While Dubai has no dearth of hot spots, it’s places away from the spotlight that often make for the best discoveries.
That's certainly the case with Kirakuya, a Japanese minimart that has sprung up in Mina Rashid, seemingly overnight.
Located opposite the water, the shop features a quirky exterior, complete with adorable kawaii drawings that light up at night. The space within has been designed to transport visitors straight to Tokyo.
The Emirati-owned store opened three weeks ago. The owner was inspired to launch the store after falling in love with Japan and its culture over several visits. During the pandemic, as travel was off the agenda, the founder decided to bring a “slice of Japan to Dubai”.
Inside, customers will be able to find Japanese products, from food items to toys and key chains to mobile phone cases, all of which are imported from Japan. Customers can also pick up plush toys of Kira, the store’s adorable Chihuahua mascot.
It’s the food products, also imported from Japan, that are the bestsellers. Those looking to try something new will find varieties of authentic products that are not available on other supermarket shelves. Examples include Hokkaido milk, Ramune (a carbonated soft drink), Vitamin C drinks, as well as authentic Japanese Kit-Kat, candy and noodles.
Japan is known for its eccentric products – from clear Coca-Cola to Yakisoba drinks – and some such products are also stocked in the shop from time to time. In Japan, many brands launch special or limited-edition flavours during specific seasons of the year, such as when Sakuras (cherry blossoms) bloom and plums fruit, and the shop plans on changing its stock throughout the year to include these one-off items.
Many of the products feature only Japanese text, so you might struggle to know what's what. But, it’s all authentic, halal and, if you’re confused about the right way to open a bottle or cook a packet of ramen, don't worry: many products also feature pictures on how to best consume them.
Open daily; 10am to 11pm; shop 14, Marina Cubes Street, Port Rashid, Dubai; www.instagram.com/kirakuya.ae