This August the Awa Odori came back in Shimokitazawa after a break of 4 years. It felt amazing to have the energy back in the streets with locals and visitors alike soaking in the atmosphere. It was hot, sweaty, loud and lively with the local area troupes gathering together to try to outdo each other.
My personal favourites were the Sancha Ren (troupe) from Sangenjyaya just up the road from us and Takarabune, the crowd-pleasing, high-octane professional troupe.
As you would expect from Japan, the organisation of the event was impeccable. No trouble, no pushing or shoving just people having fun. It was lovely to see the local businesses benefiting from the event too by adding kaki-gori (shaved ice) stands, beer coolers, festival toys and snacks to their usual wares.
The Awa Odori spans the whole weekend from Friday night until Sunday night. It was especially lovely to be able to hear the drums from my house and Studio Biku. For me, this festival marks the end of summer (even though it's still 33-35°C most days) and there's a little one week break before we welcome in the Autumn with the next festival Kitazawa Hachimangu Festival next weekend.
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A 12-minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station and an 8-minute walk from Ikenoue Station, Kitazawa Hachiman Shrine's annual festival "Kitazawa Hachiman Autumn Festival" will be held from September 2nd (Sat) to 3rd (Sun) 2023.
To celebrate the coming of the Autumn season, More than twenty portable shrines (mikoshi) will be carried through the streets of Shimokitazawa over the course of the weekend.
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Studio Biku is evolving every month.
I'm now in the 5th month in the studio and things are slowly but surely getting settled and organised. I've been tweaking the flow of the space, trying my best to keep things minimal (apart from the shop which is definitely a tiny Aladdin's cave of wonder!) and sorting out lots of things I no longer need or want.
So what changes have been going on this summer?
Looking from the kitchen area through the shop and into the studio, gives you a good sense of the size of the space.. I can't wait for Autumn so I can fling open the balcony doors for a splash of greenery if the harsh sun doesn't kill my plant collection this summer!
There's more to see of the space in the next installment (the studio grounds, the genkan (it's looking cute!), the front door and balcony). If you want to see a quick walk through, check out the YouTube video below.
I'd love to know what you think of the studio so far. And of course, you're welcome to pop in any time.
MORE INFO ABOUT THE STUDIO...
Welcome to Studio Biku, a tiny shop within the Bikudesigns atelier space in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo. Representing 14 designers, creators and artists in a small Showa-era tatami gallery, our mission is to showcase Japan-based international creatives to locals and visitors alike.
We hope you can stop by for a browse and a chat some time.
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I'm Victoria, the founder, designer and creator at Bikudesigns, a vintage kimono accessories brand in Tokyo, Japan.