Where are the best off-the-beaten-path teahouses, design shops, restaurants, confectionaries, and places to stay in Japan? We asked Asako Ueno, owner and curator of Brooklyn-based Japanese goods shop Anzu New York, where she goes when visiting Japan. Here’s her mini guide.
New from the designer behind Minä Perhonen, Akira Minagawa’s new shop, Call, sells textiles and clothing, Ueno says, “but also I enjoy the interior, like the chandelier, which glass artist Kazumi Tsuji made for this shop. They also have a grocery shop and cafe there.”
Two more of Ueno’s picks are on the same street. Sake Shop Fukumitsuya Marunouchi: “This is a sake shop, but I always buy a little gift for my American friends and for myself,” Ueno says. “They sell packaged food and ceramics; also they serve sake ice cream, which is so good.” And the Tokyo location of Ippodo Tea, which also has a Kyoto shop: “I use this shop for tea shopping and also tea break.”
And Daikanyama Tsutaya Books is a massive architect-designed bookshop that’s noted among the most beautiful bookstores in the world. “They also sell gifts,” Ueno says.
Another inn recommendation: the traditional Yudonoan in Yamagata. (Ueno worked on the interior design several years back.) “It’s surrounded by a rice field, with local food and hot spring baths, all owned by one family. For ‘do nothing,’ it’s the best place to stay,” she says. “I sometimes go the Ken Domon Museum of Photography when I stay there.”