Only a short train ride from Tokyo, Odawa City is located between the famous hot spring resort, Hakone and the Sagami Bay offering visitors a number of unique opportunities to see different parts of Japanese history, culture, and tradition. The city originally developed as a castle town under the Hojo Clan during the Samurai’s warring states period in the 16th century with its symbol, Odawara Castle still remaining now. In such a castle town, on December 4th 2020, a new 14-story commercial facility, Minaka Odawara opened at Odawara Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. Based on the concept of "Mirai no Shukubamachi (the post town of the future)," the facility is characterized by an Edo-esque atmosphere like that of an authentic post town.
Minaka Odawara is a commercial facility with Odawara-Shin-Jokamachi zone literally translated as Odawara New Castle Town, and the Tower building with offices, library, lodging, clinic etc.
The commercial area on the lower floors from the first to the fourth floor of Odawara-Shin-Jokamachi zone is characterized by its Japanese design, which is typical of Odawara's prosperous days as a castle town that also served as “shukuba machi” (post town). These post towns were towns that possessed both the functions of accommodation like lodgings while also serving as a distribution base for the delivery of various official items.
Having such a historical background, Minaka Odawara has 57 shops of which 35 stores are from local companies in Odawara, all decorated in a Edo-like atmosphere. And there is a hotel with onsen (hot spring) on its 10 to 13th floor on the Tower building, just like how the area was once a shukuba-machi (post town). Some of the rooms from the lodging, Tenseien Odawara overlooks the beauty of a castle town of Odawara with its symbol, Odawara Castle.
One of the rooms at Tenseien Odawara overlooking the Odawara City and Odawara Castle
Shop and Dine
Over at the Odawara-Shin-Jokamachi zone, visitors will be able to shop and dine as if they have time travelled in time to the Edo period. Combining high rise buildings with traditional Japanese styled buildings, Minaka Odawara creates a shopping street with a unique cityscape. Because the facility is directly connected to the station, it is very convenient for visitors to drop by. From the area’s proximity to the surrounding ocean, fresh seafood is delivered to the restaurant everyday. From Minato Shokudo, to Yoichi to other seafood restaurants at Minaka Odawara, there are plenty to choose from to enjoy the fresh seafood.
Noteworthy features of this new commercial facility is its group of stores dealing in souvenir confectionery over on the 1st floor. From a unique pudding store, Jokamachi Pudding where they sell puddings as both dessert and a meal, to Hakone craft beer at standing bar, Odawara Rokuzaemon, to Zen, a store specializing in smoked seafood, there are 11 stores in total to pick up a souvenir before going back to Tokyo or travel to other places of Japan.
The top floor on the Tower building is a relaxing space with a restaurant, Sky Dining, an observation deck and a foot bath. Foot bath is free and open from 10am to 6pm and sells a small towel for 100yen to those who don't have it to dry their feet.
Long Standing Shops
Awabiya has been a long standing shop since 1857 for over 430 years in Odawara city which started its business as a fisheries intermediary distributing seafood not only locally but also nationally. As its direct sales store, Awabiya opened a shop, Odawara Rokuzaemon where they offer a standing bar with different types of sake and Hakone craft beer along with onigiri rice balls and other gourmets. And they also sell marine soup stocks that go well with sake and rice.
Inari Sushi Sagamiya
Inari sushi is a simple style of sushi made of sweetened rice packed into pouches of seasoned aburaage (deep-fried tofu). And since 1869, Inari Sushi Sagamiya has been a popular inari sushi speciality store in downtown Tokyo who opened their brunch store here at Minaka Odawara. Its original taste has been passed down for generations and the deep fried tofu made exclusively from the selected soybeans turns this inari sushi to have just the right sweetness with moderate thickness and chewy texture.
Since 1863, Yamayasu, has been offering a variety of himono, a dried fish product which is typically grilled and eaten as-is. These fish before they are dried are marinated in a sweet-salty mirin (a sweet rice wine) sauce. Once they are dried, the concentrated umami taste and pleasing saltiness of himono makes it a perfect accompaniment to sake and rice and has long been loved by Japanese people.
Closest station is JR Odawara Station
33 minutes train ride from Tokyo station on Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train)
70minutes train tride from Shinjuku Station on Odakyu Romancecar
100minutes train ride from Shinjuku Statioin on Odakyu Odawara Line using express train