In this edition, we welcome Mr. Daichi Saito of Kobikicho Yoshiya. After graduating from a local elementary school and junior high school in Ginza, Saito-san became intrigued by Japanese culture and entered the world of performing arts, seeking to spread it to a wide audience; and therefore, he went to Horikoshi High School. He has currently taken over the family business, the wagashi (Japanese confectionery) store, Kobikicho Yoshiya and constantly communicates his appreciation of Japanese culture and matcha green tea, building on his long experience in Japanese tea ceremony and nichibu dance, both of which he has taken lessons since he was a little boy. In 2017, Kobikiya Yoshiya’s “dorayaki” (a classic snack with adzuki bean paste sandwiched between two fluffy sweet pancakes) and kaishi paper were selected as official Tokyo souvenirs and introduced at an exhibition in Paris.
Our first stop was Magazine House Co., Ltd., which Saito-san introduced as a special place where often played as a child .
Located in Ginza, the heart of fashion communications, Magazine House has a unique entrance with Popeye and Olive drawn in the glass door. Living across the street from the building, Saito-san would often go over to play from his early childhood.
Although it is currently an ordinary office building, until 10-20 years ago, the building had a café and theater room open to the public. According to Saito-san, it was a lively place always full of people and Saito-san felt at home there. He said that Magazine House was such a large part of his childhood that he literally grew up with the company.
The door depicting Popeye has not changed since its opening and many young people now come to take a picture of it.
Magazine House publishes many popular magazines, including an an, Popeye and Croissant. The latest edition of each magazine, popular topics and featured books can be accessed from the corporate website.
Our next stop was Hoju Inari Shrine, which stands next to Magazine House.
It is a small shrine on Kobikicho Dori
This shrine was also a favorite playdate spot for Saito-san. He would come here play hide-and-go-seek and tag with his friends. Kobikicho Dori used to become a pedestrians’ heaven on weekend and children could run around freely in this area. The road was wider then, so the area was the perfect place for children to play.
Hoju Inari Shrine’s history dates far back to the early Edo period. In 1615, it was first built to enshrine the god for family safety and fire protection on the premises of Itakura Naizen-no-sho Shigemasa’s mansion in Edo. After the Meiji Restoration, Hoju Inari Shrine was donated to the local people of Kobikicho and stands there to date.
In spring, the beautiful weeping cherry tree blossoms gorgeously against the vermillion red of the Shinto gateway. Saito-san looks forward to seeing the cherry blossoms here every year. I had the opportunity of learning about a very nice shrine in the backstreet of Ginza.
Our final destination was Matsuya Ginza.。
Saito-san came to Matsuya Ginza almost every day. He was especially fond of the toy area on the sixth floor and rooftop.
Saito-san’s favorite pastime was playing at the rooftop amusement park. He can still recall where the train used to run as well as where the fishing pod was, although the rooftop area has changed.
Currently, the rooftop has been turned into an open terrace where shoppers can take a rest. It also becomes a “Beauty Beer Garden,” promoting health and beauty during a certain period of the year.
The toy corner displays various toys, including educational toys, that fascinate children.
We were introduced to toys that offer a learning experience and make the perfect gift.
The Swedish wooden toys from BRIO that foster children’s creativity are classic toys made of high quality beech. Fitting comfortably in children’s hands, they have been made with care and can be enjoyed across generations.
Other popular toys include those that teach children coding and programming skills, which have become compulsory in elementary schools. This programming car won the Grand Prize in the Educational Toy Division of the Japan Toy Awards 2018.
Matsuya carries a wide range of toys from long-sellers to the most recent educational toys that nurture logical minds. The store staff are ready to help you if you should have trouble selecting the right toy.Matsuya Ginza
2017ミスアース群馬代表・全国大会4位ミス・ファイアー受賞。同年2017Miss Tourism queen of the year世界大会へ日本代表として出場し、各国の出場者達の投票によって決まる、ミスフレンドシップ賞を受賞。現在はモデル・MCとして活躍中。