A Shopping Street in the Komagome District
A shotengai, or shopping street, is where you can find various stores lined up in one place. It's a convenient location for locals to buy food and daily necessities.
Shimofuri Ginza Shotengai, located near Komagome Station on the JR Yamanote Line, is popular for its hospitality and close-knit community. Once you become a regular customer, the shopkeepers will remember your preferences. Some patrons even come to simply chat. Community is a vital thread that connects store owners with their clientele.
There's a butcher shop with 90 years of history, a tofu store that uses domestic soybeans, a grocery that sells affordable fruits and vegetables, and a household goods store. These retailers are the pillars of the local community.
However, certain measures must be taken to maintain these mom and pop businesses. If there isn't interest from a new generation of local customers, or if the local population decreases, it will be a blow to the shotengai.
Mr. Nakamura, a third-generation shoe-store owner, manages the official website (Japanese) for Shimofuri Ginza Shotengai.
According to Mr. Nakamura, he renewed the site so "overseas visitors and Japanese customers could both appreciate this shopping district." The two-month process involved him visiting each of the stores, taking photographs, and doing interviews. As a result, the website attracted people from across Japan to visit here.
The following article features Mr. Nakamura's store, alongside other unique shops he recommends visitors stop by.
Paris Shoes: Supporting Customers From the Soles U
In addition to general footwear, the store carries special shoes for nurses, cooks, and construction workers. In fact, they sell more than 2,000 types of shoes, including those aimed at infants and senior citizens. Paris Shoes was established 63 years ago by Mr. Nakamura's grandfather, who first started the custom-made shoe business. Over the years, they shifted their focus to general footwear.
Mr. Nakamura is a certified shoe fitter. He can confidently assist customers in selecting an item that best fits them.
With a smile, Mr. Nakamura revealed, "I'm a little envious of kids these days since they can choose from a wider variety of colors and designs than my childhood." The sneakers and rain boots for children on display were indeed very colorful.
Paris Shoes also carry designated indoor shoes (uwabaki) for neighboring schools.
Mr. Nakamura opened up about what he has in store for the future: "I hope to support customers throughout their lifetime from childhood. We'd like to assist with their shoes during all stages of life, including graduating from school, entering the workforce, getting married, and having children."
Jeans First: Find One-of-a-Kind Denim
The 67-year-old owner of Jeans First has been a fan of American clothing from his youth.
"I started this store about 50 years ago, and still wear the items we sell today," said the owner, who also models his own clothes.
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