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GINZA SIX EDITORS

Fashion, jewelry & watch, lifestyle, beauty, foods…
Unique editors who are familiar with each genre GINZA SIX aimlessly
We spell way of enjoying that we found on foot.

GINZA SIX—How About Changing into a Kimono?!

Naoko Furuya

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.77

Imagine you’ve taken the time, and maybe spent some money, to put on a kimono … only to immediately take it off? What a waste that would be! Why not head to GINZA SIX instead? You can access it by underground passageway directly from Ginza Station as well as Higashi-ginza Station, closest to the Kabuki-za theater. There’s no need to worry even if it’s raining. With your pulse rising as you step into the beautiful interior, you feel this is what Tokyo should stand for, Tokyo, among the world’s leading cities! The people here, be they Japanese or from overseas, all have a high level of esthetic sense. As I stroll around this new Ginza landmark, I can flaunt one of my favorite kimono to everyone. kimono serves as magical veils that conceal innate imperfections. And the smiles of the staff at the high-end brand and jewelry stores, which I normally can’t screw up the nerve to enter, are heartwarming! It’s the truth (smiles).
Right, let’s go. I’m wearing only one color, a combination of an Ishige Yuki Tsumugi kimono with a sarasa-patterned obi (kimono sash). I begin my tour at Okano on the fourth floor, which was opened by a producer of Hakata-ori (silk fabric made in Hakata), whom I happen to work with professionally, to serve as its flagship store offering kimono suited to the landscape of Tokyo.

I want to buy a half-width obi, suitable for grownups. Half-width obi are associated with yukata (cotton summer kimono). But nowadays, even sophisticated kimono wearers, who wear kimono on a daily basis, are choosing half-width obi for a casual, yet mature look. A prime example of this is Kyoto cuisine expert Chizuru Ohara, who likes to wear half-width obi. She writes a regular column for Kimono Salon, the magazine I’m in charge of. You can also use obijime (decorative string) and obidome (decorative clip); viewed from the front, it looks just like a Nagoya-obi (one type of obi). If you master them, you’re sure to enjoy wearing kimono in a more cozy way. And since the Hakata-ori is the easiest kind to tighten, you’ll be able to try fastening the obi in various ways.

Store-clerk Sashikubi-san pulls out various half-width obi to show me. Immediately, I take a shiny, vivid royal blue one. I fasten it with a sanbuhimo obijime and obidome. I notice it really suits the tsumugi kimono I’m wearing that day.

Wow! This is a Hakata-ori kimono, isn’t it?! It’s a handsome kimono perfectly suited to city life. Hakata-ori has a history going back 777 years, and its obi are very famous, particularly those with a pattern called dokko. Apparently, they only produce around 800 kijaku (standard length of material used for a kimono) of fabric each year. Various Hakata-ori obi with fresh new designs you would expect from a store directly operated by the fabric producer are available here.

Incidentally, Okano has adopted the concept of bringing all-Japan-made to the world. In addition to kimono and obi, it supplies a wide range of modern fashion accessories. An original collection of scarves called “Den” (32,000 yen; all prices listed before tax), made with a white base fabric from Fukui, are shaped in Kyoto and dyed in Yokohama. They might look lovely even as linings or obi sashes!

And even if you’re not a kimono fan, some items you should definitely check out are the high-quality Hakata-ori silk scarves (27,000 yen). They’re woven by the same craftspeople as the kimono and obi. They’re soft and light to the touch. The Japanese geometric patterns, which include Wachigai Asanoha, featured in Hokusai’s Sketches, and Mutsude Bishamon tortoise shell, are beautiful. The scarves would make ideal gifts for friends overseas or for men as well.

Okano seeks to make products in new dimensions straddling the boundary between Japanese-style clothing and Western clothing. I was struck by the potential of Hakata-ori, one of Japan’s traditional techniques.

My next port of call is AbHerï, a jewelry store on the second floor, which I’ve been interested in visiting for some time. The exquisite products demonstrate the finest craftsmanship, and are carefully handcrafted at a studio on Tokyo’s east side. Some of the designs also provide a hint of Japanese tastes.

The brand’s icons are its chain rings (the top row in this photograph, from left to right: 270,000 yen (beryl), 250,000 yen (amethyst), 420,000 yen (garnet), 310,000 yen (topaz)). The size can be altered using the slide adjuster. You can wear them on any finger to suit your tastes for that day. In other words, you can wear them even if your fingers swell… They’re wonderful. One would make a great present for a man to give his girlfriend if he didn’t know her ring size. The designs are such that the colored stones stand out. The clear sparkle on your finger is spellbinding. What if I wear it with other rings?

These colored-stone rings, as well as the diamond rings (the bottom row in this photograph, from left to right: 575,000 yen, 485,000 yen, 224,000 yen), are fantastic. They combine an innocence evocative of delicate lace with modern designs.

The surface of these articles is designed to resemble dense silk threads. The name is “Silk” (left: 210,000 yen, right: 260,000 yen). I recommend them for people looking for individualistic jewelry.

Some people believe you shouldn’t wear jewelry with a kimono. That restriction really applies only for tea ceremonies or formal situations with established rules. A kimono is a fashion item. Just as you would with Western attire, you should feel free to enjoy experimenting with different styles. The important thing is balance. I love wearing pierced earrings with a single little diamond or pearl. I wear rings just as I do with Western clothing, but I choose ones that won’t snag the kimono or obi.
AbHerï offers an abundance of elegant pierced earrings that look like they would go well with kimono, each attractive in its own way. I feel giddy just looking at them. I forget the passage of time.

Because I’m in charge of a kimono magazine, I travel to Kyoto almost every month. Still, I’m always at a loss about what to take as presents. The articles sold in Kyoto are uninspiring. For Kyoto people to be drawn to something, it has to reflect remarkable taste, be trendy, and be attractively packaged.
What I do is head to the second belowground floor in GINZA SIX. On this food floor, it’s easy to find stores that can only be found here and goods sold only here. It’s a real treasure trove. Today I make my way to HONMIDO.

HONMIDO is a brand created just for GINZA SIX by Kasho Sanzen, which is famous for Haginotsuki, a confectionery and a popular souvenir from Sendai. The brand’s goal is to distribute unique Japanese confectionery blurring the boundary between Japanese-style and Western-style confectionery, beloved by people the world over. The brand is available only here. For starters, the leaf design on the packaging is really pretty.

On the left of this photograph are the popular HONMIDO Sandwiches (four sandwiches: 797 yen, eight sandwiches: 1,297 yen). They’re actually a confectionery, with a soft meringue sandwiched between langue de chat. The most popular variety is flavored with roasted soy powder and powdered green tea. Seasonal varieties are also available at only certain times of the year. Langue de chat with cream sandwiched in between is fairly common, but replacing the cream with meringue is a new idea. You needn’t worry about the temperature on your way back, so it makes for a great souvenir gift.

And what are these? They’re Mitarashi pancakes (352 yen for two, 1,000 yen for six). The idea of a sweet-salty pancake is intriguing. Sandwiched between the fluffy pancakes is a rice milk pudding. Inside is a blob of Mitarashi sauce (sweet soy sauce). The flavor is mild and pleasant. Incidentally, I’ve started using the appealing box containing the Mitarashi pancakes I bought as a container for my kanzashi hairpins.

Next is a package containing elegant-looking almond pies and cinnamon pies. Apparently, these crispy and fragrant pies are kneaded with a specially-selected butter. Each is made by hand. Both the almond and cinnamon versions are sweet and flavorsome. The price is 1,065 yen for a package of four, containing two almond pies and two cinnamon pies.

And there’s one place to recommend before ending this coverage. Although I didn’t go there this time, on the third belowground floor is the Kanze Noh Theater. I urge you to wear a kimono when you go to see a Noh performance. Once the play is over, why not take a stroll in your kimono to check out the stores you’re interested in? GINZA SIX is a perfect place to enjoy the Ginza experience.

Text: Naoko Furuya Photos: Natsuko Okada Edit: Yuka Okada

editors_furuya

Naoko Furuya

Editor-in-chief of the magazine Katei Gaho Tokusen Kimono Salon. Joined Sekai Bunka Publishing Inc. in 1988; subsequently placed in charge of men’s fashion in the editorial department of Men’sEx magazine. Later, she worked in the book editorial department, producing three books for renowned beauty consultant Ikko, all of which became bestsellers. Thereafter, she served as editor-in-chief for MISS Wedding and NEXTWEEKEND magazines. She is currently a multi-editor, handling both production and purchasing for Wabijin Hyakaten (kgwabijin.jp), the official Kimono Salon e-commerce site.

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2019.03.29 improves