Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Japan - An Artist's Dream

As many of you already know, I was in Japan in October of last year for 3 weeks and I thought this would be a good opportunity to post a couple of the highlights and details of some of the amazing art/sewing/haberdashery stores I found in Tokyo. What an artist's dream! There are so many visual treats all over Japan, from the modern to the extremely traditional, all an inspiration to me. My husband, Alan, was so very patient with me as I stopped, yet again, to take another burst of photos. I will give you the tip, don't ever have your camera too far away from you at any time while visiting Japan! (By the way, it's not as expensive as you was 20 years ago, but highly affordable now).

The real highlight for me (apart from shopping in Tokyo) was visiting the Itchiku Kubota Kimono Museum on my birthday. He is the creator of some of the most amazing works of art I have ever seen; hand dyeing, stitching and embellishing his kimonos with passion and incredible creativity. Even my hubby was in awe of his work and we spent several hours in the museum.

Sadly, he passed away in 2003 at the age of 85 but his museum is a lasting reminder of his amazing work. The gardens around the museum are, in themselves, well worth the visit. Photography isn't allowed inside, only of the gardens, but if you are interested to see his work, here is one of many links you can visit:
You may think it strange that I did all my shopping in Tokyo, but my hubby always insists on me doing my shopping at the end of a trip so we don't have to lug lots of stuff around. To me, and probably to all of you quilters reading this, this seems quite a ridiculous notion and highly improbable! I did in fact pick up some beautiful pieces of material and other lovely bits and pieces along the way from Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima & Mt. Fuji, stuffing them quickly in my handbag before hubby could see! In Tokyo, I found 3 great stores: Okadaya, Sekaido and Tokyu Hands.

Okadaya is the best store for all types of haberdashery and fabric.They have 6 or 7 floors of thread, needles, pins, buttons, ribbon,...I could go on and on. It really is a one-stop shop for us quilters. They also have an annexe filled with another 6 or 7 floors of fabric. I visited the one in Shinjuku which I think is the largest store. I was lucky as they had a 20 - 50% sale on and I could join up for their discount card on the spot.

Tokyu Hands describes itself as a 'creative life store' and it literally sells everything you could possibly imagine for any and all types of creative endeavor. Even hubby liked it and he stayed in the store much longer than his normal 10 minutes! 

The last store was Sekaido, another 6 glorious floors of art supplies, stationery and Japanese paper products. Heaven!

Here are a couple of links to a wonderful, website called 'blackcabbit' run by artist Dionnie Takahashi which revolves around everything Japanese. The first link is for craft stores in Tokyo (map included) and the second is about the Nippori fabric market in Tokyo which I unfortunately didn't get to see...oh well, there is always next time!

Enjoy your day & sayonara for now,



  1. Sounds wonderful. I have been to Tokyu Hands in Osaka a few times, usually buying silk threads and typical Japanese fabrics, that I have never used, but like to pet! It is much closer for you to visit, so maybe there will be another chance...

  2. Wow, the shops sound amazing, so much in one place. Thanks for the interesting link, I look forward to seeing more of her blog.

  3. Thanks for the travelogue and tidbits! Absolutely gorgeous kimonos!