Aoyama Shopping Guide, Part 2
OK, ready for Part 2 of the Aoyama shopping guide? If you do Part 1 then you'll just have to cross Omotesando Street to do the second half. There are several cozy cafes back here and at least 1 kid-friendly restaurant.
I always find the best shops when I'm lost. Bazar Et Garde-Manger is a good example. This store is just how I imagined Tokyo would be: kooky, weird, exciting, unusual and cool. Right in the center of the store there's this enormous hanging sculpture made out of knit dolls (or something like that). The little ceramic tea cups with faces on them were eye-catching as were the postcards. Something to fit every budget here. It's not on my map because I was lost, but here's a link to their map. It was very close to RIN.
RIN might be a good stand-in for Oriental Bazaar. It's not on the same scale, but I love the design of the store and you can find handmade Japanese gifts for everyone on your list.
Flower & Guitar reminded me of a second hand store you might find in Little Five Points, Atlanta or Asheville, NC. The handmade goods here are not vintage, they just have that 70s vibe going on. I couldn't help but notice the mushrooms in all sorts of mediums (glass, ceramic, crochet). I liked the little crochet dolls at the register best of all.
The first things you'll notice at MU-RA are all the girly chandeliers. You're probably not looking to lug a light fixture back home, but they do have tons of zakka (accessories). In fact they have a whole table devoted to just rabbit designs. Warning: Bring guys into this store at your own risk. I even have some girl friends who would probably give the ol' finger down the throat gesture when the sales staff weren't looking. But hey, I like the place.
If I bring the kids to Aoyama next time, I'll have to remember Crayonhouse which is around the corner from MU-RA. It's a bookstore, toy store, and restaurant. There are some really cute Japanese-designed wooden toys on the 3rd floor. The entire building is pancake scented thanks to the restaurant which, judging from the gazillion strollers outside, must be kid-friendly.
Well, that's all for now. Look out for all the cute cafes while you're out shopping and have fun. Here's my map. Think of my maps as something like your friend's handwritten map to their house (even though you know it would be easier to just google map it). It's not perfect, but it should work and it might be easier than reading a Google map in Japanese.