Tokyo gift shop showcases unique local goods from all 47 Japanese prefectures

Even if you’ve been to mega malls around the world, the scope and number of department complexes in Shibuya, Tokyo is staggering—you have the two Tokyu department stores, Seibu, Modi, Loft, and the newly built Hikarie.

It makes the search for the right gift overwhelming—but if you want something local, authentic and not sold at the ubiquitous chain stores, there’s a shop that carries unique goods from every single prefecture in Japan, called d47 design travel store.

 

5110435556622336

What’s unique is the shop is based on the company’s travel magazine, called D Design Travel, which aspires to cover all 47 prefectures by setting up a base of operations in each location, then publishing a guide showcasing stores, restaurants and tourist spots that “are sustainable, bringing out the local flavor.” Since the editors and contributors typically live in the locations, they offer a first-hand experience of what’s noteworthy in each region.

5092688483319808

The company then took that knowledge and opened shop in Shibuya Hikarie’s eight floor, highlighting the best wares, foods and trinkets from the region.

True to its philosophy, there’s nothing touristy or trendy—but surprisingly, lots of nostalgia.

4825980946350080

When I was a little kid over 30 years ago, I remember my grandfather in Akita prefecture having a crate of guarana soda drinks, which I’d drink with him at his kotatsu table, pocked with brown dimples from cigarette burns. After he passed away I never saw the drink again—until I saw it sitting atop a shelf in the d47 store: Co-up Guarana, in its telltale red bottle. Popular in Hokkaido 40 years ago, legend had it that Coca-cola wasn’t readily imported to the island, causing the domestic drink to flourish.

 

 

5357746484412416

The store is not only full of gastronomic delights—honeys, tea, bakery goods with packaging out of the ‘70s, canned applesauce—but also handmade craft goods including tea sets, baked chinas, and weaved baskets. Items also carry descriptions from editorial staff on the significance of their selection. They’re mostly travel-sized, making them ideal gifts, and limited pop-up sections periodically highlight different goods, including jewelry made from Japanese wa-paper.

6207259071741952

For a deeper local experience adjacent to the travel store, there’s usually a pop-up shop featuring goods from a specific region, the experience often more resembling a museum in its curation and presentation.

There’s even a food area featuring region-specific foods called d47 Shokudo, with ingredients from straight from the source. Typically served as a set lunch or dinner, the menu changes just about every month, with dishes ranging from the more well-known staples like miso katsu or nanban-style tarar, to the obscure like Burma soup, dubbed the “soul food of Machiko.”

6581179461402624

The Design Store and its related shops are an unexpected gem, buried in the eighth floor in what looks like a sterile event space when you step outside the elevator doors. But that’s par for the course—in a sprawl like Shibuya, sometimes you have to dig deeper.

D47 Design Travel Store

Address: Shibuya Hikarie 8th floor, 2-21-1 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-8510

Tel: 03-6427-2302

Hours: 11am - 8pm (M - Sun)

Credit cards accepted

9 shopping spots to hit while in Shibuya
Shibuya is an overwhelming spectacle from the moment you step out of the station--throngs of tourists, business people and high-schoolers amassing ...
Budget souvenirs that don't suck at Shibuya's Maruara
Plastic katanas—the Japanese canary in the coal mine for kitsch souvenir shops.For years I’d walk down Inokashira street, one of the arteries of Sh...
Cutting-edge Fake Tokyo is both friend and foe of Shibuya fashion
Shibuya is ever-transforming as megaplexes like Shibuya Cast crowd out young, experimental fashion boutiques, and unique street styles like B-boys ...
JAPAN LOCAL's guide to Shibuya, Tokyo
On the surface Shibuya is a neon-bathed urban hub, with swarms of high-schoolers and business people flocking to mega department stores, multi-stor...
11 things you can only do in Shibuya
Shibuya’s appeal for many ends a couple hundred feet out of the JR station--see the dog statue, the Moai and gawk at the billboards and giant LED a...
Book Lab Tokyo cafe provides a recharge, refuge from the mayhem at Shibuya scramble
There’s no shortage of shops or cafes in the heart of Shibuya, but one surprisingly difficult commodity to find is a reprieve—a quiet, comfortable ...
Raw Tokyo is a flea-market haven for vintage and recycled street fashion
While farmer’s markets have boomed in the Americas and Europe thanks to a swell in demand for locally sourced organic produce, flea markets haven’t...
Shibuya’s T4 Tokyo serves hardcore ping pong, mixed reality and fine dining
In the midst of the fury of Shibuya’s scramble with bright, stadium-sized LED screens vying for your attention, finding cutting-edge hangout spots ...
7 chic places to stay overnight in Shibuya
Snapping selfies amidst swarming pedestrians at the crossing, shop at imposingly large department complexes—among the typical Shibuya-zy things to ...
Vanquish: Men’s Shibuya-style fashion in a post-gyaru generation
Embroidered on the back of a flashy jacket is the lascivious tale of the Shibuya from a bygone era. A businessman full of cash and short on scruple...
For the best seafood when traveling, head to the local fish market
In Nichinan city of Miyazaki Prefecture--famous for its pole-caught katsuo (bonito)--there are any number of spots where you can find great seafood...
5 charming points of Nichinan City
We go to all kinds of locales for our work, and sometimes we’re surprised how much more there is to explore—often leaving us with a sense of “we sh...
Aomori’s beautiful WWI-era Starbucks revamped with local artisans
Starbucks has its own characteristic, if not inert, atmosphere and design, making more people feel welcome. But due to its Seattle, Washington root...
For all budgets: 12 restaurants to eat in Shibuya
Dining in Shibuya is a double-edged sword for visitors. On one hand, the scale and density of the city means there’s no shortage of restaurants, wh...
Instragrammer captures a forgotten, real Tokyo
Nowadays we see Tokyo through the social-media lens of what's "likeable," whimsical or quirky, whether it's the controlled chaos of the Robot Resta...
Togatsuke: A sugary taste of Okinawa's old kingdom
It’s difficult for me to choose souvenirs. After all the deliberation about what to get for my family and friends back home, I usually end up defau...
140-year old Japanese factory still makes canvas shoes by hand
Years after Chuck Taylor went door-to-door selling his All-Star shoes, Converse is one of the most well-recognized iconic names for footwear. Yet t...
Pansy Jeans, the artificial denim jeans that don't fade
Denim jeans are an integral part of contemporary style--it's simple to coordinate, durable, and suitable for almost any occasion (especially after ...
The dingy restaurant that serves some of the best yakiniku BBQ in Shibuya
Pictures speak a thousand words. And if you’re prone like myself to getting visually seduced, all the mouth-watering macro shots of marbled beef ou...