“Another Japan”, which opened near Tokyo Station in August this year, is a specialty store run by students from different areas of Japan. They handle everything, from business negotiations with artists and craftsmen to the store layout, PR, and customer assistance. The store is much-talked-about in the media, so we went shopping! Discover products from all over Japan, carefully selected by Japanese students!
A unique and novel shop concept
“Another Japan” divides the whole country into 6 blocks, while the featured areas change every 2 months. The order is “Kyushu” → “Hokkaido & Tohoku” → “Chubu” → “Kanto” → “Kinki” → “Chugoku & Shikoku”. In one year, you will be able to find famous products from all over the country. Many items are only sold at this store in Tokyo. Selling items from Kyushu and Okinawa, the area featured until October 2nd is “Another Kyushu”.
Run by students!
For two months, active students who are still enrolled in school, are divided into teams according to their birthplace. They run the store’s special exhibition. But their job isn’t just running the store and customer sales. They travel around Japan, select the products which they want to sell in Tokyo, hold business talks with artists and craftsmen, are in charge of purchasing, decide on the layout of the store, and even do all the PR! That’s why the students’ product explanations are very detailed and super enthusiastic! It’s really nice to hear them talk about their experiences and reasoning for choosing each item.
“I believe that by rediscovering the delights of our hometown and letting more people know about them, we can contribute to the communities where we were born. In the future, I would like to give back to my hometown.”
That’s what Yasumi-san from Fukuoka Prefecture told me. Through “Another Japan,” students can spread the word about their communities while learning about management at the same time. This experience could make them eventually become important players in regional revitalization.
Rediscover Kyushu and Okinawa!
The shop theme that the members of “Another Kyushu” thought up was “banquet (utage)”. Inside the store, about 350 wonderful products are displayed in 6 different areas. They chose a full line-up of items for party preparations, food and ingredients, tableware for the dining table, clothing, and other party goods.
When shopping in a specialty store in Japan, food is always a good choice because it’s the easiest thing to buy casually. There were a lot of items I saw for the very first time and I had a lot of fun browsing around! I bought a pancake mix from Kyushu, orange juice syrup, and a kit that allows you to make your own miso!
At the liquor corner, I especially liked the “cup sake” from Saga prefecture called “NOMANNE”. It’s Japanese sake is served in a bright Arita porcelain vessel that can be used as a cup or penholder after drinking. This would make a great Japanese-style gift, don’t you think?
The product explanations given by the students who actually chose the products and the detailed information about the artists were full of passion. Their explanations made the products even more attractive!
Bamboo crafts are a specialty of Oita prefecture. “My mother’s family used to have a lot of things made of bamboo in their house, but I didn’t know it was a traditional craft of Oita until I got involved in this project,” said Yasumi-san. The students only chose items that they truly love and want to proudly show to everyone. This is what makes this project so special.
Don’t forget to check out the limited-time menu at the cafe KITASANDO Kissa!
“KITASANDO Kissa” is a cafe located in one part of the store with the theme “brewing”. They offer a wonderful drink menu, and in addition to lunch sets and light meals, there are sweets and drinks created by high school students in Tokyo using ingredients from the current exhibition area. There are many limited-time menus, so be sure to check them out!
Visiting the store made me very curious and excited about all the next special exhibitions. Starting October 5th, the next feature is Hokkaido and Tohoku. With the store reborn every two months, I am sure I’ll check out each of the exhibitions! So why don’t you also go out to discover “Another Japan”?
*All products shown in this article will be on sale until October 2nd!
Zenigame Place, 1F TOKYO TORCH Zenibocho Building, 2-6-3 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/HhaonTv2BJe3awpXA
Nearest stations: Tokyo Station, Otemachi Station, Mitsukoshimae Station