I meant to do one big post, but have not yet been organised enough. One issue is my pictures- I overloaded the cloud, so they were taken off my devices and put in our main computer. And I don’t have regular access, because I don’t have a computer at the moment, so I need to boot my husband off his. Which is not convenient. So a bit of a lack of pics.
Anyway, one thing to know about japan is that addresses are not sequential. I have never understood the numbering, but it is not the same as western numbering. So 2 might be next to 25. And street names are often not posted. So most business in Japan have little maps on the back of their business cards and on their websites. You learn to navigate by landmarks and other shops. And Google maps is less reliable than usual (I spend a lot of time cursing them).
So. Needles in Kyoto! From a 360 +year old company. Misuyabari needles. I found out about them from this blog post. http://justhungry.com/postcards-Kyoto-misuyabari-and-hakotou-lovers-sewing-and-handcrafts
The writer has quite good directions, and has managed to include a Google map link, so can recommend that. My directions are going to be different, and a little bit fluffy. Teramachi-dori is a covered shopping arcade, which is not uncommon in Japan. It runs between Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori (well almost to Sanjo- dori), with the busiest and most interesting stuff at the Shijo-dori end. Shijo-dori is one of the main roads in Kyoto, and if you go to Gion you will probably go to the Shijo-dork station, or ride a bus along there. There are a few major department stores along there as well. So, most people will start at that end. The needle shop is all the way at the other end. So you walk the length of teramachi, at one point it does a little bit of a dog leg, but keep going in the same direction. Eventually it will hit a crossways street , and form a t junction. Just before that point there is a little branch off, like a y. But both branches end on the same t junction street. At this point you turn right onto the t junction street. It’s going to be on your left side. I don’t know how far it is, but on the right side there was a hardware/knife/scissors shop. It’s further than that. The sign for the needle shop is a little hidden (because the shop is hidden), but there is a sign for a palm reading place and it is there, through a tiny passage. You pop out into the courtyard garden and in the corner there is a tiny shop. (The linked blog post above has a good description and pretty pictures- we were there in winter, not so pretty)
Their closing day is Thursday. I know this, because we tried to go on a Thursday.
I bought some needles
A tiny travel sewing kit
The top comes off
Inside a tiny pincushion, some snips, needles and three thread bobbins
I also got some pins and a pincushion. It was not very expensive- when I think about how much I pay for needles and equipment here they were cheaper.
There are a number of craft shops along teramachi- keep your eyes open. One of the two Nomura tailor (fabric and notions) shops is on teramachi. There is also a bead shop and a number of stationery shops.
The misuyabari logo.
When we came back after the Thursday attempt we came from a different direction. We took the subway to Karasumaoike station and walked through the back streets towards teramachi. We did this because in theory we had the shop pinned in Google maps. We did, but the directions were not awesome. Anyway, we found a number of craft and handmade shops. Many shops may be on higher levels of the building, not just on the street level. Look at the information(pictures in front of the building).
One of the places we found was one that was on my list already- Avril.
An awesome knitting shop. In the same building (it’s on the third floor) is a button shop and a Tintin shop. The streets around were filled with great little shops. Walking from that street towards the river will take you to teramachi.
Leave a comment if you have questions, or have found other shops.