All About Japan

5 Places to Buy Traditional Crafts in Tokyo

| Handicrafts , Shopping

We at Japan Objects are always on the lookout for top-tier traditional Japanese crafts. When shopping in Tokyo, the options can be dizzying—if not absolutely exhausting—to sort through, so to help you find what you’re looking for we’ve put together a list of our favorite stores!

5. Aoyama Square

Aoyama Square, located in Asakusa, has a staff that is fluent in English and all things related to Japanese material culture. Their wares are a reflection of multiple eras and art styles in Japan. From lacquerware to jewelry, you are guaranteed to walk away with something genuine and high-quality. Everyone who works here is very knowledgeable when it comes to the history and materials of every item on display. The gallery also provides craft-making demonstrations to familiarize the clientele with the production process of the goods they might purchase.

4. Ginza Takumi

Ginza Takumi is an independent shop filled with folk crafts hailing not only from Japan, but also Latin America and the rest of Asia. This location has been serving the public for the last eighty years, during which it has established itself as a ring-leader of craft suppliers. They carry a wide range of ceramic goods from the renowned artistic villages of Mashiko (in Tochigi), Tanba (in Hyogo) and Onta (in Oita). Aside from pottery, you can find rare, one-of-a-kind paper and fabric works of art. Many items can be purchased for under ¥2,000 (about US$18), which makes it a great option for visitors on a budget. Located in the heart of Ginza, it has never been easier to immerse oneself in the Japanese crafting community and its international influence.

3. The Cover Nippon

Located in Tokyo's stylish Roppongi area, The Cover Nippon carries carefully curated handmade crafts by artists from all regions of Japan. There's clothing from Hokkaido, intricate masks from Ishikawa and sleek cutlery from Niigata, to name just a few. Traditional Japanese snacks, fabrics and various lifestyle items are also available at every price range. This is a one-stop shop for authentic goods, regardless of whether you are looking for a tasteful present or a personal souvenir. Thanks to their carefully selected inventory, you don’t even have to leave Tokyo to get a taste of all corners of Japan.

2. Mita Arts Gallery

In operation since the '60s, Mita Arts Gallery is a well-established ukiyo-e woodblock print dealer, dedicating several decades to building a reputable collection and expanding the gallery’s wealth of knowledge. Their online shop has prints ranging from Shin Hanga (work that is heavily inspired by early Edo and Meiji period artists) to Sosaku Hanga (an early 20th-century concept that stresses self-expression), and everything in between. They also release an online catalog three times per year, which is the perfect reminder for when it's time to update your collection.

1. Ozu Washi

Ozu Washi, originally known as Ozu-ya, has been a prime Tokyo paper goods shop since 1653. It has gone through many changes as a business, ranging from dealings of tea and bonito, to practicing cotton spinning and yarn production. These days, the modern and sleek shop carries shodo (Japanese calligraphy), bamboo, kozo (plant fiber used in tissues) and several other paper variants. They also have a fine collection of creative and stationery goods. Alongside a historical museum located in the shop, Ozu Washi offers an in-house washi experience to teach paper-making to those intrigued by the art form.