This place sells handcrafted stuff from all over Japan, at excellent prices. Every part of Japan has its own traditional crafts, and walking around this store is like getting a primo tour without leaving Tokyo.
Every prefecture in Japan is famous for something that has been perfected by local artisans for centuries: ceramics, lacquerware, iron teapots, kimonos, washi paper, baskets, furniture, dolls, and more. The catch is, usually you have to go to that place to buy it. But we’re in Tokyo, so we’re in luck! In order to promote these beautifully made things and help the artists keep their traditions alive, the government runs the Japan Traditional Craft Center to bring the goods to a wider audience. And because it’s run by the government, the prices are what you’d pay if you traveled for days and searched the backstreets to buy directly from the artist.
I like to take people who want to buy real Japanese art here, because everything sold at the Center is of really high quality, and has to meet strict criteria:
•It must mainly be used in everyday life.
•It must be primarily manufactured by hand.
•It must be made using traditional techniques.
•The materials must be the ones that have been traditionally used.
•It must come from a unique regional industry.
Handmade goods are never cheap, but for items of this quality, the ones at the Japan Traditional Craft Center are a real bargain. And because there’s such a wide range of goods, you can find everything from stationery and brushes that cost a few dollars to one-of-a-kind treasures for hundreds.
Open: 11:00-19:00, closed Sundays
Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist