Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Best Miniature Shop in the WORLD

The pictures in this post are from August of 2010, but as the title of this post implies, the content merits a belated post....

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. (I'm so sorry but I don't remember his wife's name, but when I find it, I will edit this post.) Not only is the quality outstanding, but these people exhibited the legendary politeness and generosity of the Japanese people. They allowed myself and the 6 other people I was with invade their tiny shop. They showed me their workshop and how to use the tiny food molds that I bought. That summer, Tokyo experienced a serious heat wave, so I look awful in the pictures because of the resulting sweaty-ness. We were given cold mugi-cha - which is a roasted barley tea that cures hotness like nothing else I've experienced - and cookies while we shopped. 
This is the storefront. I hope this helps you find it.

I am ecstatic...sweaty, but ecstatic.

Tiny Restaurant

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. I will find out her name...

This is a pot he was working on when we were there.

I bought this cake because it had musk melon - a melon we can't get in the U.S. - on it. It's the little yellowish-green sliver with a green/white rind on the left side. The pan from the previous picture, a strainer, and white metal plate also made by Yukio Kawai is in the background.

This is a better picture.

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:

TYA Kitchen
5-13-2 Nishiogu Arakawaku Tokyo
116-0011 Japan

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.


  1. Hello. thanks for posting about this:) They sure make beautiful miniatures.

  2. Thank you for the info it will help when I visit next year. I met them this year for the first time in Osaka.

  3. Thank you for this post! I met TYA Kitchen at the Chicago International Miniatures show last year, and since I had a work trip to Tokyo last week, I thought I would try to visit them! I love all your pictures. I had to be escorted (very graciously) by a policeman, but when I showed him the picture of the shop from your blog, that is when he seemed to know where it was! Also I showed your blog title to Yukio-san and his wife, and they seemed very happy about it! I will post soon pictures hopefully of my visit to their shop.

    1. I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you! I'll be going back to Japan later this year, so I plan to make a trip to TYA Kitchen. What kind of job do you have where you get to travel to Tokyo for work...and are you taking resumes?!

  4. I just visited this shop this morning while I'm here in Japan on holiday. Because I speak some Japanese, Kawai-san asked me how I found out about the place, and I showed him your blog and also emailed him the link. He remembered you and said he thought you'd visited again this year. Unfortunately, I only read these comments after I'd left the store, but I see you planned to visit again this year, so it seems that he probably remembered you correctly. Amazingly detailed miniatures - thank you for sharing this so that others, like me, could enjoy it too.

  5. I'm really excited to have found your Blog. My husband and I are flying to Japan on Monday, starting in Tokyo and I love miniature. I try to bring some miniatures home from every holiday.
    Thank you do much for your detailed information.