Translated by Greg
Shibuya's Maruara Watanabe: The Ideal Place For Japanese Souvenirs!
Written by Miku Yasuda
In the heart of Tokyo's Shibuya district, there's a small but long standing Japanese goods shop called Maruara Watanabe. Today we'll introduce all the attractive features of this shop, one that's popular with both Japanese and international visitors.
Maruara Watanabe is a souvenir shop selling high-quality Japanese products, with a focus on miscellaneous daily goods.
Buzzing with a youthful vigor, Shibuya is a town filled with trendy fashion buildings and shops catering to young people. So it's possible that traditional Japanese culture and Japanese souvenirs don't quite fit into this image.
Maruara Watanabe actually opened for business many years ago, long before Shibuya became known as a bustling shopping district. It originally started out as a kimono shop in 1926, and since then has continued to conduct business here in Shibuya for some ninety years. In today's article, we'll introduce all the attractive features of Maruara Watanabe, a shop with a loyal following among international visitors as well.
You May Also Like:
This is Maruara Watanabe.
Here in the big city, the shop's historic facade still retains traces of old Japan, while the inside premises give a warm, at-home kind of feeling.
The shop can be reached easily from Shibuya Station. From Shibuya Station's Hachiko exit, it's only five minutes away on foot.
First go across the famous Scramble Crossing, and once you've reached the other side, head towards the Center Gai shopping area. Turn right at the orange-colored Cafe Miyama, then go along the backstreet to the next corner and turn left, and on your right side a small shop with an orange awning will soon come into view.
Though the shop's premises are not very large, you'll soon be surprised by the huge number of items on display inside. Store items are Japanese-style and are sure to please all visiting travelers. Here they stock every imaginable kind of Japanese souvenir (non-food), including long time favorites such as kimonos, accessories, and imitation swords just to name a few.
Of course, the shop is also popular among Japanese people. Today the writer for this article dropped in and purchased a pair of geta (*1) and kanzashi (*2) , to go along with her yukata.
*1 Geta: One variety of traditional Japanese footwear, often made of wood. To slip them on, the foot's big toe and second toe pass between the thong on the top of the geta.
*2 Kanzashi: A Japanese ornamental hairpin, often worn together with a kimono or other traditional Japanese clothing by women.
Also, with items that might not be familiar to visitors to Japan, there are helpful English explanations as well. These hand-made information cards are kind of cute, aren't they!
Shop staff also speak English, so if there's something you'd like to know, feel free to ask them.
A unique feature of the shop is the collection of vending machines outside that sell Japanese souvenirs.
Many people consider Japan to be one of the countries with the most number of vending machines, and the largest variety of items sold in them. Even taking that into consideration, vending machines that sell souvenirs are highly unusual.
3 Items Worth Checking out at Maruara Watanabe!
Next, from among the large selection of goods at Maruara Watanabe, we'd like to introduce three items, specially selected by the staff at MATCHA. All three items are customer favorites that are reasonably priced and easy to carry and take back home, making them ideal purchases for our guests to Japan.
1. Origami Paper Crane Earrings
These folded-paper crane earrings are the shop's most popular item. These nifty souvenirs can be purchased inside the shop and also outside at the vending machines.
The tsuru, or crane, is one variety of bird that's been loved in Japan since ancient times. Origami, is a traditional Japanese pastime in which paper is folded into different shapes to create animals, plants and other objects. As subject matter for origami, the crane is a very popular creature.
With these earrings, the folded paper portion has been water-proofed. Each and every pair of earrings has its own color and unique motif, so half the fun will be browsing around and looking for the perfect pair. Earrings with a cute design are usually the most sought after by international visitors, and are popular among Japanese customers as well.
You May Also Like:
2. Kimono and Yukata
The kimono and yukata (a casual kind of kimono worn directly over the skin) have also proven to be popular items. According to one of the shop staff, many visitors to Japan become so attached to the yukata they wear at their hotel or onsen (hot spring), that they make it a point to buy one before heading back home.
Here there are kimono and yukata for both children and adults, and keeping international visitors in mind, the shop stocks a wide variety of different sizes.
You May Also Like:
Harajuku's Moshi Moshi Kimono Salon: Take Photos In An Original Kimono
What Is That Flower On Your Kimono?
Wander Through Kyoto In A Kimono! Yumeyakata: A Kimono Rental Store
Fukujukaikan Hall, Fukuyama - Play The Koto And Get A Kimono Dress Up!
3. Warazori (Straw Sandal Decorations)
Warazori, are a kind of traditional Japanese footwear made from wara, or straw. However, the ones sold here are not the actual items, but are small imitations that fit in the palm of your hand. Placed near the entrance inside your home or apartment, or on your living room table, these miniature warazori make the perfect decoration and are reasonably priced at 1500 yen (plus tax).
These are highly popular Japanese souvenirs because of their cute design, and they'll give a nice interior accent wherever you put them, whether it's near the front door, near a window, or in some other place in one of your rooms.
In addition to the three items mentioned above, of course there are many others that we can also recommend. For example, geta that coordinate well with Western-style clothing and designed for daily use, are also apparently very popular with international visitors.
You May Also Like:
At Maruara Watanabe, you can buy high quality Japanese-style miscellaneous goods and souvenirs, coveted by both Japanese and out-of-country visitors.
With the shop's high level of service, that includes English-speaking staff and English explanations for many items, visitors to Japan can have a relaxing and enjoyable worry-free shopping experience.
On your next visit to Tokyo, please be sure to pay a visit to Maruara Watanabe where you'll have no problem finding the exact souvenir you've been looking for!
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawa-cho 16-8
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:00-19:00, Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays-13:00-19:00
Credit cards: VISA, Master Card, JCB, American Express, Diners Club
Other Languages: English
Nearest Station: Shibuya Station
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Shibuya Station
Official Home Page: MARUARA WATANABE