In Tokyo, where to buy crafts from the hinterlands Essay

In Tokyo, where to buy crafts from the hinterlands If a trip to Japan doesn’t allow you time to venture far fromTokyo, you can still see and shop for the best handicrafts and otherwares produced in 25 of the least-visited prefectures–jurisdictionsthat are roughly akin to our states. The ninth floor of the Daimarudepartment store, which opens directly off the lobby of the main Tokyorailway station just east of the Imperial Palace complex, houses thesales showrooms of 10 prefectures. Next door to the north, HotelKokusai Kanko has 15 more on its second, third, and fourth floors. In both places, the showrooms’ windows bear stylized maps withprefecture locations and little graphic images to suggest waresyou’ll find inside. Some showrooms display industrial equipmentand precision instruments, too. But the main attractions are veryportable crafts, foods, and other souvenirs. Prices are reasonable, starting at just a few dollars and rarelytopping $50.

Handsome ceramic crocks from Tokushima hold sake ($6 to$12). Enticing tableware includes small ceramic braziers from Gifu(under $10), carved wood sake cups (under $2) and plates ($16) fromEhime, bamboo crafts from Oita, bizenware ceramics from Okayama,lacquerware from Fukushima. From Miyagi, you’ll see sets of finelycarved calligraphy pens ($20 to $60). Wine lovers can take home aRiesling from Yamagata for $12 or an Akita apple wine for $8. Daimaru is open from 10 to 7 Thursdays through Tuesdays. Hours atKokusai Kanko are 9 to 5 on weekdays, 9 to noon on Saturdays. Photo: Department store opens off lobby of Tokyo’s main railstation.

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But regional wares on the ninth floor Photo: Porcelain-and-brocade dolls merit close inspection; pricesrange from $15 to $50


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