This Charming Shop With a Red Roof Will Have You Shopping for Pasalubong in Tokyo
Make sure to ask the owner about the items he's selling.
3-28-9 Amanuma, Suginami District, Tokyo
Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for weekdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for weekends and Japanese holidays, daily
How to get there: It is about a five-minute walk from the north entrance of Subway Ogikubo Station.
If you ever pass by this store in the Suginami District—you won’t miss its eye-catching red roof—make sure to stop and take a look inside. Shikisai has a wide array of attractive Japanese goods such as colorful tableware, chopsticks, and hand towels collected from all over Japan. “We sell different products according to the season. Therefore, you can feel the changing season with tableware and Japanese items,” says the shop owner Takao Yamamoto.
The store is decorated with fresh plants.
In addition to handling mainly kinds of tableware, they have many accessories such as towels at the store.
You can find gorgeous items and chic designs in-store made with a variety of colors. For example, for teacups, they have various types so that customers of all ages can choose from the selection.
For ceramics in particular, they go out to the local potters twice a year to see the finish. “Unless I actually check and purchase goods with my own eyes, I will not be able to get the craftsman's thoughts,” says the shop owner. The item chosen by the owner who has a good relationship with the craftsman seems to stand out.
There are various designs of chopsticks at the store.
Chopsticks are handy as gifts.
With the thought that “chopsticks are also called ‘kakehashi (bridge)’ that connect people,” the owner is enthusiastic about purchasing chopsticks from a number of items. The chopsticks with craftsmanship up to the tip are said to be easier to use than the other chopsticks. They mainly handle the Wakasanuribashi (lacquered chopsticks) in Fukui Prefecture, which boasts the best production in Japan, and the Edokibashi (wooden chopsticks) made in Mukoujima, Sumida District, Tokyo.
The Wakasanuribashi is painted with many layers of lacquered shells as well as gold and silver foil to express the beauty of various colored lacquer layers. On the other hand, the Edokibashi are chopsticks that make use of the quality of the wood itself, using carefully selected fine lumber. “There are few people who try to use good chopsticks on their own, but there are many people who send them to important people as gifts. Good chopsticks are easy to use. Even among polygonal chopsticks such as pentagons and hexagons, chopsticks that retain their shape up to the tip are exceptional,” says the owner.
The chopsticks gift is wrapped with a thoughtful message.
The owner always attaches a message that explains his thought of “hashiwatashi (bridge)” to his customers who purchase as gifts. It says "Chopsticks are an important tool for ‘hashiwatashi’ over the life that connects people and food, and chopsticks as gifts are said to be "kakehashi" that connect people to each other, and have long been a preferred for auspicious gifts." Some frequent customers even remind him not to forget to insert the card when they purchase the chopsticks.
The owner says, “It might be too straightforward to talk about hashiwatashi to the person who receives presents directly. But by attaching a message card to the gift at the store, we can help customers send their thoughts to the receivers.”
There are many hand towels that young people like such as traditional Japanese patterns and dog illustrations. The store selects colorful and stylish Nanbutekki (Nanbu ironware).
In addition, the store offers a wide variety of items, from small items such as hand towels, handkerchiefs, and towels to Nanbutekki teapots and traditional craft Yamanaka lacquerware. “Recently, more and more people are buying Japanese accessories as gifts for foreigners,” says the owner.
A customer photo taken with products purchased at the store
“I want to cherish Japanese culture and customs such as wishing for the growth of children and celebrating longevity,” says the owner.
Shikisai is a charming variety store that sells small items, Japanese accessories, crafts with traditional techniques, and products that celebrate Japanese culture. The shop owner is very knowledgeable about the things in his store and will be more than happy to help you pick out a gift for a friend or an item for yourself.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (3 October 2019)