Craft Supplies: Beads from Tokyo

Before I left for my trip to Japan, I did a little online digging for the best places to find crafting supplies. One thing I needed to get for a crochet project was Miyuki beads, which are superior quality machine-made glass seed beads. I learned that there is an entire beads district (“Bead Town”) in the heart of Tokyo, which happened to be within a few subway stops of my hotel.

Located in Asakusa-bashi (浅草橋) are numerous distributors selling huge assortment of beads, gems, crystals, precious stones, jewelry findings, tools, and even leather goods and related tools. I learned this valuable intel from Blackcabbit’s World, a blog written by an illustrator living in Japan. The information in her blog is about six years old, but I still found it useful.

What a wonderland of beading (and other crafts) was waiting for me in Beads Town! I had some store objectives, but mainly I just wandered the streets of the district, with much help from my GPS to keep me oriented.

I ended up buying all the Miyuki beads I needed, plus a case and a few more items, at Beads Factory and Toho Shoji. As it happens, Toho Shoji is a large chain based in Tokyo, with a branch in New York City and other locations worldwide.

I plan to use the beads for a crochet mandala pattern that is quite detailed, and may take awhile – and this pattern takes several hundred seed beads of different colors. I will start the project this Spring, and share its progress with you.

More tidbits about Tokyo, and a new amigurumi project, soon!

PHOTO: traditional Japanese dolls at a gift shop in Asakusa-bashi.

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