One of the pleasures of walking around local neighborhoods in Tokyo is stumbling upon a store in the most unlikely place that sells one-of-a-kind, beautifully crafted objects.
A more recent find was Nakazawa, a small shop in the Asakusa area that sells exquisite, hand-made cards.
We were on our way to a photo exhibition at a bookstore called Readin’ Writin’ Bookstore Tawaramachi, just a short walk from Tawaramachi station on the Ginza-sen subway line. But a wrong turn took us in the opposite direction, which is how we stumbled on this tiny store on Kokusai-dori, the main street that is colloquially known as Beat Street.
Nakazawa is one of those stores that is so attractively decorated in an understated yet aesthetically appealing Japanese style that it is almost impossible to walk by without going inside.
The modest space is filled with meticulously-crafted paper cards of all kinds, tastefully displayed all over the walls and shelves. If you like beautiful objects, stepping inside Nakazawa will make you feel like a child in a candy shop.
The cards are all hand-made by the three members of the Nakazawa family – Mr and Mrs Nakazawa and their friendly son, who happened to be manning the shop when we visited.
Although Nakazawa is just a seven-minute walk from Asakusa subway station, which is always thronged with tourists heading to Sensoji, the “must-see” temple for first-time visitors to Tokyo, Nakazawa Jr told us that he rarely sees foreign customers in his shop.
The tour buses stop right outside the store, but the tourists disembark to eat lunch and then just hop right back on the bus, he said.
This is a shame, in one way, as many of the cards sold at Nakazawa, which cost about Y700, would make excellent gifts for those back home. The shop also stocks a selection of Japanese washi paper, carefully chosen by Mrs Nakazawa.
But guiltily perhaps, we enjoyed having this little treasure house to ourselves so we could peruse its delightful offerings in peace and quiet.
From Tawaramachi station on the Ginza line, take the number 3 exit, walk to the left from the exit and turn left at the first stoplight, which is the Kotobuki 4-chome crossing. Nakazawa is on the second block on the left, just before the Kaminarimon 1-chome crossing.
Phone : 03-3841-7866
Website : http://nattyzone.com/access.html