Marui Imai is a department store with a long history in Sapporo which currently occupies two main buildings in the center of the city close by Odori Park. These two buildings are the Odori Building and the Ichijo Building which stand across from each other and are connected by walkways at the B1 basement level and at the 5th and 7th floors. There is also a Nishi Building (also called the West Building) which stands beside the Ichijo Building, but this has only two floors and stocks only Louis Vuitton products.
Marui Imai’s Odori Building has 10 floors above ground and two basement levels. It stocks mainly women’s wear, accessories, and cosmetics, but also has some children’s clothes and toys, a dining section, and a very popular food section in its basement levels. Just across the street, the Ichijo Building has 9 floors above ground and one basement level. This building stocks men’s wear, furniture, interior goods, and has a large number of international brand boutiques on its lower floors. In this article we will briefly introduce the history of Marui Imai in Sapporo and then look at the highlights of the Odori Building. Please see our separate guide to the Ichijo Building for more details of that building.
Marui Imai is Hokkaido’s oldest department store and dates back to April 1872, when a settler from Niigata Prefecture called Toshichi Imai opened a sundries stall which he named Imai Shoten. Located on the banks of the Soseigawa Canal this was a simple thatched-roof stall, but Imai’s business was successful and two years later he was able to relocate and build a new store. The new store was a drapery selling kimono fabrics and it was called Marui Imai Gofukuten. This business also prospered, and the first Marui Imai department store was opened in a three-story brick building in Sapporo in 1916.
Marui Imai went on to become a highly successful chain of department stores, and at one time there were seven Marui Imai department stores in Hokkaido. However, today there are just two: the main store in Sapporo and another branch in Hakodate. Both the Sapporo and Hakodate stores are now subsidiaries of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings which also owns the Sapporo Mitsukoshi department store.
Inside the Odori Building
On the 1st floor of the Odori Building you will find select cosmetics boutiques featuring international brands such as Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Lancôme, Dior, and MAC and Japanese brands such as SK-II, Pola, and Shiseido. The Italian luxury fashion brand, Moncler, also has a boutique on this floor.
The 2nd floor has ladies shoes, bags, and accessories. Here you will find brands such as Cole Haan, Kate Spade, and Longchamp.
From the 3rd floor to the 7th floor you can find a range of women’s wear.
The 3rd floor has high-end international brands such as Escada Sport, Moschino, and Blumarine.
The 4th floor has formal office wear such as J. Press, Mackintosh, and Comme Ca Platinum.
The 5th floor has a ladies underwear selection and ladies jeans. They also have some boutiques with plus-size clothes such as Trans Work, To Be Chic, and Evex By Krizia.
The 6th floor has formal events wear and small-sized clothes. Here you can find brands such as Aquascutum, Leilian, and McGregor. Small-sized brands include Christian Aujard, Gianni Lo Giudice, and Georges Rech.
The 7th floor has large size clothes. Brands on this floor include Comme Ca Comfort, As Know As Olaca, and Leilian Plus House.
The 8th floor has children and babies’ toys and clothes and maternity clothing and supplies. On this floor you can find kids and baby clothes from Polo Ralph Lauren, Miki House, and Mezzo Piano. Sanrio also has a branch on this floor which sells character-themed gifts and stationery featuring popular characters such as Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Pompompurin. This floor also has a Baby Room for parents with nursing babies.
The 9th floor is mainly given over to a large events and exhibition space. However, you can also find a wig shop here, a gift store, and the Tax-Free Counter.
The 10th floor has Marui Imai’s dining section with a range of restaurants serving sushi, soba and udon noodles, Hokkaido specialty dishes, Western-style grilled food, Italian pizza and pasta, and a café serving Japanese sweets and light meals. There is also a hair salon on this floor.
Marui Imai also has two basement levels dedicated to food and drink. In the B1 basement you can find a market full of seafood, fruit, and vegetables, meat, tofu, and pickles; delicatessen stalls selling prepared meals, boxed lunches, salads, and cheese; and if you get thirsty, there are stalls selling ice creams and juice.
In the B2 basement there is a huge range of confectionery which includes regional brands, a bakery, a liquor store, a tea and jam store and a coffee supply store.
Services & Facilities
There is an Information Counter on the 1st floor of the Odori Building where you can pick up a multilingual brochure which includes a floor plan for all the Marui Imai Sapporo buildings, and information on services, and tax refund procedures. This brochure is written in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Thai.
A free Video Tablet Interpretation Service is available at the 1st floor Information Counter. This service is available in the following languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Thai.
There is a JP Bank ATM on the 1st floor which has English language guidance and which accepts most international bank cards.
Wheelchairs, baby strollers, and shopping carts can be borrowed from the 1st floor, B2 basement level, and the 8th floor of the Odori Building.
Lockers are available in the B2 basement level and cost 100 yen to use. Cold storage lockers are also available in the B2 and B1 levels and these also cost 100 yen.
Free Wi-Fi is available at the following locations: the B2 basement level, the 1st floor, the 2nd floor’s handbag area, and on the 9th floor near the Tax-Free Counter.
Cafes can be found on the B2, 3rd, 4th, and 7th floors.
Tax Refund Procedure
Visitors from overseas are entitled to a refund on consumption tax if they spend 5,000 yen or more in a single day. To claim your refund please bring your purchases, receipts, and passport to the Tax-Free Counter on the 9th floor of the Odori Building. The tax refund must be claimed on the same day of purchase.
Marui Imai Sapporo’s Odori Building is located directly to the south of Odori Park. It is a 3-minute walk from Odori Subway Station which is served by the Namboku, Toho, and Tozai subway lines. It is also just 2 minutes on foot from Sapporo TV Tower. The Odori Building is connected to the underground shopping street, Aurora Town, at its B2 basement level. Both Odori Station and the TV Tower can be accessed directly from the Odori Building via the Aurora Town shopping street. Marui Imai Sapporo’s Ichijo Building is located directly to the south of the Odori Building.
Opening Hours: 10.30 – 19.30
Restaurant Floor: 11.00 – 21.00 (until 19.30 on Sundays)
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.