CONTRIBUTED BY AMY DECKER

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Can’t find a decent casual carpet for your living room? Bored with the monochromatic selections and limited styles offered at the base exchanges? Given up on making your Okinawa house functional and beautiful?

Don’t throw in the towel just yet. Get yourself to easy-to-find Living Design Square Awase, a complex of 3 home design and furnishings stores located on Hwy 329.

Storefronts

A sprawling building by Okinawa standards, the LDS is identifiable by large, colorful signs, the refreshingly bright green paint of the anchor store MaxPlus Home Furnishings contrasting with the boldly cubist beige and black “The Grace” store on the upper level  Today O!K rounds out the offerings with 2 stories punctuated with a bright orange accents.

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Prepare to spend at least 2 hours strolling through The Grace, filled with elegant, contemporary, sleek urban living designs. Cool, pricey white leather sofas ( in the $4000 range), ghost-like acrylic dining sets with interesting inlays, funky lamps, and large art pieces, as well as masculine steel blue and black fabrics make this a stomping ground for sexy, jet set, city-lovers who aren’t ready to relinquish their style to island friendly wickers, rattans, and dyed cottons. There are a few traditional room sets featuring a heavier upholstered look ( think old-school Ethan Allen), but overall The Grace is upscale & modern. While dining sets were found in the $6k range, you can also walk out of The Grace with an edgy wall mirror for under $300, a lovely bedside lamp for $60 or an interesting modern art canvas for under $40.

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The Grace is arranged in room groupings, so you get to envision yourself living a much hipper existence in fully coordinated living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. It’s a place to dream, to get ideas, and to eat soup.

Yes, Soup Soup is a bright, sunny restaurant on the second level where you can sip 8 kinds of soups and a large selection of herbal teas if you need to fortify yourself after seeing the prices at The Grace or if you just want to linger a while longer in the rarified atmosphere of fine living.

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White cauliflower, hot spring chili con carne, and crimson potato potage are temptingly gourmet treats on a rainy day or for a quiet lunch date in a sunny space. There is an English menu which reveals soup prices starting at 380yen with options to add bread, salad, and a drink for upwards of 750yen for the full set. Ice cream offerings include crimson potato for 390 yen, and you can sip teas arranged by remedy: Amura Thyme Lavender for anti-aging ( and bad breath), German Chamomile and Spearmint for stomache stress, and Raspberry Leaf and Sage for menstrual relief ( let me know if this works!).  For a unique experience, try one of 3 Chinese blooming teas ( rose, chrysanthemum, or globe amaranth) for 500 yen.

Downstairs, you’ll find Today O!K, an Ikea-like warehouse of reasonably priced basic furniture, from beds, to chairs, sofas, and tables. The cavernous expanse offers a seemingly endless supply of simple, affordable, Okinawa-sized items perfect for those living in off-base apartments or just wanting an option beyond base furniture that won’t break the bank. Small sofas were found at about $150, though some were as high as $700. Cute bookshelves with pastel painted backs were less than $20.Today_ok_bookshelves_2

A sign at the entryway explains that all the furniture offered is meant to be enjoyed TODAY. So please help yourself to a free delivery truck and take it home yourself! Or you may enlist the aid of a professional onsite delivery service.

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MaxPlus Home Furnishings Store is my favorite, and a real gem for the island. Think Target’s home section times 10.  Walking through the automatic doors, I breathed deeply as if I were Julie Andrews on top of the Alps getting ready to belt out a tune. Your senses are greeted by color, light, and all the things you didn’t know you simply must have. From colorful Le Creuset kitchenware; boldly designed Italian frying pans in fiery pink, red, or orange; dazzlingly patterned shower curtains( about $30); cool bath mats; fruit shaped cutting boards; glamorous leopard print trimmed rubber gloves; interesting wall art options ( yes, the triptychs are priced as a whole unit- about $45 for all 3 pieces); neat clocks; fun lamps; colorful office supplies and desk chairs; an AMAZING variety of curtains from island casual flower motifs to mod circular prints and more elegant scroll designs grouped by color; and rugs large and small….you won’t walk out of MaxPlus empty handed. Celebrate your purchase with a bite at the MaxPlus Café, where you’ll find the usual coffee drinks and smoothies and some tempting desserts. Also, while seated at the café, you can watch your kids via flat screen tv playing in the Kids House…more to follow on that!

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Rugs and curtains are measured in centimeters, so bring your own tape measure or conversions. I was able to enlist a friendly employee to show me with her tape measure the actual size/length of various items, but you’ll feel less foolish if you come armed with your own dimensions.

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And yes, they take Visa (as well as yen).

For those shoppers with little ones ages 3-9, drop them off for up to 2 hours in the first floor Kids House while you shop stress free.  Check out the inside cover of September’s Okinawa Living for a full page ad with pictures and a map! The complex is closest to Foster’s Legion or SgtMaj’s gate, getting on 81 then turning left onto 329,  but when you turn onto 329, the stores will be on the other side of the street. Not hard to turn into them, though.  From Kadena or Awase, the trek is a tiny bit longer, but you’ll be on the correct side of the street and there are 2 entrances in case you blow right by the first one.
There is ample parking- 600 spaces in a large lot with underground parking as well. Delivery options are available for large purchases, including borrowing one of their cars(!). The stores are open every day (365 days a year!) from 10am-8pm.

With LDS Awase, there is no reason to compromise your style. There’s something for nearly every taste and price range at a refreshingly spacious, easy to locate and simple to navigate shopping space that offers a splash of color, a hint of elegance or just simple design solutions to make your Okinawa house a home. With soup.

32 COMMENTS

    • They open at 1030 daily (all three of the main stores). I *think* they are open till 9pm..but I always go earlier when it is typically less busy.

      • I saw in the listing the hours are posted as open till 8pm..fyi. I do know for a fact they open at 1030 now though…had to sit and wait the last two times I went within the last two months.

      • Also to note…I bought a bed at the MaxPlus store. They were very helpful and (it had to be ordered) it was delivered free and put up for no cost in my home on base…Courtney. It was fantastic service. (There are some employees that speak English, just ask around)

  1. The best part about this place for military families that no one has mentioned is that there is a used furniture area! If you go down the hallway between MaxPlus and OKToday you will see a set of stairs going down. The downstairs area has the best prices for furniture (all previously owned – but what do we care – when we move our stuff gets dinged and scratched anyway!) The inventory changes daily and the prices are reduced the longer a piece has been there, so you can score some really awesome deals on some beautiful furniture! It is definitely the place to go if you don’t want to pay full price for furniture!

  2. Went the other day for the first time. Love all these stores! There’s even some clothing and shoes… plus any kind of chopstick you’ve ever wanted, even sleek black ones decked out with rhinestones (could make a really cute wedding gift). I found most things to be a bit pricey though (for example, $20-$30 spatulas), for most things I would head to Nitori instead… But this place is so novel, even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still a blast to just look around.

  3. Come out Kadena Gate 2 and stay on that road for a WHILE until you get to 329. Turn right on 329 and go 2-3 miles down and it will be on your left. Don’t hold me to the 2-3 miles thing. Landmarks wise, I do know that there will be a McDonald’s on the left and it is several intersections after that. Hope that helps!

  4. I’m with you, Leah (my daughter’s name also-by the way)! We have purchased two items in the parking garage and I love them. We got a HUGE iron and glass coffee table in perfect condition for 10,000 yen and a beautiful cherry wood piece for our front entry. It has a cabinet, two drawers and a full length mirror (for those outfit checks when heading out the door). It was only 2,000 yen! They wrapped everything in a million layers of shrink wrap and loaded it in the van for us. I also found out they will come to your house, look at any furniture you want to get rid of and if they think it will sell, they will take it and sell it for you (they keep a portion of the profits of course). Great place!

  5. We came across LDS yesterday on our way elsewhere, and what a wonderful happenstance! We loved the selection at this “Japanese Bed, Bath and Beyond” and IKEA-style warehouse. What really got us in a happy mood, though, was the basement sale. We didn’t ultimately buy anything, but the flea-market atmosphere of the used furniture area was lively, if not a little musty. Kind of reminded me of an aunt’s den, but with price tags.

    We enjoyed snow ice after MaxPlus and before Today!OK. It was exactly the breather my husband needed after perusing hundreds of window coverings, exploring bean bag options and getting giddy over the colorful trash can options.

    Once our HHG finally get here, we will be returning to make some purchases, for sure.

  6. Hey- go out the Legion Gate and go straight through the light. Follow this road through Kitanakagusuku Village and down the back side of a hill (you’ll get a great view of the Pacific side of the island) and your next major intersection at the bottom will be with the 329 road. At that light turn left and Living Design Square will be on the right a few hundred meters up.

  7. Soup Soup was great! Shock of all shocks I actually had soup there. But I didn’t plan on getting anything to eat so I ordered one soup for my daughter to eat. The two ladies that worked there were nice enough to give me a second small bowl of soup and bread for my daughter so we could both enjoy! Of course we both loved it!

  8. FYI – They don’t open until 1030. I tried to go at 10 the other morning and ended up having to leave… my son wouldn’t sit in the car to wait with me! 🙁

  9. Love LDS Awase… I’ve been there twice in the past two weeks. Wish I would have visited before! Great items to choose from, but does anyone know somewhere that sells artificial plants? I’d prefer real ones, but our 2 cats would tear them apart. One has been know to even chew on the plastic ones, sigh. Any suggestions would be great!

  10. We just went to these stores today. I am in love with them and I can see this being one of “my” places that I go all by myself. I could get lost in MaxPlus for hours. I love it! My hubby is decorating the new Passenger Terminal and we found lots of reasonably priced zen like sofas at Today OK. I can’t wait to go back.

  11. Me and the family moved here about six months ago and puchased two sets of bunk beds from O.K. Furniture. I noticed shortly after, that they were builing a new furniture store next to it. I just couldn’t wait for it to open! I could tell by the looks of it that I was going to love it! Sure, enough the grand opening hit, and it was a sure thing!! I plan on puchasing many things in MaxPlus and the Grace in my stay here. If you haven’t tried their cafe’…you should! Me and the husband sat down for a quick lunch and the food was delicious! It came with a sandwich, desert, and drink for about $8. They also have a small play area to leave your little ones to play while you shop. There is also a tv monitor elswhere for you to look in on them from time to time. I love this place!!

  12. We bought some cupboards at Today O!K a few years ago and we thought the place was pretty cool then (it reminded my husband of IKEA); it looks even better now that they’ve expanded. I should check it out. Thanks for the review!

  13. I only discovered this place last week and I’ve been back 3 times. I’m in LOVE! I checked Okinawa Hai for a post and couldn’t find one, so I went back and took loads of pictures to share with you guys. I’m a little relieved that I was beaten to it, I took an entire memory card worth of photos and couldn’t decide which ones to post. 🙂

  14. Wow! Nice post. Sounds great, Amy. I love your Julie Andrews comment. It’s so nice to get a little dose of hipness every now and then, even if it is just for a visit. I think there’s another MaxPlus on island by the way, down south near the ice skating rink. I just can’t remember how to get there! Anyone know? (Maybe it’s not called Max Plus, but I think so!…It was a hip three story home furnishings store.)

  15. Deena,
    What a scary experience. I wonder why they’d rent it to SOFA at all if it WAS actually illegal or if the security guard was just overzealous? (We’ve rented that OK! truck twice, but since we live off base, never needed to go through the gate.) Thanks for the heads up though!-Kandy

  16. I’ve never been to Max plus, but I have bought from Today O!K and just wanted to leave a bit of info for everyone, although they do allow for you to rent one of their trucks to bring home your furniture if you don’t have one, it may be illegal for SOFA personnel to drive. We didn’t know this until we rented the truck, drove to base, went to get our visitors pass and got denied. The Japanese guard at the visitors center was visibly irate that we had a ‘yellow’ plate truck and informed my husband he wasn’t supposed to be driving it and that he should call the cops. Oops, we didnt know 🙂 Just wanted to give everyone a heads up 🙂

  17. This sounds FANTASTIC! My teenage stepdaughter has just come to live with us and I was trying to think how I could spice up her boring room — sounds perfect!

  18. I’ve dragged my husband and kids to Max Plus at least three times this week. I’m finding so many vibrant, fun things to fix up my office space. I even found the craziest, most colorful cutting board to add some life to my beige kitchen. At Today OK I was able to find a reasonably priced table with the help of the wonderfully English speaking staff. The Grace scared me, but only because I had my kids with me. They’re touchy –feely kids.

  19. We had recently moved houses when a friend introduced me to MaxPlus and Today OK. I immediately fell in love visiting three more times in two days. They have great accent pieces, rugs, kitchenwares, etc. We spent lots of time smelling the huge selection of bath salts, oils, and lotions. I have loved everything we have purchased so far and especially love the locale and the affordability for the selection and quality.

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