORI TRUST, Tokyu Land and other major railway group companies (e.g. JR, Tobu, Seibu, Keio, Odakyu, Keikyu, etc.), and so on. In today’s Japan, most shopping complexes of almost all the cities are built around the artificial developments by these developers. Therefore, it is very important to build and maintain good relationship with them, in order for the brand …

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