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Iizuka Shoten General store

place7 minute walk from Kitasuna-nichome bus stop

Home Goods with a True Touch of Home

Published: June 14, 2017


“If I had known about this store when I first moved here, my life would have been so much easier.”


This was the first thought I had when I entered Iizuka Shoten. Situated within the Sunamachi Ginza shopping street, Iizuka Shoten is the perfect store for people who are sick of, a bit freaked out by, or overwhelmed by the myriad big box stores in Tokyo. The store is also ideal for those who are looking for a more personal touch when shopping for any household items ranging from mops to clothes hanging apparatuses, from chopsticks to umbrella stands.



Iizuka Shoten tends to stock things more geared toward kitchen use, but there’s a little bit of everything thrown in as well. Everything in the store is second-hand, some bought directly from distributors and resold for the same price at which the store acquired them, which keeps everything affordable.



We spoke to Mr. Iizuka, the son and third-generation owner, who told us he also tries to stock a fair amount of things you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a big box store, including small, precious items that would lend any home a more familiar and comfortable touch. Notable finds include this adorable rabbit-shaped chopstick rest…



As well as charming tea mugs…



And stylishly packaged scrubbing brushes.



Certainly I’ve never seen a mortar and pestle with a pestle charmingly stylized as a wooden branch at a big box store.



As if the reasonable prices weren’t enough, the owners go above and beyond to accommodate their customers.   Mr. Iizuka expresses gratitude to each person who walks into his shop. In response to the quality service they receive, many customers  come from quite far away to patronize Iizuka Shoten.


It’s no surprise, really, with service like that. Beyond the logistics of reaching the store, once you visit it’s even more clear why people keep coming back. Mr. Iizuka gave us space to poke around undisturbed, but as soon as we had a question about what something was or how to use it, he would come by and patiently explain things, asking us if we had any other questions.


One of the things in stock that we took particular note of were small wind chimes.


“Those aren’t so popular around here,” Mr. Iizuka said. “People complain that they’re too noisy in a city like this.” And yet, the image of a small house with a tiny garden, a wind chime hanging from a persimmon tree while a father smokes on the veranda and kids play out front… It’s perfectly “Shitamachi” (old-town Tokyo). One small item—and one person’s disappointment over changing feelings about that item—can invoke the feeling of a whole neighborhood. And the same could be said for Iizuka Shoten and the good Shitamachi people who run it.



Story and Photos by Kate Montgomery