By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Come to Kuramae if you like to browse small shops. Kuramae is located in eastern Tokyo between Asakusa and Asakusabashi near Sumida River. This whole area has long been known for its excellent craftsmen. Take a walk through the small streets and discover workshops, boutiques, and stores. There are also many small cafes and restaurants.
These shops specialize in leather goods and accessories. Each one has a very distinct style.
carmine design factory
carmine is the brand of two female Japanese designers who create fun accessories. They have a great selection of wallets made from leather, as well as other items such as small pouches and business card cases (a must if you do work in Japan, where business cards are exchanged frequently). Many items are created out of several small pieces with different designs and colors. Some items can also be customized, combining parts that you choose. They use strong colors that pop, but also retro motives that look like they came from old children’s books. Take a careful look around. Many pieces are unique combinations. The shop is located about 5 minutes from Kuramae Station.
Address: 1-15-8 Misuji, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Open 11:00 - 18:00, closed Sundays & Mondays
Sukima Kappabashi by Hender Scheme
Items at Sukima Kappabashi range from leather shoes, bags, and wallets to accessories and storage boxes. They are all made from leather in warm colors and tones, often using just one color per piece. If you want something small, pick up a notebook with a leather cover. You can see what the shop looks like in the picture, there is no big sign. The store is located in a small street near the crossing where Kappabashi begins (the best place to shop for Japanese knives and kitchen utensils). The closest station is Tawaramachi, the station before Asakusa, but you can also walk here from Kuramae.
Address: 4-2-10 Moto-Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Open 12:00 - 19:00, closed Mondays
Ichigo to melon na mono by andcompany (EARL’S FAVOURITE Asakusa shop)
“Ichigo to melon na mono” means strawberry and melon things. And this sums up the unusual concept of this shop: cute small leather goods with a Japanese luxury fruit theme. They work with leather that looks like they made items out of melon rind or strawberry peel. High quality fruit packed beautifully is considered a luxury item and often given as gifts in Japan. Melons are among the most expensive fruit and even given to business partners. So it is not a surprise that melon business card cases are popular. The leather of the melon wallets and cases does not only look like melon, but also feel like it. The shop is located near the crossing at Tawaramachi Station, between Asakusa and Kuramae.
Address: 4-16-5 Kotobuki, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Open 10:00 - 15:00 Mondays - Fridays, 12:00 - 18:00 Saturdays, closed on Sundays
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