The Wa Space - Beautiful, Traditional Japanese Craft & Design
Odigo focuses on the less travelled path and the hidden gems that will make your journey in Japan memorable. Located in an old tearoom down one of the many backstreets in Akasaka, a trip to Wa Space takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, and welcomes you into a unique and tranquil store. The Wa Space is a design boutique that showcases crafts and handmade products from regions all across Japan.
Wa Space acts as an event venue, gallery, and select shop. Each month, Wa Space hosts events with artists, offering visitors a unique opportunity to speak with and discuss the artist’s works before purchasing. The collaborating artists also display for extended periods at Wa Space, giving customers a deeper look into an artist’s style. Wa Space features a rotating, curated collection which provides an always enticing selection of Japan’s best contemporary design.
The latest offering was an event with esteemed clay artist and potter Kei Kawachi, and yuzen (Silk-weaving) artist Itsuko Kasahara. At this event, visitors were not only able to see an extensive array of products on display, but also to appreciate what inspires Kawachi’s pottery and learn about the meticulous process of Kasahara’s yuzen designs. At Wa-Space events visitors can meet the amiable owner Dominic Carter. Whether offering a toast with his champagne flute, or already talking about the next event in preparation, it’s hard to not get caught up in Carter’s appreciation for Japanese culture.
The vision for Wa Space is infused with the age-old concept of wabi-sabi. The concept’s foundations lie in the appreciation of objects in their natural, uncontrived state – there is no “bling” to be found here. Wabi-sabi manifests itself in many of the decorative pieces on display. For example, Wa Space features products by Shoichi Sakurai, a self-styled “recycle artist”, who sources old tools, utilitarian objects, and recycled materials to produce finished products that tell the unique stories.
Along with decorative pieces, Wa Space sells functional items that are steeped in Japanese history. The Kawara coasters are made from ceramic kawara roof tiles from Okinawa, and date back to the 6th century with the arrival of Buddhism in Japan. Likewise, the Suzumo Mohei Shoten designed chochin lanterns have been handcrafted using traditional techniques for more than 100 years. Despite this history of tradition, their newest lantern line has opted to embrace modernity, featuring LED lights and motion sensors.
The Wa Space is a hidden gem in Akasaka. For those looking for a timeless art piece or a more functional memento from their time in Japan, it is an ideal place to start.
Check out other spots that The Wa Group recommends in their profile below!