Whenever we take the Seibu Ikebukuro or Seibu Chichibu Lines, we look out the window as the train approaches Hanno station and see a run-down warehouse with the words "AKAI FACTORY" in bold letters. We've always thought it was what it said it was -- a factory. One day, we biked around the Hanno area and passed by what we, thus far, have only seen from the train window. The warm lights and the smell of freshly roasting coffee drew us in. Akai Factory is actually an art space, gallery, workshop, museum and store rolled into one. It was originally a factory for bike parts dating back 80 years ago. If you look up, you can still see old machinery hanging up on the beams and a lot of the original walls, windows, and panels have been preserved. Akai Factory is shared by several artists and craftspeople and is an amazing place to shop for gorgeous washi, leather, metal items, and handmade time pieces you won't find anywhere else.
Akai Factory is less than 5 minutes walk from Hanno Station along the Seibu Line. Take the North Exit and go straight toward the parking building. You can either go through the parking building or go around it. Akai Factory is behind the parking building.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.