“Every day here should be special.” These were the words of general manager Teruhiko Tomizawa as Aeon Town Yoshikawa Minami prepared to open up a new East Block. Those who have already visited the Annex and West Block of the shopping center may feel this statement comes off as quite bold. With a supermarket, drugstore and an in-building post office, it was seen as a convenient place for local dwellers, but nothing more. With the latest development, however, things are going to change.
After a large increase in visitors during the pandemic, Aeon Town Yoshikawa Minami wasted no time in planning an exciting addition to the urban complex. The East Block is a striking expansion to the shopping center that is set to revamp the mundane neighborhood site into a premier destination in its own right.
The Aeon Town Yoshikawa Minami’s East Block officially opens on June 12 and is expected to attract a large number of guests. Having had a look around the site, we thought we’d share some of the places that most excited us.
1. Aqua Ignis Musashino Onsen and Le Furo
Hailed as a “comprehensive resort for healing and food,” Aqua Ignis offers a central hub that will spoil guests with tempting dining and wellness options. The anchor store has everything for a family-friendly culinary tour. The food zone’s urban design partly echoes the same contemporary ambiance as its original leisure center in Mie Prefecture, but it also extends its commitment beyond aesthetics. Unique to this new building is Musashino Onsen that sits on the ground floor. Sourcing its spring water from 1,500 meters underground, this particular onsen is called the “spring of warmth” due to its high heat-retaining and medicinal properties. There are three types of baths: indoor, open-air and sleeping baths. Guests can bring their own towels or rent them.
Le Furo is another wellness destination at Aqua Ignis. 30 kinds of natural minerals called yakuseki cover the floor and emit infrared rays that help improve blood circulation. The hot mist produced by these medical stones is believed to boost metabolism and help with recovery from fatigue.
2. Le Chocolat De H
After its first outlet in upmarket Ginza, the celebrated chocolate boutique branches out to Saitama with the same “farm to bar” concept. Led by world-famous pastry chef Hironobu Tsujiguchi, who already has the highest award from the Salon du Chocolat under his toque, the shop dominates part of the first and second floor of the East Block. All of their sweet offerings are meticulously made. Indulge in a lineup of nigh-on irresistible bonbon chocolates, petit gâteau and our all-time favorite chocolate Baumkuchen. Or you can pair your macaron of choice (there are at least ten types) with their freshly brewed coffee for the quintessential afternoon delight.
3. Mariage de Farine
It’s not easy to produce the perfect buttery croissant and crispy baguette, yet Mariage de Farine manages to nail both effortlessly. Spearheaded by the same acclaimed pastry chef from Le Chocolat De H, the shop uses carefully selected domestic wheat to make bread that “you won’t get tired of eating every day.” Before you bask in their swoon-worthy collection of famed melonpan, glazed cinnamon rolls and savory sandwiches, make sure to save room for their milky softcream — a perfect summer companion.
4. Mabo Tenshinkan
Mabo Tenshinkan pays homage to its roots with its traditional fixtures, oriental antiques and variations of Chinese trinkets. The long-standing restaurant serves Sichuan dishes that are as delicious as they are nostalgic. With its dandan noodles and mapo tofu, Mabo Tenshikan has a knack for bringing out traditional flavors of crowd-favorites without any gimmicks or twists. Kinya Komoda has worked as a Chinese chef for 30 years, tuning his culinary techniques to produce an array of authentic classics. This includes xiaolongbao (dumplings), the crown of any Chinese banquet, which he makes sure are freshly rolled and steamed upon order.
The pizza and pasta dishes at Il-ché-cciano are filling, versatile and very satisfying. They also boast the freshest ingredients. Renowned Chef Masayuki Okuda subtly incorporates his own renditions to tantalize the taste buds. He has his own way of doing things and the pasta is cooked using his “boiling theory.” The open kitchen gives customers a closer look at the immersive process and the techniques behind his culinary masterpieces.
Best of the Rest
Gourmet conveyer belt sushi Maimon Sushi arrives in Saitama to serve specialties not local to the Kanto region, such as gasu-ebi from Kanazawa and Toyama’s white shrimp. Guests can dine inside the store or just relax in the common sitting area. More dining options await at the Maimon Shokudo and you can end the day by stopping by the souvenir shop.
Aeon Town Yoshikawa Minami
3-23-1 Minami, Yoshikawa-shi, Saitama Prefecture