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Goin’ Japanesque!

4 Long-Standing Souvenir Shops You Should Visit in Nihonbashi, Tokyo

The Nihonbashi district once flourished as the center for commercialism and culture. Still to this day are shops with many traditional items for sale. Nihonbashi has many high-quality items. And the reason why is because they’re built by skilled craftsmen. They’re all built to be long-lasting and with quality in mind, and you can get the real deal for yourself. We’ve picked 4 stores that stick to the traditions and have very Japanese items for sale. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, these 4 are worth a look and visit!

 

Haibara 

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Haibara specializes in Japanese paper (washi). Built in 1806, it’s been going on for over 200 years. Washi is known for being very durable and long-lasting. Compared to Western paper that will last for 100 years, washi is said to last for over 1,000 years because it’s such good quality.

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Washi is used in many places throughout Japan. The most famous are the shoji paper sliding doors and the calligraphy writing paper but it’s also used for folding fans, origami and colored paper because of its thickness, texture and life span. Haibara has many items like these so it’s a very interesting spot.

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And among all they have, the thing we recommend the most as a souvenir is the Haibara Uchiwa (mokuhanzuri uchiwa fan). It’s said that the circular shape of the uchiwa originated at Haibara and there’s only one fan maker in all of Kanto who puts them together, one-by-one, attaching them to the bamboo frame. Information: Map

 

Maruzen

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Maruzen moved from Yokohama to Nihonbashi in 1870. They’re best noted for their fountain pens.

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Many Japanese literary masters like Natsume Soseki and Akutagawa Ryunosuke loved Maruzen fountain pens. Natsume Soseki is the person featured on the current Japanese 1,000 yen bill.

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Also, it’s said that the word for “fountain pen” in Japanese (mannen-hitsu(fude)) comes from Mankichi-fude, who worked at the Maruzen store, changing from his name to the word we have today. Information: Map

 

Nishikawa

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Nishikawa is a futon-specialty store that was built in 1566 and moved to Nihonbashi in 1615. It’s the oldest among all the old stores here in Nihonbashi and it celebrated its 400th anniversary of being in Nihonbashi this year.

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You can trust in the quality because of their long history.

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Their silk comforters are their most popular item. The silk cocoon is boiled in an iron pot for 2 hours and hand-pulled 650 times, making it surprisingly soft. It’ll feel like nothing you’ve ever slept on before and will surely bring you the best dreams. Climb into a futon atop some tatami flooring and see for yourself. It’s amazing! Information: Map

 

Kiya

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Kiya has specialized in blades since 1792. This year marks their 223rd year. But I wouldn’t call them “just” blades when for kitchen knives alone they offer over 300 varieties. They make and sell the best steel nail clippers.

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Their main business are kitchen knives and they’re world-renowned for their Japanese knives so there are people many of you who already know of them.

Japanese knives are made of steel the same as katanas. While stainless steel knives are the main purchase for at-home use, at Kiya you can purchase the best that the smith has to offer. Of course, they also have stainless steel and even those are said to have an amazing cutting ability. Information: Map

Related: Asakusa’s Kappabashi—Three Shops for the Best Japanese Kitchen Knives

 

The 4 stores we showed you today tower above the rest when it comes to quality. You can say they’re truly Japanese brands! Like we said in the beginning, you’ll have fun just going to have a look at them.

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