Stylish (Hip) Asakusa - Eight Accessories

Stylish (Hip) Asakusa - Eight Accessories

粋(オツ)なASAKUSA~8つの道具編~

Many amazing things in Japan have taken root in Asakusa, which has long thrived as the town built around Sensoji Temple. Specially order an accessory you've had your eye on, enjoy the fashion without needing to take anything with you, then take a break with some delicious treats...
Why not spend a hip day this way in Asakusa?

  • You just might come across something you'll have with you the rest of your life in the craftsmen quarters of Asakusa

  • Special orders in Asakusa

    Being able to specially order goods you want and which are perfectly suited to you ... that's pretty hip in its own right. There are tons of shops in Asakusa where you can place special orders like full orders and semi-orders. In the Edo Period, carrying around goods designed to your specifications through these streets where a cosmopolitan culture had blossomed was considered to be stylish, mainly among the actors, geishas, storytellers, and others involved in the fine arts. Why not place a special order for some of the goods you find all around as you experience the ambience of the Edo Period that still lingers in Asakusa to this day? Many of these goods take time to complete, but surely the wait will only serve to produce a source of attachment to them in you.

  • 1. SENSU - Bunsendo

    A personalized folding fan (sensu) you'll want to carry around in style

    The interior of the shop is adorned with lots of brightly colored folding fans. Craftsmen carefully craft each fan individually atop the store.

    Bunsendo is a store that specializes in folding fans that has been a purveyor to many prominent figures since long ago, including people in the kabuki and dance worlds.
    Inside the shop there is a gorgeous array of everything from smaller-sized folding fans that can be used for everyday use to heftier fans for dancing. "Folding fans made of cloth are on the rise, but the traditional paper fans definitely produce a better breeze," says the fourth-generation proprietress. You can order one or more folding fans that have been hand-painted with designs painted on them, and they also offer a service where they will write your name on a folding fan you purchase.

    Not only auspicious motifs with calabash gourds, but also finely striped pattern are hand-painted on folding fans. This is true craftsmanship. Folding fans cost 8,796 yen (prices may vary depending on the pattern).

  • 2. ANTIQUE ORDER MEGANE - Watanabe Optical Co. shop

    Tons of glasses (megane) crafted with devotion

    This store has rows of glasses with valuable antique frames. Many of the antiques will be difficult to repair and adjust.

    Watanabe Optical Co., which is located on a side street in Asakusa and has a cute, eye-catching display against a red wall, is a shop of long-standing that was established in 1887. Inside the store you'll find lots of fashionable glasses, including retro rounded glasses and stylish frames glasses. Chief among these are numerous rare, antique glasses that Kokichi Watanabe, the fourth-generation owner, has purchased in Japan and overseas, with many people coming from far away to purchases at this shop. In addition to full orders of original frames, they also offer semi-orders in which customers can choose from individual frames.

    Top: The store's original frames. Customers can choose their color and size. Full order: 38,000 yen (tortoiseshell frames also available; prices will be quoted).
    Middle: European antique frames, which stay on by attaching to the nose. 55,000 yen.
    Bottom: German frame maker WISSING. The frames on the left and right have different designs. Semi-order: 48,000 yen

  • 3. GETA ZOURI - Tsujiya flagship store

    Discover your favorite from among a wealth of designs

    Tsujiya's flagship store was founded in 1912 and is located on the bustling Denboin Street that is packed with tourists. The inside is full of traditional zori and geta sandals, as well as goods with eye-catching color schemes and those decorated with delicate embroidery and carvings. Rie Tomita, the fourth-generation owner, said, "The number of people wearing not only yukatas in the summertime, but also kimonos as everyday clothing has been on the rise lately." Such people are sure to be able to find stylish zori and geta sandals that suit them perfectly. Upon choosing the base and strap, customers get the satisfaction of having a pair of footwear tailored just to them on the spot.

    You can choose your favorite strap from lots of options. Discover your favorite while considering its compatibility with the base

  • 4. KAMIKAZARI - Kaminosho Wakogei

    Crafting kanzashi (hair ornaments) that can even be worn with Western clothing

    These lacquered, hand-painted kanzashi are decorated with paintings on the back that can be glimpsed when they are put on. This shows the attention paid even down to the fine details. 4,000 yen.

    Here they make not only kanzashi for coming of age ceremonies and wedding ceremonies, but also kanzashi that can be worn to parties where people dress in Western clothing and for everyday use. Currently, such techniques are being passed down by Akiko Okabe, the daughter of the man who was the predecessor that originally built the store with a focus on kanzashi used in traditional Japanese dances. There are a broad range of techniques, including traditional craftsmanship for the handles and making hand-painted, lacquered kanzashi. They also host lessons where customers can make their own original accessories.

    A kanzashi made by carefully affixing a cloth to it. Customers can freely wear them in sets of five that include Near Year's ornaments. 5,000 yen.

  • 5. TENUGUI - Some no Anbo

    Modern hand towels made using traditional techniques

    With this design, the character “木 (means tree)” is hidden in amongst bells. This was made by Mr. Suzuki (family name meaning bell and tree). It is designed to be spread open wide (means being increasingly successful).

    They have hand towels dyed using a technique called tenasen, which is characterized by brilliant coloration from a wide variety of colors. These include towels evocative of the seasons, towels with auspicious motifs on them, towels that include witticisms unique to Japan, and a wide variety of other towels that are a pleasure just to behold. They offer full orders in which customers can come up with their own designs, as well as semi-orders in which customers can choose from among a number of designs on offer and have lettering added to them.

    They also teach customers how to use hand towels, such as how to make tissue covers using hand towels and how to wrap bottles with them.

  • 6. SHICHIMI - Kagami Store

    Make your own seven-spice chili pepper (shichimi) to suit your tastes!

    It costs 500 yen on up to have them mix seven-spice blend right before your eyes. The calabash gourd container made from Japanese zelkova trees is also adorable.

    If you're going to Asakusa, we recommend making seven-spice chili pepper to suit your tastes. Here at the Kagami Store, they can make seven-spice chili pepper to suit individual tastes, such as by going heavy on the Szechuan peppercorn, or making it somewhat on the spicy side. Seven-spice chili pepper consists of white and black sesame seeds, Szechuan peppercorn, hemp seeds, dried nori seaweed, cayenne pepper, roasted cayenne pepper, and dried flakes of mandarin orange peel. They can tailor it to your preferred fragrance and spiciness, such as by adjusting the quantities of the ingredients, adding yuzu, and so on.

  • 7. KASA - RAGTIME

    Make rainy days fun with an original umbrella (kasa)

    Customers can choose parts in detail, including the ribs, cloth, handle, and metal fixture at the tip.

    This long-standing umbrella maker was established roughly 70 years ago. Satoshi Kobayashi, currently the shop's fourth-generation representative, originally came from the jewelry industry. He has harnessed the delicate techniques and scrupulous sensibilities of paying attention to even fine details for making umbrellas. All of the umbrellas arrayed in the store are unique and stylish. Here customers can once more experience the fact that umbrellas are a part of fashion. Their main business consists of selling wholesale to department stores and the like. But you can custom order a single umbrella by selecting from among a wide variety of components like the ribs, cloth, and handles.

    The store can produce umbrellas suited to the customers' tastes in terms of everything from color to shape by having them choose their own parts. Custom orders start at 18,000 yen for women and 20,000 yen for men (prices will vary depending on the parts chosen) * It may take up to about a month before delivery

  • 8. KOMONO - HIS-FACTORY

    Excellence you come to appreciate the longer you use it

    This is a German-made sewing machine that sews with extremely thick stiches. They are made with attention to detail even in areas that are not noticeable, such as reinforcing those parts where loads are likely to be applied during use in advance.

    Katsuhiko Nagano, who worked for many long years manufacturing leather goods, says that it was encountering a particular type of leather that incited him to ready his workshop to shift over to hand-made manufacturing techniques. This type of leather is a vegetable tannin tanned leather from the Tuscany region in Italy. It is an oily leather, and he fell in love with how it changes over the years more than anything. As such, he resolved to alter his manufacturing style. Every day he goes to work on the leather, with this taking both time and effort. The small leather accessories Nagano produces are characterized by their tasteful colors and easy-to-use shape. Discover an accessory that fits your body like a glove.

    A popular banana-shaped bag that can be used by both men and women. The photo shows a bag that has changed as a result of being used for about a year. A shoulder bag costs 45,000 yen.

    Customers can choose from lots of leather samples

  • The streets of Asakusa are home to numerous craftsmen.
    Why not place a special order for your favorite Made in Asakusa accessory just for you?