The Nihombashi area, located in central Tokyo, had its commercial beginnings in the Edo period. Known to be a buzzing cultural and business hub, it still retains many age-old stores and cultural spots that have stood the test of time. Even though today you see many skyscrapers and modern structures, if you walk through the backstreets, you are bound to stumble upon the ancient charm of Nihombashi.
Traces of historical buildings can be seen everywhere in the alleys, and now, it is an area with a natural mix of modern and traditional elements.
In this feature, we talk about Edoya (江戸屋), which was established in 1718 and has a history of being in business for over 300 years.
Edoya is a brush specialty store and you can see the changes to human life in Japan through the various brushes created and sold here. It is not an exaggeration to say that it feels like a mini history museum.
The store still retains the original design of the old wooden houses giving it a simplicity and warmth. You are instantly transported to the Tokyo that was called Edo as you imagine how craftsmen and artisans worked in these spaces hundreds of years ago.
The pieces of furniture also have a vintage feel. This one is like an ancient medicine cabinet but is now used to store small items like toothbrushes.
When you think of a brush store, most people would associate it with art supplies. However, here, you can find a range of brushes meant for household use as well. There are so many varieties available at reasonable prices.
According to the owner, one of the most popular brushes is the one used for clothes. It is made of pig hair, and does not cause any damage to the fabric. You can use it to clean lint, dust or pet hair, and it also prevents static electricity.
There are also many special-purpose brushes, such as those used by Ukiyo-e craftsmen, calligraphers, painters and so on.
This is a brush featuring a seal, a true specimen of craftsmanship.
This brush is also specially designed for professionals.
The one below is specially used to remove stains on clothes. After using it repeatedly, the flat edge becomes uneven but you can still use it by trimming the hair with a pair of scissors, such that it almost becomes new.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this place is like a small historical museum, because there are quite a lot of historical documents and antiques. For example, the book below is an old ledger. Isn't it fascinating?
The brushes here have been handmade for hundreds of years, and the craftsmanship that has been passed down for generations is worth taking home with you as a souvenir.
Edoya Address: 2-16 Nihombashi Odenmacho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Business hours: 9:00-17:00 (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays) Official website: http://www.nihonbashi-edoya.co.jp/
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