Yesterday, I went to Marugamemachi Green for the first time.
What is that? You may ask.
Let me refresh your memory.
A few decades ago, Takamatsu was mostly famous for having the longest covered arcades in Japan. I’m talking about 4kms of covered streets full of shops of every sorts. Takamatsu may still have the longest arcades in Japan, but they’re not what they used to be anymore, as just like the rest of Japan, shopping malls in the outskirts of the city started to attract all the business and shoppers in recent years, and still do.
It wouldn’t do too far-fetched to say that downtown Takamatsu would have become dead is nothing had been done. Luckily, in recent years, Takamatsu city government started to take action to renovate downtown and make it attractive again. It started with Marugamemachi which was completely renovated and even gentrified being redesigned, having trendy stores opening there and such. The northern part of the street is nowadays probably the most bourgeois area in the whole city (with Mitsukoshi, Louis Vuitton, and I’m missing some because to be honest I never cared for those types of stores). The middle part of the street still needs some work. And the southern part? It has been a construction site for more than a year, with construction going on 24/7 for the past few months, and the result opened about 10 days ago, and it is Green! I don’t know if it is green in the “environment friendly” meaning of the adjective, but the name of the place is Marugamemachi Green.
What is it exactly?
A complex of a luxury hotel, luxury apartments and a shopping mall that should be the key element for reviving and gentrifying downtown.
Will it work? Let’s hope so. While I’m not a big fan of shopping malls, seeing the type of stores there (mostly aiming to young shopaholic, the type that love city life), I have high hopes.
I also hope that things won’t stop there, and that the other covered streets will have similar makeovers in years to come to finish to completely transform downtown Takamatsu and make it attractive again for young people and businesses (i.e. stop the bleeding of young people to other more urban prefectures).
There’s even a brand new shrine right next door.
If you want to know more details about the topic (the dying arcades, the renovation, etc), I warmly advise you to read thos blog posts :
- from Cathy Hirano: about Marugamemachi’s renovation and gentrification, about the shopping arcades woes and success stories.
- from Pat Scanlon: about Marugamemachi Green.