Asakusa – Bengara

You can’t walk around Japan without seeing the beautiful noren hanging in the doorways of shops and restaurants, but what if you wanted a unique one to take home as a souvenir? The ability to custom order a noren combined with a friendly owner who can communicate fairly well in English makes Bengara the place…

Yamato Antique Fair

On the third Saturday of each month, hundreds of sellers gather around the Yamato JR station in Kanagawa at a street fair focused on Japanese antiques. Sellers range from professional dealers to market hoppers with boxes of unsorted items they hope to rid themselves of quickly. For the visitor to Japan, the antique fair environment…

Kokeshi

The humble kokeshi were said to be invented in the Tohoku region of Japan as souvenirs for travelers coming to enjoy the regional hot springs. The simple design of traditional kokeshi is a round “head” attached to a cylinder body, created from cherry or mizuki wood by an artisan using a lathe. If the faces…

Sarubobo

Sarubobo is a common sight around Gifu Prefecture as it is a symbol of the Takayama area of Gifu. It is a doll traditionally fashioned from red cloth and no face that was made for local children to play with. While vaguely human in shape, sarubobo literally means “monkey baby” and the lack of a…

Tokyo Kawaii Musee

Dressing in kimono and strolling around town is a popular tourist activity for both foreign and domestic young women. In trendy Harajuku, Tokyo Kawaii Musee offers a unique experience on several aspects. Rather than more traditional styles, TKM styles lean toward the modern, cute styles incorporating lace, unusual print patterns and fancy hats and bags. Though at 7,560…