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Ogura Keys and Metal works Adviser

place7 minute walk from Exit 4 of Monzen-nakacho Station

A Family-Owned Hardware Store in Shitamachi

Published: May 25, 2017

Tokyo is one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic cities, so constant change is a givenーa building that was on the corner just a couple of weeks ago is gone, and today there is a construction site in it’s place.


Despite this constant change, some Tokyo neighborhoods hold on to their character and charm. Monzen-nakacho is one such neighborhood. Once you get off the train, you can feel the atmosphere of Edo’s  Shitamachi, or downtown.


What makes it so? A lot of things, but probably the  most important element is it’s  privately-owned shops and businesses.



In the age of the chain stores and mega-stores, Monzen-nakacho (and other sections of Shitamachi) has a high percentage of “mom and pop” stores and small businesses.


One such business is Ogura Hardware and Building Supply located on one of Monzen-nakacho’s busy main thoroughfares. The store is managed by Mr. Taro Ogura, a third-generation owner of a business that has been in the same location for some 60 years. (Mr. Ogura’s Mom also works there). The store is chock-full of all types of hardware and equipment, all displayed in an orderly manner. These days Mr. Ogura’s customers are mainly professionals, but he also serves locals, and sometimes even the occasional  non-Japanese resident of Shitamachi.



So, from professional goods to DIY, Mr. Ogura has got your  hardware needs covered.  He also says that if they don’t have an item in stock , there is a good chance they can order it from one of their many suppliers. There are only three such hardware shops left in the area, and, coincidentally, one of them is run by a family member.



One line of goods of particular interest Mr. Ogura sells is packaged emergency foods. The product is produced by Hijo Food Company, and the president is one of his friends. In an earthquake-prone country like Japan, picking up a couple of packs of emergency rations (with a shelf-life of three years) might be a good idea.



As for the future, Mr. Ogura says he wants to find some way to support the coming 2020 Olympics and to keep his connection to his customers both professional and local.



Story and Photos by David Parmer