In addition to Korakuen Garden and the magnificent Crow Castle, Okayama’s town area of Izushi is also steeped in history. Its retro buildings, a mixture of Japanese and Western styles built during the Taisho period (1912-1926) and early Showa period (1926-1989) have been conserved with great care.
This is the landmark building of Izushi, inside of which can be found a number of fashionable restaurants.
Cafés, galleries, and a myriad of shops are centered around Izushi’s main street, Korakuen-dori.
Most of the buildings are old and have been renovated to be used as shops, so even by taking a quick look inside, you can feel the history and culture of the town.
“cocokara”, a shop for handmade crafts located near Tsurumi Bridge, displays and offers for sale pieces by various artists. You can find stationary goods and accessories that have been created according to the distinctive characteristics of each item’s raw material.
Actually, Ms. Aya Shikamura, the shop owner, is an artist, too. Her delicate illustrations created using colored pencils and pastel colors can be found nonchalantly decorating the shop – It is worth seeing even in the sense of a gallery!
Ms. Shikamura showed us a piece by an artist who is gaining attention right now.
Mr. Masato Yamashita, a local Okayama crafts artist, made these wooden stationery objects. Carefully creating each ballpoint pen, fountain pen, extender, etc., he makes the most of the timber’s grain and texture in order to show off its unique features.
Made by Artesania yui, a macrame artist, these are some unique accessories filled with an exotic air. Apparently the cord accessories, which are made by tying cords decoratively using the macrame technique, are popular.
Located down a lane by the main road, next we visited “another face”, a shop offering original leather products. The massive stone building has a strong retro feel and is a bit hard to enter! We muster up the courage to open the door, and are slightly shocked! The traditional Japanese house style interior is so unexpected.
As we call out, Mr. Kobayashi, the shop owner, welcomes us with two large, friendly Akita dogs.
Within the store you can find a variety of colorful leather products from change purses to wallets and bags. Mr. Kobayashi, who learned his skills in the UK as a leather artisan, makes each one individually.
From staple products to more eccentric ones, apparently all the products can be either semi or fully custom made.
Making you want to spend the whole day walking around, in addition, there are ceramic shops that display Bizenyaki, a style you grow more fond of the more you use it, as well as antique shops, galleries, shops offering various fashionable goods, and many others.
If you get tired of walking, it’s also nice to spend time at a café admiring the green of Korakuen garden located on the other side of Asahi River.
As we can’t introduce all the lovely shops in a single article, please go and check the rest with your own eyes!
You will surely find some shops you like!
Address:1-6-7 Izushi-cho, Kita ward, Okayama city
Closed: No regular holidays
Homepage: https://www.facebook.com/shop.cocokara (Japanese)
Address: 1-9-17 Izushi-cho, Kita ward, Okayama city
Closed: On the 5th & 31st of the month
Homepage: http://www.anotherface.jp (Japanese)
The Setouchi Finder Editors
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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