For this box, we take you to Asakusa: a part of Tokyo called Shitamachi, where the atmosphere of the old city still lingers. The symbol of Asakusa is the Senso-ji temple and its huge red paper lantern at Kaminarimon gate. Around the temple grounds, craftsmen and traditional shops still thrive. Popular locations include the Nakamise shopping street, for snacks and souvenirs, and Kappabashi street, for tableware and other cooking utensils. Immerse yourself in the Tokyo of the Edo era with us！
Kanaya tooth brush
Kanaya Brush was founded in 1914, when Mr. Ouchi’s grandfather came from Kyoto to the capital, and opened his first brushes shop. The star item of the company are the toothbrushes made from horse hair. Thanks to the hair elasticity, the brush will clean the teeth while gently massaging the gum tissues. Upon entering the store, our attention was drawn to a large banner that reads: “Toothbrushes for a million people”. It was Mr. Ouchi’s grandfather’s wish: for a million people to use his toothbrushes. Today, this goal has been achieved but Mr. Ouchi set a new one: to introduce his toothbrushes not only to Japanese people, but to the whole world. And we are proud to be able to help him get closer to his dream, by introducing his toothbrushes to you.
This cat-shaped statuette called manekineko is made of washi paper. They are handmade so each is unique. The Imado shrine in Asakusa is believed to be the birthplace of the Manekineko statue. It is said that, a long time ago, an old lady had to part with her cat because she was too poor to take care of it. The next day of the separation, the cat appareaded in her dream, asking her to make cat statuettes to recomfort his soul from having been abandoned. And so the old lady did her best. The statuettes became so popular that she was able to get out of poverty with the sales. This manekineko will bring you good fortune.
Soy sauce dish
Kappabashi in Asakusa is a one kilometers long street lined up with shops selling tableware and cuisine ustensiles for restaurants and bars. From there, we selected a white porcelain soy sauce plate from the Mino region. It is ideal for your next sushi meal : pour the soy sauce in the place and the carved fish (sea bream) appears. In Japanese, sea bream is “tai”. The sound “tai” is found in the word “omedetai” which means celebration. As such, sea bream is seen as a good fortune animal.
Asakusa Paper fan
The Japanese traditional fan called uchiwa come from a shop called Takahisa that specializes in selling Hagoita: wooden paddles decorated with various traditional images and used for decoration. The manager, Mister Masanori Tsuchiya, aims to pass down the spirit and traditions of the Edo period. The Uchiwa is the best tool for kimono clad ladies who come to enjoy the famous Sumida river fireworks during summer. You can see the letters for Asakusa: 浅草.
Post Card from Sukeroku
Founded in 1866, Sukeroku is the last remaining shop selling Japanese miniature Edo-style toys. Now run by 84 years old Yoshitaka Kimura, his family has passed-on this tradition, introducing the skills of craftsmen for 5 generations. During the Edo period, artisans developed the skills to make smaller and smaller items. The reason? The sumptuary laws issued during this time to control outward signs of wealth. This is how miniature toys gained in popularity. As each toy is completely unique and rare, we cannot include any in our box. However we included one of the postcards from the shop to convey the spirit of the Edo period.
Asakusa Cloth Bag
From Nakamise street we selected a good fortune cloth bag made in Japan. You can use it to store your pens or as a beauty case. There are different japanese masks represented on it. For example, the Otafuku, a mask representing a smiling woman, which can literally be translated as “a lot of good fortune”. Or the Hyottoko, a comical character with his mouth skewed to one side, which also brings good luck into one’s house.
Kamanari okoshi is the most famous snack of Asakusa. It consists of crispy rice mixed with syrup. Some also have peanuts and sesame seeds thrown into the mix. If you go to Asakusa, you cannot miss the big Kaminarimon Gate at the entrance of Sensoji temple, with its big red paper lantern. It is said that those snacks were sold for the first time in front of this gate and it is from there that the name comes from (okoshi means to come). We have included a selection of flavors so you can have fun trying to guess which one is which.
From the Bairindo shop we have included 8 ningyo-yaki, one of Asakusa’s specialties and most popular sweet. Ningyo means “doll” and yaki means “baked”. Ningyo-yaki are cakes filled with a sweet red bean paste and baked in molds in the shapes of Asakusa symbols. For example, you will find in your box a cake shaped like the famous Senso-ji temple pagoda or like the big lantern of the Kaminarimon. Share this sweet red azuki beans delicacy with all your friends and have fun admiring the shapes.
From Ichibanya store on the Nakamise shopping street, we have included a handmade rice cracker with black pepper flavor to go along with beer. In Asakusa, 5 minutes away from the Sensoji temple, is the Sumida river. From the beginning of spring and through summer, locals enjoy the nice weather on the riverbank, while having a cool drink and some snacks. It also where the famous beer company Asahi is located.
As you alight from Asakusa metro station the first thing that strikes you is the pleasant smell of tea being roasted right on the streets. This fragrance comes from Masudaen Sohonten shop located in front of the Sumida river. Founded in 1867, the shop offers not only a variety of tea selection but also tea ceremony utensils. The staff is friendly and always ready to recommend you the best.
We selected a tasting of different powdered teas: pickled plum and kombu seaweed tea and pure matcha green tea. It will go very well with your ningyo-yaki for a well deserved break during the day.