four special shops in tokyo :: Okan Arts
four special shops in tokyo

four special shops in tokyo

By Patricia Belyea

TOKYO JP  Exploring, not shopping, beckons me to Japan. Yet when I discover an exceptional store, I admire all the facets of the experience—the place, the products, and the people. Here are four shops in Tokyo worthy of your attention.

Blue & White

2-9-2 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo
You go up an outdoor escalator to access the shop
Open every day, 11am to 6pm
Closest station: Azabu-Juban

Owned by the champion of Japanese arts and crafts Amy Katoh, Blue & White presents a curated collection of delectable products. Look for contemporary chusen-dyed tenugui (90 cm pieces of light cotton) if you like to cut up fabrics—plus artisan ceramics, designer clothing, traditional textiles, fun jewelry, collectibles, and gifts. You’ll be sure to find a worthy memento of Japan in every price range.

Quilt Party

272-0034 Active Ichikawa 2F, 1-23-2 Ichikawa, Ichikawa City
You walk up a set of stairs to access the shop
Open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Closest station: Ichikawa
Website: en/store/quiltparty

Look for an inobtrusive sidewalk sign signaling that you have arrived at your destination. Although not in Tokyo proper, Quilt Party in Ichikawa City is a short half-hour trek out of the city. Or should I say pilgrimage! Renowned owner and sensei Yoko Saito reigns as the Queen of Taupe with her detailed and meticulous quilt compositions. In her shop, you’ll find low-volume fabrics, most designed by sensei Saito; kits and more kits (no photos allowed); books and periodicals; notions; and small gifts.


Terrada Harbor One Building, 1F, 2-5-5 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
The shop is on an island surrounded by canals
Open 11:30am to 7pm, closed on Mondays and Thursdays,
Closest station: Tennoz Isle

The artist in you will die and go to heaven when you step into the chic Pigment store. Beyond impeccably displayed paints, canvases, papers, inks, and brushes, Pigments offers the elemental essence of color—pigments! A lab and museum takes Pigment beyond the retail realm into a comprehensive facility for creativity.

Ozu Washi

OzuHonkan Building, 3-6-2 Nihombashihoncho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 
This business has stood at the same site for over 350 years
Open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm
Closest station: Shin-Nihombashi

The word “washi” comes from wa meaning Japanese, and shi meaning paper. Ozu Washi takes the spirit of paper to great heights with the finest of Japanese papers. In the store you’ll find papers, brushes, stationery, gifts, writing implements, and more remarkable papers! A cultural studio shares the first-floor retail space while upstairs a gallery exhibits artwork made with handmade paper, and a museum holds archives from the history of Ozu Washi.

Is there a shop in Tokyo that you love to visit? Please include it in the Comment section below. Thank you!

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12 comments to “four special shops in tokyo”

  1. Mary DeRay says:

    Memories of our trip to Tokyo Quilt show in 2016… Your reviews make me want to go back even more!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Mary—I’m enjoying non-January traveling where the days are like summer and the cherry blossoms are delightful. Your excuse for coming back is to experience a new season! PB

  2. Reid Barnhart says:

    thank you for sharing your trip. I have just spent 2 hours at your online shop and blog… Am coming away with some blue and white… ummm what will it be.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Reid—You bought an inspirational amount in the Okan Arts online shop! We’ll ship your fabric as soon as we get back. Enjoy! PB

  3. Kerry says:

    Hi Patricia,
    I’ve really been enjoying your adventures in Japan. I really appreciate your insights, and directions to locations that are of great interest to me.

  4. Laura Huckabee says:

    Asakusa is one of my favorite areas for washi and there is a fun traditional dye shop “SomenoAnbo”:

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Laura—Thank you. I enjoy the Asakusa neighborhood and often visit the Amuse Museum there. I’ll check this out. PB

  5. Elizabeth Baker says:

    Many, many, thanks. Only one I knew of.

  6. Jennie Gibson says:

    Hi Patricia
    Love your posts and how you are willing to share your knowledge of Japan.
    I met you there last year on a not so informative trip. Came away disappointed but you are making me want to go back.
    Thank you and kind regards Jennie Gibson
    From Australia

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Jennie—There is so much to see in Japan that you can always go back and experience more. I am putting together textiles tours for Japan in January 2020. I’ll send you info once the itinerary and pricing are complete, in case you are interested. Best, PB