When I first walked past Pacela, or "Motomachi Kuredo (Cred) Pacela" as it is officially known, I couldn't tell if it was a collection of fancy offices, a string of regular shops, some mediocre eateries or a combination of all of the above. I just walked on and assumed that it must be another run of the mill shopping mall with nothing too exciting to offer. It wasn't until a few days later when I happened to past by again, that I decided to go inside and actually figure out what 'Pacela' was.
To my surprise, it was rather different to what I had imagined. Yes, there were shops and eateries but rather than being mediocre, they seemed to actually be quite interesting. The first store I came across, for example, drew me in because of all the colors that were dancing around in the shop window - It was a store selling kimonos! Pacela's first few floors are dotted with interesting shops like this one, selling unique and intricate treasures. Then of course, there are your regular clothing, furniture and fragrance stores with sale signs flapping out the front.
Pacela has 11 floors. This makes it sound like a mammoth place but it's actually designed in such a way where each floor gets smaller the higher you go, making it rather unlikely for you to get lost. Unlike a lot of other shopping malls, Pacela has been designed with the outside environment in mind. As you make your way up through the different levels you'll find yourself moving from inside to outside, switching from air conditioning to natural air in the blink of an eye. There is definitely something about not being enclosed the whole time in a climate controlled box which makes shopping at Pacela a rather pleasant experience.
Floors 7 to 10 are home to a number of different restaurants and cafes, including Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Vietnamese eateries. There is a big visual menu at the entrance to the restaurant level which signposts what's on offer and where you can locate it. Or, if you prefer, wander around and let the brightly colored plastic food models displayed in the shop windows be your guide.
A visit to Pacela wouldn't be complete without checking out the terrace deck on the sixth floor. It offers an excellent view over Hiroshima Castle and there are lots of well shaded tables to sit around and enjoy the afternoon breeze. Kids will also be kept entertained with areas for them to run and play and also an indoor play train for them to climb on. That, along with the colorful ice-cream shop in the basement area, is sure to keep them, and you, smiling.
If you really want to make a day of it, think about having yourself pampered in the Cleo International Hair Salon, a full service salon on the 5th floor with English speaking staff who have experience dealing with non-Japanese hair.