Whether you’re looking for last minute Christmas presents in the Nippon capital, or just wondering where to get your take-home trinkets on that upcoming trip, this list of local artisan makers and one-stop shops should be your go-to for gift guidance.
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square
Gift the gift of… covetable crafts
For all manner of lovely little trinkets, try this regional crafts showcase selling all-Nippon artisan objects from tea kettles from Yamagata to lacquer bowls, washi lamps and wooden carved koi. English-speaking staff really know their stuff and will tell you all about the history and region of your purchase. 8-1-22 Akasaka, Minato-ku. +81 3 5785 1301. kougeihin.jp.e.oo.hp.transer.com
Gift the gift of… smokin’ smells
For fragrant incense, follow your nose to Lisn, with around 150 sophisticated varieties of scent sticks on offer from sandalwood to 2016’s Smoke Tone Collection, released with matching earthenware. Minimalist incense holders are also not to be sniffed at. 2/F, 5-47-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. +81 3 5469 5006. lisn.co.jp
Gift the gift of… Imabari bath bits
It’s worth the slight schlep out to Jiyugaoka for these oh-so soft towels made from Japanese-grown, organic Imabari cotton. The hand towels are light and thin, but still drink up liquid like Edina and Patsy at an open bar. Have limited luggage room? Opt for prettily patterned face washers or one of Iori’s butter-soft scarves. 5-27-11 Okusawa, Meguro-ku. +81 36 459 7081. i-ori.jp
Gift the gift of… plush leather goods
This Tokyo-born, Florence-inspired workshop and showroom is your best option for luxe leather goods, all lovingly hand-made and -finished by expert craftsmen. Sleek, tactile wallets, bags and belts are timeless in style and made to age gracefully, so the lucky recipient can cherish them for a lifetime. 5-2-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. +81 3 5774 6830. ganzo.ne.jp
Gift the gift of… arty accruement
Drawn up by master architect Kengo Kuma, this inky art supply shop is a picture-perfect vision of undulating slat-wood ceilings and long walls lined with colourful powdered pigments. The colourful vials are perfect prezzies for painters, or for the less artistically inclined there are handmade washi papers, brushes and other calligraphy tools. 2-5-5 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku. +81 35 781 9550. pigment.tokyo
Gift the gift of… anything and everything imaginable
If you haven’t found the ideal present at any of the aforementioned, rest assured, this gargantuan department store has every item imaginable… except maybe Daniel Craig, nude, on a bed of arugula. Sigh. The stationery sector is a surefire bet for shiba-inu shaped notebooks and other wallet-friendly kawaii knick-knacks, or hit the extensive cosmetics floor for pampersome Japanese lotions and potions. 12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. +81 35 489 5111. tokyu-hands.co.jp
A version of this article originally appeared on PenCities Tokyo on 21 December 2016.
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