It may be a less-worthy pursuit but to tell the truth I love to shop (as opposed to buy) and Tokyo is my shopper's paradise. With gazillions of perfect little shops in every direction at every stop on every subway and train line, I think the most perfect of the perfect shops has to be Blue & White in Azabu Juban. From the traditional blue and white Japanese porcelain embedded in the concrete of the step entering the shop to the handmade strip of blue and white fabric tape that closes the shopping bag, every detail is precise and considered without feeling contrived. I could have happily spent an hour or two exploring the shelves and baskets loaded with treasures that filled the narrow space instead of the quick 15 minutes I had.
Check out the cool wooden bench in the center of the shop - the proprietor (a woman of obvious taste and well-past her youth) found it on the curb for the garbage collectors one morning on her way to work. She picked it up and carried it to the shop - quite a feat as she is tiny and the bench very solid and heavy. Just exactly the kind of story (and fixture) you expect to find in a shop like this. A little bit magical...
A salon - rather than a store - filled with unique, beautiful, and inspiring items. If I was a shopkeeper I would want to keep shop like this.
When considering what to put in my bags for our last trip to Tokyo I decided against taking my 'good' camera, knowing that I would not want to lug the weight of it around the city. I knew there would be more than a few times I would wish I had it with me and this was one of them. My trusty iPhone did the best it could - I have to take the blame for the quality of these pics... I was more excited about the shop than careful about the process.