What we love…
- We're not big fans of run-of-the-mill souvenirs. Key chains, t-shirts, and posters seem like a great idea while you're buying them, but be honest, once you're home you never look at them again. We prefer to bring our memories home in something we'll actually use, or a souvenir that's at least beautiful enough to warrant the extra luggage space it takes up. Since souvenirs are something you can't really avoid when you're traveling (it's not like you can show up empty handed after a trip to Tokyo right?) the Oriental Bazaar is the perfect place to make a stop at the end of your trip to stock up on goodies to bring home to friends and family.
- The Oriental Bazaar is located in the Harajuku, Omotesando neighborhood, the shrine like building is easy to spot as it contrasts against the modern shops located on either side. The store has been around since 1916 selling authentic Japanese antiques to tourists and cultural enthusiasts. Today you'll still find a number of antiques (mostly located on the second floor) alongside more modern pieces like washi paper, kimono's, silk and paper screens, and porcelain in both the "imari" and "kutani" style. Those shopping for (or with) kids, should head to the basement level where you'll find a large collection of Japanese toys and books. If you're looking for art you can find beautiful prints on silk called "Ukiyo-e". Ukiyo-e are traditional woodblock prints that depict life from the Edo period, often women elaborately dressed in colorful kimonos, sumo wrestlers, and expressive Kabuki actors. Unlike your typical throwaway souvenirs, the Oriental Bazaar stocks quality items you'll be proud to bring home, and display in your home.
- Although anything you buy while traveling can be considered a souvenir, sometimes it's nice to get a piece with a little history, and a lot of local style to remind you just how special your time there was.