東京 - Tokyo
"Shita-Machi" - Area von tradesmen and artisans
During your stay in Tokyo or at the reading guide books, the area calling "Shita-Machi" may attract your attention. Literally one can translate "downtown", but I doubt a bit if it has the same definition. In many Japanese towns living area used to be devided quite clearly. Shita-Machi was the area of petty bourgeoisie, tradesmen and artisans. The life of many non-wealthy people was hard living in attached house without private space, hat to share water or washrooms. In other words, through those hard lives some very particular cultures were developed in Tokyo.
As far as the Japanese craftwork is concerned you find most of the shops or companies in so called Shita-Machi area, Ueno, Asakusa, Nippori, Nihonbashi. Nowadays you hardly find the old good times of Shita-Machi, but good to know the background culture when you visit your trades partner. It must help to understand their mentality.
Discover the Japanese Arts and Crafts
伝統工芸青山スクエア - Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square
In Japan there are 222 traditional articles of Japanese arts and crafts, which are qualified by Japanese ministry of economic and trade. In this japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square, about 130 articles are displayed and sold. So, it may be good idea to check it out at first, followed by the shopping malls where general people visit.
>>> Aoyama Square （伝統工芸青山スクエア）
Tokyo, roughly estimated 12 million people in the daytime and 8 million in the night.
It is almost impossible to fullfil all of your plan during the short stay. If your focus is Japanese Arts and Crafts, as buyer or enthusiast, but don't have any idea where to start, it may be good idea to stroll the following areas on the first day.
- Museum, Showroom, Institute
- Department Stores, Shopping Malls
- Shopping streets
- Wholesale merchants areas
Galleries & Showrooms
Department stores may be good place to have a quick overview about general products sold in Japan.
In Tokyo there are 18 big department stores. Maybe you will be surprised or disappointed to see how small amount of products are genuine Japanese ones, but this is valuable information as well.
Especially the basement of department store could be a paradise for enthusiast of Japanese cooking. There you find not only various prepared foods or Bentos, but also many typical local ingredients from all over Japan.
At the exit of many subway stations you get often directly to the underground stairs of department stores (Depa-Chika: Department Basement).
Besides if you don't know where to go for the lunch, you will find various small restaurants with quite a good quality in the department store, usually on top floors.