Kuramae is a town of wholesalers. As I wrote in the previous posting, there are shops old and new. Kuramae in Japanese means “in front of the rice warehouses”. It was called so because there used to be rice warehouses where Edo Government during 17th – 19th Century kept rice collected throughout Japan. After the great earthquake in 1923, many craftspeople who made Japanese dolls came to this town and the area became the place for wholesalers of dolls and toys.
Today, there are many warehousemen’s shops along Edo Dori Avenue.
You may have heard of Sailor Moon, PreCure or One Piece. These are characters of a toys and games company Bandai and their headquarters locate along Edo Dori Avenue between Kuramae and Asakusa. So you can see that Kuramae is a town of toy shops.
In addition to toy wholesalers, Kuramae is a town for fireworks wholesalers. During Edo Era, fireworks were already popular among general publics but in fear of fires, Shogun prohibited playing fireworks elsewhere than Sumida River area. As a result, Karamae and Asakusabashi which are towns of west side of the river have many warehousemen of fireworks even today.
Please be careful that you cannot take out fireworks from Japan. And there is a strict regulation and it is quite difficult to find a safe place to play fireworks if they are very large ones.
Another interesting shop is Kakimori. This shop makes novelty stationery for corporate customers but they also sell at retail. They have various stationery such as pens, fountain pens and notebooks. And their specialty is that you can choose from a wide range of options. There are several ribs for pens different in sizes. There are inks with many different colours and you can even create your own colours. What is most exciting is that you can make your one-of-a-kind notebooks with your own choice; the size of the papers, the patterns of papers (there are several different textures, you can choose from lined / graph / plain papers), front and back covers of the notebooks, fasteners of notebooks.
For More Information on Kakimori
Address: 6-2 Misuji 1-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hrs.: 11am – 7pm Closed on Mondays.
Access: 8 minutes from Kuramae Station of Toei Asakusa Line
URL: https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shopping/kakimori (Note: The website of Kakimori is Japanese only so I put the website of Time Out which introduces Kakimori.)
I have a couple of more shops to tell you so please stay tuned!