Translated by Allie
Feel The Warmth Of Handmade Products At AYANOKOJI
Written by Reiya Horii
AYANOKOJI, locate di Harajuku, is a shop specializing in handmade clasp purses created by experienced artists. Their products have charming designs, with a Japanese feel to them.
You might have seen or even have clasp coin purses or wallets. Bags that fasten with clasps are called gamaguchi in Japan. These gamaguchi items were passed down to Japan in the Meiji era from Western countries.
We would like to introduce a store specialized in gamaguchi items called AYANOKOJI Tokyo Labo. (AYANOKOJI for short). They sell unique products with a truly Japanese design.
AYANOKOJI is located in Ura-Harajuku, the area behind the vibrant Takeshita street in Harajuku. Right at the entrance, you will be amazed by its fashionable interior.
The items sold at AYANOKOJI are all handmade by artists one by one. All of them are original products, created with the user in mind.
There are many attractive points to AYANOKOJI products; they provide various different designs, starting from single color, stripes, different size polka dots and karakusa moyō or arabesque patterns (*1). You're sure to find a design that appeals to your own aesthetic senses.
*1 Karakusa moyō: a pattern of plants designed with stretched or twisted shapes of leaves, stems or vines.
In addition, they produce products from not only cloth but different types of leather. No matter which you prefer, you will find something to suit your needs.
AYANOKOJI's Popular Items
Now we will introduce the top 3 products at AYANOKOJI.
1. Shikiri Tsuki Gamaguchi Card Case (1944 yen including tax)
Metal clasps are placed at the corner diagonally which is pretty unique. It is called Tenmizo Gamaguchi. It needs less power to open this type of clasp than others.
This has a compartment inside which makes it easier to sort things out.
You can open this case wide which lets you more easily see what is inside. If you put your IC travel card, such as Suica and PASMO in, you can use it as a pass holder.
2. Yamagata Gamaguchi Eyeglasses Case (from 2052 yen including tax)
Products in the picture above are mountain-shaped clasp bags; these are ideal eyeglasses cases. Strongly made, they also have felt lining, helping to protect the lenses of your glasses from damage. Available in two sizes, the larger ones are ideal for sunglasses.
A store manager told us that big polka dotted ones are their most popular and highly recommended cases.
3. Cosmetic Pouch (1728 yen including tax)
Two types of cosmetic cases are available. One is the 15 cm clasp cosmetics case, while the other is the Tawara shaped clasp cosmetics case, which has a pocket inside. Both are very popular items with cosmetics fans.
They are much bigger inside than they look, meaning that you can store items than you might expect.
Recommended Items for Visitors from Abroad
For those visiting Japan, it might be a good idea to purchase items made with a more Japanese-feel to them, such as those made with chirimen (*2) fabric and the materials used in making obi for kimono, both of which will give you a sense of the quality of Japanese traditional clothing.
*2 Chirimen: a type of fabric with a rough surface caused by the shrinking of the fabric.
Products in the picture above are grape colored Takokarakusa (*3) design. It brings you feel the atmosphere of adults.
*3 Takokarakusa: a type of Karakusa moyō; simplified leaves are attached to outlines of spiral twisted vines. This pattern is considered to bring good luck.
From the design of the goods down to the satisfying feeling that the snap of their clasp makes, the gamaguchi items sold by AYANOKOJI are all perfectly suited for souvenirs. Why not pick some up when visiting Ura-Harajuku next time?
AYANOKOJI Tokyo Labo.,
Address: Tokyō, Shibuya, Jingumae 3-28-10
Hours: 10:00 - 19:00
Closed: New Years
Credit Cards: Visa, MASTER, AMEX, Diner Club
Other Languages: Japanese only
Menus/Pamphlets in Other Languages: Japanese only
Nearest Station: JR Harajuku Station (原宿駅), Meiji-jingumae Station(明治神宮前駅), Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines, Gaiemmae Station (外苑前駅), Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Access: 8 minute walk from Harajuku Station, 7 minute walk from Meiji-jingumae Station, 11 minute walk from Gaiemmae Station
Phone Number: +81-3-6434-5186
Website: AYANOKOJI Tokyo Labo.,