Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Asakusabashi - Bead Shopping

 Asakusabashi is a suburb which is known for its bead, craft and doll shops - so my sort of town essentially!
 These doll displays were inside Asakusabashi station.
 I think Japanese traditional dolls are so beautiful.

I didn't have time to take many photos, but Kiwa was one of the shops on my list.
When we arrived, the sun was begining to set, so it was fairly late in the day.  I also had my kids with me, and after a full morning of fabric shopping, their patience was starting to wear thin. My son used reverse psychology on me and said he would wait patiently outside each bead shop if I promised to take him back to Tokyo station to go to the toy shops again that night. I of course agreed with the plea bargin.
 I didn't have a great map of this town, and so I ended just visiting three bead shops, but ran out of time to see all the others and all the doll and craft shops on my list.
So, I am sure this town is fantastic, but the problem for me was that I had many bead projects photocopied from Bead Friend magazines, so I needed very specific beads. Of course, all the signage in the shops were in Japanese only, and it takes me ages to read katakana, and the shops were all multileveled, and Kiwa was even divided between two different stores. With all this against me, it took me a long time to find all my supplies, and even then I ran out of time, so I only ended up with partial supplies for my projects. Paradoxically, there were too many choices for me, so I ended up procrastinating over what I should purchase. Meanwhile, my kids were getting grumpier by the second.  So in hindsight, I should have visited Kiwa in Harajuku and Parts Club in Shinjuku instead of travelling out to Asakusabashi.  In fact, I cancelled my day planned for Jiyugaoka to go to Kiwa in Harajuku to buy what I didn't manage to get here.  So, if you have half a day free and you are travelling alone and you are bead crazy, then definitely visit this town.  But if time is limited, then Harajuku and Shinjuku are your best bet. I did however, purchase these beads pictured below, but I would have loved a whole day here to really explore everything on offer. Still, I am grateful that I was able to go there at all.


  1. Asakusabashi is one of my favourite areas in the shitamachi, too! They're preparing for the Doll Festival on 3 March now, so the shops' displays are extra beautiful. Hmmm. Maybe I should say they're dolling themselves up? ^^

    PS: I envy you your skills in creating things. I'm incredibly stupid with my hands.

  2. My earlier comment seemed to have gone AWOL. Hmmm...

    Anyways, like Rurousha - I am absolutely envious at you. I can't even sew straight. LOL