shopping_cart Shopping

Machi no Fusenyasan Tokiwa-ya

place1 minute walk from Kitasuna 2-chome bus stop

Say it with Balloons at Machi no Fusenyasan Tokiwa-ya

Published: November 16, 2017

Koto-ku is home to a bewildering number and variety of shops. One of the most colourful and most loved by children of all ages is the balloon shop Machi no Fusenyasan Tokiwa-ya on Sunamachi Ginza Shopping Street. The proprietor, Mr. Watanabe, and his father spared a few minutes to talk balloons recently.



“I know of only five or six other shops similar to ours in the Kanto area,” says Mr. Watanabe, “It’s a difficult business to succeed in, as you need the creativity to continually come up with new ideas and the technique to make them. Many people open balloon shops, but most soon close. In the past we sold makeup and character goods, both here and at another shop we ran, but I felt it was stressful and decided to change direction. Now that I’m using my creativity at work, I feel a sense of freedom and I’m more relaxed.”



What are the top sellers now? “Well, it’s about events more than designs. Birthdays are number one, I think. We have a wide range of balloons for any kind of event.”



“We can customize balloons or mix and match depending on the child’s age, hobbies and so on.”



“Also, there’s an enormous variety of character balloons available: Japanese characters, characters from movies, animation, and others.



“Arrangements are very popular as well. As you may know, visitors at hospitals are prohibited from bringing real flowers now so many people bring artificial ones inside balloon arrangements instead. They’re bright, cheerful, don’t require any maintenance, and last for a long time.”



There are even balloons within balloons!



How times change. Another new area for business is baby showers. In Japan, baby showers generally take place towards the end of the pregnancy, when the mother-to-be’s friends gather to eat cake (in the shape of diapers, for example) and drink juice. Arrangements to congratulate the happy parents on their new arrival are also very popular.


“Whatever the event, we can make something for it,” says Mr. Watanabe. “Graduation parties, farewell parties, weddings, you name it. For example, I recently made an arrangement for a young boy who’d appeared in a musical production of the characters in the show. After receiving the commission, I discuss the design with the customer, and then get started. We receive orders from all over Tokyo and the Kanto area.”



Your balloons can also get a shot of helium to perk them up. Mr. Watanabe sells smaller balloon pumps as well.



So, if you’re in need of balloons or a novelty arrangement for any kind of event, Machi no Fusenyasan Tokiwa-ya is the place to go. As you walk down Sunamachi Ginza, you can’t possibly miss the shop!



With the Christmas and New Year season fast approaching, you’d better book early!




Story and Photos by Stephen Spencer