Sunday, 11 August 2013

Kyoto craft shopping

I spent last weekend in Kyoto. Despite horrible heat and annoying mosquitos, I was  so happy to soak in the atmosphere of the old capital. Not without guilty feelings towards my credit card, I have to admit that I spent a lot of my time in craft shops. But I did check out some tourist sights too - here is photographic evidence!

Sagano forst in Arashiyama
My first craft related visit was made to a  needle shop, Misuyabari. I wrote about it a while ago explaining how I became a needle geek. They have been successfully making and selling needles since 1651! In the past, I have bought needles several times from their online shop but they don't have the full range of their products online. It was a real needle heaven!

The shop is located in Shinkyogoku shopping arcade, a great place for shopping in Kyoto. Misuyabari shop is so well hidden that even with Google Maps, I had a hard time spotting it. You can either ask surrounding businesses or just look up searching for the sign ;)

The shop is very tiny: five people would have difficulty moving around in it. But the amount of needles and needle accessories is impressive.

Hand made pins!

SOOO cute!

As expected, I sinned and purchased lots of stuff: hand-sewing needles for silk, wool and cotton, a case for my Japanese thread scissors, several pins and a beautiful paulownia box which keeps needles and pins protected from humidity. Currently in Tokyo, we are experiencing some 80-90% humidity.... eeerkkk So the boxe comes in very handy!

One unexpected purchase even for me was a huge piece of leather: 1.5m x 1.3. I bought it with the intention to make a tote bag. The bag of my dream is big and strong enough to carry my laptop, books, tons of bits and pieces!  I am definitely not a clutch person.

I bought leather as well as three cuts of cute Japanese cotton in this shop, Nomura Tailor, which is a must-see fabric shop in Kyoto. I know of two of their boutiques: one  in Shinkyogoku Arcade and another on Shijo Dori, one of the biggest streets in the heart of Kyoto.

When in Kyoto, I could not miss an opportunity to go to Avril, the loveliest yarn shop. Once you've finished all of your shopping in Shinkyogoku Arcade, walk out of there and after a three-minute walk you'll see Sacra building, an old shopping mall. Avril is one of the shops inside this building!

And don't forget to pop in to Idola, a button shop located on the same floor. In any case, the shopping mall is so tiny (like Japanese tiny) that you won't miss Idola ;)

In Avril, I has such a hard time restraining myself and not buying anything! Maybe because of heat, or maybe because my  bags were already heavy with fabric, I left the shop empty-handed. but with the intention to return to its Tokyo sister-shop very soon!

What about you? Have you done any interesting craft shopping lately?


  1. Wow, what fun! I did a little shopping yesterday with a Garment District meetup, but I wasn't very inspired to buy anything as I was tired and I'm not really in the mood to start sewing fall garments. But I would've bought everything in these stores-- they're so cute!

  2. Silvia - Sewing Princess11 August 2013 at 21:50

    Thanks for the tour! Those stores are amazing. My latest shopping has been vintage Italian fabric

  3. My goodness... It's like sewing porn, but waaay better! I suppose a shop selling needles doesn't really need much retail space... But wow. I need to convince my boy that he really wants to go to Japan so I can get in on the action. He can ski whilst I shop for sewing supplies! Gorgeous pictures, too :)

  4. A sewing geek like you has no excuse not to come to Japan, especially with JetStar and AirAsia flying from Australia to Japan on daily basis!

  5. Yes! I remember the gorgeous vintage fabric from the old lady's store! To be honest, I am pretty tempted to buy some too because there's plenty of beautiful pieces left!

  6. Too bad you were not inspired. Oh Sonja, I hear you about not willing to think about fall/winter...

  7. Oh my goodness, those pins are soooo cute! Thanks for posting these Japan craft shopping tips - I'm bookmarking them for my visit.

  8. It took me ages to choose which one to buy! They also had sushi-inspired pins but too expensive (◎_◎;)
    Don't hesitate to email me directly if you have any questions about craft shopping or anything else about Japan (◕‿◕✿)

  9. Those are the cutest pins I have ever seen. I'm having craft shop envy over here....

  10. I wish I'd known about the needle shop before I left Japan! It looks AMAZING! Glad you got to see Arashiyama too - it's one of my favourite places - did you have tempura and udon at the tiny place by the river? Your blog makes me miss Japan...!

  11. This blog was extremely helpful. I really appreciate your kindness in sharing this with me and everyone else! 이벤트속옷