Tokyobling's Blog

Tsukishima Shotengai – Store Fronts

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on October 9, 2014

Last night most of Japan saw a complete lunar eclipse which although impressive it not really photogenic. So instead I picked a few photos of storefronts that I took in Tokyo’s central Tsukishima (月島) district. The name translates to Moon Island. Tokyo is not all gleaming skyscrapers and huge modern buildings, there is also quite a few houses and shops that have probably never seen a renovation budget over two figures, and I love these. Almost all of these stores are family run business, often with the owners being way past retirement age. In Japan pension payments are not connected very much to your income so it makes sense to keep working even after 65 and it also explains why several of these stores are not all that concerned with profit maximization. I always make an effort to shop in stores like this. Most items are slightly more expensive than in the big brand stores but there are enough items much cheaper so on average I think it evens out. It is also a great chance to chat to people you would never ever meet otherwise, as most of the owners are very happy to have a conversation with the purchase (most, but not all). One of my favorite mom and pop stores is a fruit seller in my neighborhood. The first time I went in there the owner, an old lady of way past 90 was sitting down resting and her energetic son of around 70 rushed down to help me with my purchase, sparing his mother. He claimed that his mom was way too old to “risk her heart speaking to handsome gentlemen like you” so naturally I had to buy some extra to reward his excellent sales pitch. It is still the only place where I put money down for fruit!








10 Responses

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  1. Mikku said, on October 9, 2014 at 6:09 am

    I love the older shotengai and these photos really capture the atmosphere well. Did you have any monjayaki?


  2. amadl said, on October 9, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I Love shops Like these too, they aLways feeL more humane than department stores and convenient stores.. I’m curious what’s soLd inside the gift & fancy shop 😀


    • tokyobling said, on October 9, 2014 at 8:34 am

      I agree! Yes, but I can tell they probably have nothing for young men… (^-^;)


  3. Michael said, on October 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Beautiful pictures again. I returned to my Setagaya neighborhood after almost 40 years only to find that all of these types of stores had disappeared from the street leading to my former house. So sad. Thank you for keeping my recent trip alive for me through your images.


    • tokyobling said, on October 10, 2014 at 1:13 am

      Thank you for the kind comment Michael! Setagaya especially is undergoing a rapid modernization recently. I wonder how long these stores will last?


  4. Timi said, on October 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    These are the shops that I go into just because they look so nice..and of course I end up buying something too 😀 and no regrets!


  5. rudyhou said, on October 14, 2014 at 8:24 am

    i enjoy visiting mom n pop type of shops, as i always try to do when i get to visit japan. my inability to speak japanese tends to discourage me from doing so often, though.


    • tokyobling said, on October 15, 2014 at 12:15 am

      Yes, that can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. A big smile says more than a 1000 words though! (^-^)


      • rudyhou said, on October 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

        i’ll certainly keep that in mind for the next time i travel.


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