Each city has some places which used to bloom with many small stores dedicated to a small niche. At first major shopping malls were killing their business and then the internet came along. One should think that Tokyo with its high rents makes it especially difficult for small shop owners who’re extremely specialized to survive. Much to my delight I’ve seen countless of lovingly run little stores inside the heart of Japan’s capital. One of my favorite quartiers has been 中目黒 which is very near the pulsating Shibuya station but got the charm of small city on the countryside. Many special interest shops are located there like Cow Books and a couple of very neat clothing/furniture stores.
In Shinagawa-ku there was once an equally rich selection of stores. Due to decreasing food traffic and high taxes many of the once 38 stores had to close up shop. There recently has been the opening of a rice specialty store called Okomeya that wants to change things and bring the quartier back to life. Located on a modest-sized shopping street spanning 300 meters between the main shopping area and Togoshi Koen station. Schemata Architects did a wonderful job in creating a modern yet very subtle appearance.
Back then street used to prosper with an array of small individual shops, but it has declined substantially and many shops had been closed down. As a consequence, the street is increasingly filled with closed shutters.
To avoid becoming a so called shutter-street local team the local design team Owan Ltd. did some concept work to reactivate the shopping street. They already operate MR. COFFEE, a roastery/coffee shop, and PEDERA BRANKA, a café, on the same street.
If you’re currently in Tokyo and plan or plan to visit make sure to stop by and pick up some Sake.
Togoshi 4-8-6, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo (Map)