In July of 2010, I was able to fulfill a life-long dream and got to go to Japan. Typical of any miniaturist, I had to find a shop to visit while I was there. With the help of my boyfriend's mother - who is from Tokyo - we found TYA Kitchen. My boyfriend and I call TYA Kitchen the best miniature shop in the world. Let me tell you why...
TYA Kitchen is located in Tokyo's Arakawa ward. While the shop carries work from other Japanese artists, metal work by Kawai Yukio-san and tiny food by Kawai Asako-san are the showcase.
|This is the storefront. I hope this helps you find it.|
|I am ecstatic...sweaty, but ecstatic.|
|Tiny Food by Asako Kawai-san|
|This booth shows more of the metal work done by Kawai Yukio-san.|
|Kawai Yukio-san, metal works artist, doing a demonstration for a bunch of gaijin.|
|This is a structure they had on display.|
|Kawai Yukio, center, and Kawai Asako, left. |
|This is a pot he was working on when we were there.|
|Here are some of the things I bought from TYA (left to right, back to front): blue canisters, green scale, watering can, metal spatula, tin can, pot with lid, white metal plate (other white metal pieces, not pictured), plastic take-out containers, and blue kettle. The cheese on the plate is not from TYA; I have no idea why I took a picture with it...|
|We left waving and bowing and were totally overwhelmed with the kindness of TYA Kitchen.|
I ended up spending a lot more money than I should have, but all of the pieces were of the best quality and I was more than happy to support such nice, talented people. I'll never forget my visit there; I hope to go again the next time I go to Tokyo. If anyone out there wants to go - and you should - here is the address and website info:
5-13-2 Nishiogu Arakawaku Tokyo
The thing with finding places in Tokyo...well, it's tricky. I had the benefit of a native Japanese-speaker who grew up in Tokyo guiding me, so I just followed. However, police stationed at koban - police boxes - can help you. Most Japanese have working knowledge of English. Learn as much Japanese as you can before you go and don't be afraid to use it. The effort is appreciated there. Attempting to speak Japanese seemed to break the ice, and you end up communicating with both Japanese and English.