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CLASKA Re­sid­ing in the ho­tel of the same name, this shop is full of hand­made ce­ram­ics, in­digo coats, Ja­panese tools, fur­ni­ture and a bag that I wanted so much and didn’t buy soon enough. It is a per­fect edit of the lovely wares avail­able here. claska.com/shop

CU­RA­TOR’S CUBE A gallery with re­ally cool in­stal­la­tions and ex­hi­bi­tions, of­ten show­cas­ing tra­di­tional crafts that have a con­tem­po­rary twist. The best kind of col­lide be­tween tra­di­tional tech­niques and mod­ern de­sign typ­i­cal of Ja­pan. cu­ra­torscube.com

ARTS & SCI­ENCE Founder Sonya Park lends her cre­ative di­rec­tion and styling to this series of shops around Tokyo fo­cus­ing on the es­sen­tial lux­u­ries to wear and to use around the home. She has a beaut iful phi­los­o­phy of fash­ion as a tool for liv­ing as op­posed to a tool for van­ity. arts-sci­ence.com

FOG LINEN WORK An old love of mine that finds the beauty in hum­ble ev­ery­day ob­jects. Founder Yu­miko Sekine draws on Lithua­nia’s an­cient flax in­dus­try to cre­ate gor­geous linen sta­ples. fog­li­nen­work.com

GOOD DE­SIGN STORE Prod­uct and fur­ni­ture de­signer Jasper Mor­ri­son set up this store to re­flect a series of ‘rooms’, much like a house al­beit framed by sim­ple shelv­ing units in­stead of solid walls which lets the prod­uct shine. gds.g-mark.org

HAKUJITU A highly cu­rated an­tique store which has a mys­te­ri­ous and mag­i­cal feel with its dark in­te­ri­ors and hid­den trea­sures in all the lit­tle nooks of the store. Be sure to search thor­oughly across all three floors as there are all kinds of old relics and per­fect lit­tle finds to be had. 1-7-7 , Tori­goe, Taitou-ku

TOKYU HANDS A must! Think nine floors of awe­some­ness, with ev­ery­thing you could pos­si­bly need en masse for any and ev­ery craft: pa­pier-mâché, clay, paint, fab­ric, and the pa­per tape depart­ment alone is worth a men­tion. tokyu-hands.co.jp

J’AN­TIQUES The Ja­panese are able to cap­ture and recre­ate the Amer­i­can vin­tage look, and even do it bet­ter. A mix of fash­ion and in­te­ri­ors items from across the decades as early as the 1900s. Ex­pect to spend a while pe­rus­ing this amaz­ing col­lec­tion of an­tique good­ies. 2-25-13 Kamime­guro, Me­guro-ku

45R I first dis­cov­ered these stores in Soho NYC where each day they would wa­ter the flag­stones and you en­tered an­other realm. All in­digo-crafted cloth­ing, this is ma­te­ri­al­ism at its best with pieces that will last and be loved for a life­time. 3 Chome-3-12 Ginza, Chuo

DAIKANYAMA TSUTAYA This is the most amaz­ing three-storey book­store sur­rounded by gar­dens. I once saw a woman here por­ing over the pages of my books. Later, be sure to zigzag through the back­streets be­hind the store for great tra­di­tional eater­ies. 17-5 Saru­gaku­cho, Shibuya-ku

POSTALCO The creators of one of my favourite note­books that is spi­ral bound and has a cloth-like cover. The Shibuya flag­ship store sells these and more, in­clud­ing leather bags and rain­wear. postalco.net

21_21 DE­SIGN SIGHT Each time I find my­self in Tokyo I visit this de­sign mu­seum that was in­sti­gated by the likes of Issey Miyake and Tadao Ando. Go at dusk for the max­i­mum ef­fect of the ar­chi­tec­ture: it glows like sails and is built like an ice­berg. The lower gal­leries are amaz­ing spa­ces: it’s as if a me­te­orite tor­pe­doed into the Earth and into the mid­dle of 21_21 cre­at­ing a fis­sion with glass walls that reach from un­der­ground to the sky. Mid­town Gar­den, Tokyo Mid­town, 9-7-6 Akasaka, Mi­nato-ku

FLEAMARKETS There are some great fleamarkets in Tokyo, but my favourite is the in­door Hei­wa­jima An­tiques Fair in the Ryutsu Cen­ter ( Hei­wa­jima 6-1-1, OtaKu). I spent ages por­ing over the old hard­ware, wooden stamps, tex­tiles and ce­ram­ics, even bun­dles of vin­tage good­ies wrapped up furoshiki style. If the weather is lovely, make your way to out­door Oedo An­tique Mar­ket at Tokyo In­ter­na­tional Fo­rum ( 3 Chome-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiy­oda) but check ahead as they will can­cel if it’s threat­en­ing to sprin­kle. IORI MACHIYA STAY Live like a lo­cal in a tra­di­tional Ky­oto house lov­ingly re­stored by Iori Machiya Stay. I love Su­jiya-cho Machiya, a mer­chant’s man­sion that evokes clas­sic Ja­panese charm with an eight-tatami mat­ted room look­ing over a mossy gar­den, light fil­ter­ing through shoji screens, soft wood un­der bare feet. Re­quest a bi­cy­cle on ar­rival to get around. ky­otomachiya.com

MONK A small, quiet res­tau­rant whose phi­los­o­phy speaks vol­umes in its thought­ful ap­proach to din­ing. Head chef Yoshi­hiro Imai col­lects fresh pro­duce from Ky­oto’s moun­tain farms in the morn­ing and dis­plays it so you see it on your ar­rival for din­ner and it’s cooked be­fore your eyes. Try the recipes found in Yoshi­hiro’s cook­book, Cir­cle. restau­rant­monk.com

TRUCK Fur­ni­ture maker Tokuhiko Kise’s vi­sion was to cre­ate a space on Osaka’s out­skirts sur­rounded by big trees res­cued from de­mo­li­tion sites. His em­pire con­sists of four pur­pose-made spa­ces: a work­shop, fur­ni­ture store, stu­dio and leather ate­lier Shi­raku­masha. Try lunch at his Cafe Bird that has a pot-belly stove, a dough­nut maker and serves a mean avo­cado on toast. truck-fur­ni­ture.co.jp

STAR­DUST Owner Kana first thought of the con­cept for her shop when trav­el­ling around Den­mark and land­ing at Star­dust Gar­den eco-vil­lage. In­spired, she re­turned to Ky­oto and opened a bou­tique and cafe that tick all the boxes of what you would want to see and ex­pe­ri­ence in a Ja­panese shop. star­dustky­oto.com

NAITO A won­der­ful Ky­oto broom shop run by the same family for more than 100 years. Tra­di­tional brooms and brushes in nat­u­ral fi­bres come in all shapes and sizes: paint­brushes, geisha makeup brushes, nail­brushes and ev­ery other kind imag­in­able for reach­ing un­usual nooks and cran­nies. Sanjo Ohashi Nishi-zume, Nak­agyo-ku, Ky­oto

AIZENKOBO A Ky­oto in­digo dyer’s home, shop and stu­dio that show­cases some of the best of this nat­u­ral dye­ing process. If you’re lucky, the dyer him­self will be home and share his in­digo knowl­edge. aizenkobo.jp

SAGAWA ART MU­SEUM A breath­tak­ing, other­worldly gallery that seems to float on the sur­round­ing ar­ti­fi­cial lake. It cel­e­brates a va­ri­ety of note­wor­thy Ja­panese artists across sev­eral medi­ums such as paint­ing and sculp­ture, as well as ce­ram­ics, in­clud­ing an en­tire tea cer­e­mony room. sagawa-art­mu­seum.or.jp

ARASHIYAMA BAM­BOO GROVE One of the most beau­ti­ful green spa­ces you will ever set foot in! At the en­try lies a small tem­ple with a scat­ter­ing of shrines hous­ing many of­fer­ings. Then fol­low the path lined by tall bam­boo trunks that form a cathe­dral-like tun­nel and you will end up in a dead movie star’s gar­den, all moss, tea houses and in­cred­i­ble views over Ky­oto. Ogu­rayama, Saga, Ukyo-ku, Ky­oto

This page, clock­wise from top left Naoshima Is­land is an art haven. The is­land’s mu­seum. At the Tsukiji fish mar­ket. Jasper Mor­ri­son de­signed the Good De­sign Store. Tsutaya book­store. Hei­wa­jima An­tiques Fair.

This page, clock­wise from top Green cathe­dral at the glo­ri­ous Arashiyama Bam­boo Grove. In­te­ri­ors at the mer­chant’s man­sion at Iori Machiya Stay. Truck fur­ni­ture store on the out­skirts of Osaka.

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