1：”Edo street” shops with old world nostalgia
If you walk along Edo street out of the A1 exit at Kuramae station (Toei Asakusa Line), the Yuichi Kimura Shop will be the 1st one you see.
I went into the shop to check the handy Japanese fans and kites with traditional patterns of Japan on them. I found many lovely Japanese goods there too! Kokeshi (Limbless wooden dolls), Maneki-neko (beckoning cats), and Sumo wrestler’s sake cups are popular Japanese goods with foreign tourists. The walls and ceiling are decorated with colorful kites with Ukiyo-e and Kabuki prints. I remembered that I flew kites with my friends in front of my house when I was a child.
I bought a Japanese fan with a case for my friend as a birthday present! If you explain the types of colors and patterns you want on your fan, the shop staff will help you to find it, or something close to it.
There are a variety of gifts and souvenirs in this shop as well as other different items on their website.
【Yuichi Kimura shop】
2-4-3 Kuramae Taito-ku Tokyo
Business hours：9:00 – about 17:30
Regular holiday：Sundays・Public holidays、The second and third Saturdays (July-August they are open)
※Seven days a week in December to Mid January to the 3rd of May.
HP： www.tako.shop-site.jp/index.html (Japanese text only)
I found a red flag with large letters that say “花火” (fireworks), 3 doors down from Yuichi Kimura shop.
There is a wide range of retail Hanabi (fireworks) with more than 700 different types, such as simple hand-held fireworks, to bottle rockets. Pick up your favorite Hanabi and you can create your own, original package of fireworks.
I talked with the staff, and they said they try to communicate with foreign customers by using a little English with gestures.
Hanabi is very popular in Japan. However, in some countries you need to get permission for them, or they are banned completely. In Japan, small children to adults can enjoy hand-held fireworks depending on the situation. I hope tourists can enjoy hand-held fireworks for good memories of Japan. I bought Senko-Hanabi (Sparklers)*, which are my favorite at this shop.
2-4-3 Nagaya building 1F Kuramae Taito-ku Tokyo
Business hours：9:00-17:30(September-June)/ 9:00-19:00(July-August)
Regular holidays：Saturdays・Sundays・Public holidays(September-June)
※Seven days a week(July-August)
Heading down Edo street, I found a nostalgic toy shop with a variety of toys (plastic models, character figures, and board games).
Kuramae has been selling wholesale toys since the Edo period. You might find some special items in this shop. The main offices of two famous Japanese toy companies, Bandai and Epoch, are located in the adjacent area of Komagata.
【Mitsuru Isobe shop】
2-4-7 Kuramae Taito-ku Tokyo
Regular holiday：Sundays・Public holidays、The second and third Saturdays
2：Discover hot spots with a unique theme!
The shop was full of people, both Japanese and foreign!
Kakimori is a stationery shop that has unique products created by Japanese manufactures and designers.
You can choose different notebook covers, paper, binder rings, and fasteners to customize your own notebook here. There are 60 varieties of notebook covers and 30 different types of notebook paper.
Normally it takes 15-20mins to make a notebook, depending on how busy they are.
You can also replace paper in your favorite notebook. Why not have a uniquely designed note book?
4-20-12 Kuramae Taito-ku Tokyo
Business Hour：12:00-19:00（Tue-Friday）/11:00-19:00（Saturdays・Sundays・Public Holidays）
Regular holiday：Monday ※Except public holidays
HP：www.kakimori.com/index.html (Japanese text only)
Walking further down, off to the side of Edo street, I found a shop with a Noren curtain at its entrance! I went inside and could smell the flesh flavor of Japanese tea. Tea pots, cups, and fashionably packaged tea leaves were displayed neatly.
The tea leaves sold in this shop are grown in a chemical-free garden. The 100-year-old garden is operated by Mr. Nakamura in Shizuoka prefecture.
I tasted cold Japanese tea brewed by the staff. It tasted sweet and a little bitter, along with a very refreshing aroma.
Their idea is to introduce Japanese tea to the younger generation.
【NAKAMURA TEA LIFE STORE】
4-20-4 Kuramae Taito-ku Tokyo
HP：www.tea-nakamura.com/index.html (Japanese text only)
3：My favorite café, Kuramae 4273
Entering the residential area, I walked further down to a unique cafe and florist and saw the lunch menu on the sign in front of the cafe! I decided to order the lunch set, which I had never tried before.
Kuramae 4273 is a renovated old warehouse with sofas and table and counter seating on the first floor. The café has a high ceiling and feels comfortable. The second floor is a rental space for performances. They also hold special events by artists.
I sat at the counter seat and ordered Kuji Mamebu Soup, the local cuisine of Iwate. The dish is only available at this cafe in the Kanto region and was 1000 yen.
They also have liquor, snacks, cakes, coffee, & tea. Let’s enjoy a fun lunch with the staff and the regulars at this café.
I was impressed with the Mamebu-soup, with its ingredients and the soup stock made from kelp and dried sardines.
I also enjoyed Mamebu dumplings, which contain walnuts and brown sugar. The dumplings had a gentle sweetness and unique texture. The meal came with millet rice, salad, pickles, a small side dish, and a drink. I thought it was very healthy and a well balanced meal.
There are many friendly people at this cafe. Furthermore, you might also meet some interesting people. Kuramae 4273 holds a variety of events like art shows, live music, and DJ performances. The café will be my favorite café from now on.
4-27-3 Kuramae, Taito-ku, Tokyo
HP：4273.jp/(Japanese text only)
I truly enjoyed my first time strolling around Kuramae. I found a fashionable general store, elegant leather bag shop, and a unique café. It was a charming town where old and new mix.
I will especially remember the heart-to-heart contact I had with the local people who live in downtown. You can also find some attractive guesthouses. I look forward to the future of this town its mixture of tradition in the new era.
Kuramae, Taito ward, Tokyo