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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shopping in Kyoto: Cocon Karasuma

I like to keep track of some of my favorite stores in Japan by blogging about them. That way, when guests come from out of town and need to know the scoop on shopping I can direct them over here. Here's one of my favorite shopping spots that is never mentioned in any English guide:

Cocon Karasuma is at the intersection of Shijo and Karasuma in downtown Kyoto. Look for the building with the patterned glass facade. Inside you'll find several impressively designed shops. My favorite is Kara Kira Chow, a stationery shop with beautifully designed cards. Even if you're not a big fragrance person you should still check out Lisn for it's display of colorful "sophisticated incense" arranged in the most beautiful gradations. Actus carries modern Scandinavian style furniture (you might have caught on to a theme by now: Scandinavian design is really big in Japan). This is a fun store to poke around. Their children's furniture is especially cute. Aura is another interiors shop that carries unique housewares by designers like Hayano Hisao and Koizumi Makoto. And then there's Odette which has gorgeous floral arrangements you won't want to miss. There are also several Japanese restaurants, a French bistro and The Hub (a chain of UK style pubs). Usually, The Hub is a Mecca of expats, but I've noticed this one has mostly a Japanese crowd.

To get here, you can take the Hankyu line to Karasuma station. Or take the subway to Shijo Station (on the Karasuma Line). You can also walk straight across Shijo street from the popular Kawaramachi station. It takes about 15 minutes or so. Of course, if you're no where near Kyoto you can just click on the links and do a "virtual tour."

That's all until Monday. Looks like a typhoon is going to ruin my weekend plans to get out to an antiques fair. Hope the weather is more cooperative wherever you are!
 
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