Just a short way away from Shinjuku Station, there is a large crafts shop where you can find a variety of high quality handicrafts sourced from around Japan. Bingoya’s collection is spread over a standalone five storey shop. Inside there is a mix of creations, such as glassware, metal work and pottery.
The nearest station is Wakamatsu-Kawada on the Toei Oedo line. Just a short few minutes’ walk, and you will be able to see the prominent store from the main road. While I was inside, quite a few people also popped by to browse and admire the craftsmanship that went into making the products on sale.
The first floor has a mixture of handicrafts, including woven fabrics, glass and ceramic ware as well as high quality paper products. For foreigners who might not be familiar with traditional Japanese methods and products, there are handy descriptions and flyers in English explaining the product or technique’s history, the production process and its significance. They are well prepared for tourists as well, and offer to ship larger products overseas for you.
Just one floor down in the basement, there is an interesting collection of traditional folk toys. It reminded me of the toys I played with in the Mechanical Toy Museum in Nara-machi. They make a nice alternative gift for children as opposed to electronic games.
The second floor has mainly bowls, plates, cups and containers made out of glass or ceramic. Some are very pretty and delicate and make good ornamental decorations, while others are suitable for regular use on the dining table.
The third floor concentrates more on fabric goods. There are pieces of clothes, bags, towels and cushion covers that have common Japanese motifs. You can be sure that the fabric is the strong and resilient kind that Japan is known for.
The final level has a mixture of items, similar to the first floor. However it also includes lacquerware and wooden containers and plates. Over five floors of this store, you can tell that all the items have been carefully curated to represent as many areas of traditional crafts in Japan as can fit into the store. The store area is not large, and the items inside are already packed nearly to the rafters, giving you the largest variety in a limited space.
Bingoya Craft Shop is a little off the beaten tourist path, but it is worth the trip if you are looking to buy some good quality handicrafts.
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