After my exciting morning with the Gion Matsuri parade, I wanted to do a bit of shopping. The Teramachi & Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade are a pretty big tourist attraction, but also a fun local area. The arcades have a mixture of traditional shops and modern shops, as well as a massive arcade centre and movie cinema. Some interesting shops I came across were kimono fabric stores, walking cane shops, some great street food and, my favourite find, a needle shop. The shopping arcade is a short walk from Shijo-Karasuma Station, and definitely the place to go to get souvenirs!
Misuyabari Needle Shop
I first heard about the Misuyabari Needle shop through another blog called ‘Made by Melanie’. The shop is definitely a hidden gem, to enter you need to find a small doorway between two stores. Once you go through the doorway you’ll be in a traditional Japanese courtyard. The store is in a little house. According to Made by Melanie, the store has been owned by the same family for almost 400 years! When I visited I believe I saw the father and son running the store.
This store makes for some incredible souvenirs, either for yourself or sewing friends. One of the stores key selling points is their collection of hand crafted ceramic needles. The top of the needles are individually designed in a number of themes – animals, roses, food. The prices range from 100 to 500 yen, the more expensive the more intricate the designs. The pin heads are so small, but the detail is incredible! The owners provided a magnifying glass to help me choose which ones I wanted.
Since I began sewing at the beginning of the year, I have been relying on really cheap pins from Lincraft. I’ve bent and broken about half of them. As I get more serious about my hobby, I want to invest in it. So I ended up buying a set of small pins (~100) and a set of large pins (~40). I also bought 3 of the cute designed pins, I’m not quite sure that I’ll use them! I did buy a cushion pot, very small and very cute to display them in.Sorry for the picture quality, as I said the pin heads are very small and hard to capture on my poor itouch camera! All together my purchase came to about 2000 yen, the owners also gave me a small booklet on the history of needles. Unfortunately it’s all in Japanese but hopefully one day I’ll be able to read it!
After my shopping at the Needle shop, I wandered around looking for a place to grab some lunch. I eventually stumbled across ‘The Terrace’. A really cute shop, where I ordered some french toast, ice cream and fruit! I’d been dying for some fruit so it was a really lovely lunch. Right across from the shop was the arcade. I tried my luck and actually managed to win three things! I’ve been trying my luck the whole time I’ve been in Japan and this was the first time I actually won something!
Overall definitely a really fun day out! Remember to hit that follow button to keep up to date wiht all my Japan posts!