【 CONTENTS 】
- Check out Kira Kira’s own-branded goods.
- The stylish cafe selling prized local products.
- Collect some good luck at the ‘Power spot’!
- The shopping arcade office is open to everyone.
- Watch for events held at Kira Kira Tachibana.
Check out Kira Kira’s own-branded goods.
Take a walk along this shopping street and you will see ‘Tsukudani’, a traditional side dish of fish, meat or seaweed boiled in sweet soy sauce, as well as other dishes lined up under the shop awnings.
Invited by the delicious aroma, I visited the ever popular ‘Torishou’ (鳥正).
I ordered the shop’s most popular item, the Chicken Gyoza (110 yen for one piece, 400 yen for 4 pieces). Made with chicken meat and seven varieties of vegetables, it’s wrapped in chicken skin then grilled. I was kindly asked, “can I warm it up if you’re going to eat it now?”
The rich texture of the crispy vegetables contrasted with the soft, tender skin, which held all the flavor of the chicken inside, made for a lip smacking sensation! The shopkeeper also happily recommended many other products to try.
The ‘Kira Kira’ brand was awarded by an authorizing committee managed by the arcade’s office. They carefully select original items from each individual shop that have a uniquely developed quality and taste. Any products with the ‘Kira Kira’ brand can only be found at this arcade. Currently, thirteen shops are involved including of course, Torishou.
Address：3-21-7 Kyojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo.
Hours：10am-8pm Mon-Sat (closed Sun).
Website：www.k-japan.com/~kira-tori/(Japanese text only)
The stylish cafe selling prized local products.
A stylish cafe suddenly appears just when I’m starting to get hungry again from strolling around the arcade. The Sumimame Cafe was invited here in 2015. Inside, one corner of its interior includes a nursing care consultation space, part of Sumimame’s concept that sets it apart from other cafes. Free Wi-Fi and seating with power outlets are also conveniently provided. Often popular with mothers on the way home from the nursery, people from the area love this lively meeting place. There is also the ‘Dog Cafe Day’, where customers can bring their pooches along with them.
I ordered the cafe’s proudly recommended fresh pasta lunch. Soft, supple pasta with a delicately seasoned tomato sauce. The coarsely textured bread was also delicious.
There is an area in the café that sells locally made crafts, and food from other shops in the area. The coffee comes from original blends provided by the well known ‘Cafe Sucre’, and their ‘Only One’ coffee blend can only be tasted here. With a comfortable, cozy atmosphere, this is a great spot to have a relaxing lunch or teatime.
Address：3-39-8 Kyojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo.
Website：www.create-care.com/(Japanese text only)
Collect some good luck at the ‘Power spot’!
At the South entrance to the shopping arcade you’ll find the Tamaru Shrine. Tamaru in Japanese, although written differently, can mean to save, or accumulate. So a visit here is said to bring good luck, money, and even help you avoid disasters. Stories like these have recently brought bus loads of tourists to the area. Wanting to benefit from my visit, I hurried to the shrine to make a prayer and buy a lucky charm, but found a sign saying charms were currently on sale at the shopping arcade office, so I quickly headed back again.
The shopping arcade office is open to everyone.
Inside the first-floor entrance of the shopping arcade office, tables and chairs are informally set up for shoppers to use as a place to rest. Open to the public, the space can be used to eat packed lunches and other dishes bought within the arcade, or just to stop and chat with a friend you’ve just bumped into. There is also a clean women’s bathroom, very convenient!
Address：3-49-1 Kyojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo.
Hours：10am-6pm daily (all year round).
Website：www.kirakira-tachibana.jp/index.html (Japanese text only)
Now I’d safely got hold of a lucky charm for the shrine, I was also able to ask Ōwa Kazumichi-san some questions about the shopping arcade.
Watch for events held at Kira Kira Tachibana.
Q – What kind of events take place at the shopping arcade?
Ōwa-san – On the fourth Sunday of every month a Morning Market is held here, and once every two months a Surprise Market takes place. There is also a yearly Evening Market and the Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival). Most of the events have been going on for over 25 years.
I later went to visit the shopping arcade’s annual Kyojima Culture Festival after Ōwa-san invited me. A Flea Market was held along the street, while each shop had special offers available. There were stalls lined up in the grounds of the Tamaru Shrine, and a temporary stage set up. The idol group ‘Cupid Girls’, who have close links to Sumida ward, gave a public performance. There was also a local Hula Dance group, and even a belly dancing demonstration. An entertainment packed show! It seems that the Cupid Girls are active in various events at the shopping arcade, including theatrical shows at many of the stores.
qupidgirls.blog.so-net.ne.jp(Japanese text only)
Q – I heard High School students and University students have been carrying out exercises in the shopping arcade?
Ōwa-san – I work as a Professor at the Chiba University of Commerce, and my students, along with people from the shopping arcade, have been working on projects to attract more customers, as well as product development. This is then put into practice at events and creates an environment for students to learn, not just at their desks, but from selling in the real world. Along with this, we have High School work experience trips from across the country. Currently, 15 schools regularly visit this shopping arcade. The students sell local products from their area, and through this and their contact with customers, they gain valuable experience they wouldn’t get from their everyday lives.
Q – I also heard of an event bringing new faces as well as the locals?
This is the popular ‘Grab a Bite’ walk. Actually next time will be its tenth anniversary. The aim of the event is to eat delicious food costing between 100-200 yen while walking around the arcade. After purchasing coupons, people can follow the map handwritten by schoolchildren, and stroll around their favorite stores, enjoying a beer with snacks and sweets. Recently, the number of participants from outside the local area has been greatly increasing.
Q – Finally, could you let us know what you think the future holds for the arcade?
We’ve been successful in welcoming back a supermarket that closed down, and it is now set to re-open next year. Also, more and more stores are opening with individual personalities that appeal to the younger generation. I feel it’s important to maintain the arcade’s distinctive atmosphere, while also giving it a new feeling that fits in with younger people’s lifestyle.
Tadaima Japan would like to give its support to the Kira Kira Tachibana Shopping Arcade, in all its efforts to bring new life to the district from a new generation, while remaining authentic and closely linked to its past. Thanks for all your co-operation in this article!
Due to the arcade’s old-charm atmosphere, it’s been used many times as a location for films and television dramas, and visitors come just to look around the places they’ve seen on the screen.
You can feel the genuine humanity of downtown Tokyo here. It’s really heart warming to spend some time on a quintessential Japanese shopping street.
Enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere and mingle with the locals at this sparkling arcade!
Kyojima, Sumida ward, Tokyo