Upon a Fold

A little peek into the world of paper artistry

paper & tokyo - ori HIGASHIYA... July 13, 2010

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ori HIGASHIYA, now this place is something special. Special to me because I got to experience a truly authentic and traditional Japanese tea making ritual, right in the heart of Tokyo. But more tales about tea later, now it’s time to talk shop!

ori HIGASHIYA is a gift shop specialising in the traditional art of Japanese confectionery known as Wagashi. Expect to find an amazing selection of seasonal delights on display like little works of art, almost too good to eat. Well, almost!

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Everything is packaged beautifully here and like many other shops in Tokyo, product presentation is considered as important as the product itself. So I (graphic designer with a soft spot for packaging) found myself selecting items based entirely on package design, with no idea what was inside. A great technique if you like surprises – opening each one later on, was definitely a lot of fun.

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I wanted to visit this shop mostly to see the paper folded feature wall inside. You must all know by now, how crazy I am about folds and well, let me just say that this wall was quite spectacular. So many folds, so much papery goodness! The wall beside it was also remarkable, made from traditional Japanese wooden gift boxes that were stacked and out of alignment creating a truly amazing effect.

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Expect to find paper throughout this shop. From the paper folded feature wall to the rice paper ceilings and the various types of paper packaging too. It’s not a paper shop but it’s definitely a place paper people (people who love paper : ) should come and see. I mean take a look at those folds below. So beautiful!

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At the back of the shop is ori HIGASHIYA’s SABO or tearoom where you can enjoy the finest quality tea, sweets, sake, various cocktails made of Japanese fruit and herbs as well as a light lunch. The hardest part is deciding what to order because everything on the menu looks so darn good!

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A trip to Tokyo is worth it just to experience the tea-making service at ori HIGASHIYA’s SABO, seriously! It’s so beautiful to observe and is performed to perfection. So many steps, so much care and consideration shown. Now every time I pour myself a cup of tea, I think of that afternoon tea in Tokyo and smile, it was one of the best experiences I had when I was there.

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ori HIGASHIYA is the clever creation of Simplicity, a design company in Tokyo dedicated to creating places, where time-honored rituals can be enjoyed in a modern day setting. They are hugely successful in Tokyo and I’m not at all surprised because everything they produce is beautiful and of true artisan quality. Head over to the website and take a look at their other gorgeous brands including Simplicity Super Studio, a product range created by Simplicity and available to purchase in ori HIGASHIYA. It’s stunning and I’m swooning!

If you are around Ginza make sure to visit HIGASHIYA GINZA. It’s beautiful and has all the same delicious seasonal treats as ori HIGASHIYA. It’s easier to find as well. Just take the pristine white lift up to level 2 and enjoy the heavenly world of HIGASHIYA Wagashi!

A big thank you to Ayako for allowing me to take these photos of the gift shop and products at such short notice too and also for supplying images of the beautiful tearoom to use in this post.

1F 3-16-28 Nishi-Azabu
Minato-ku Tokyo 106-0031
Click for location map

2F 1-7-7 Ginza
Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0061
Click for location map


dana | yellowtrace blog — 13 July at 10:49AM

Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing! That folder paper wall is absolutely spectacular.

emily // the daily smudge — 13 July at 11:31AM

My mind explodes again at your Tokyo finds! is there anything they don’t present with absoute perfection in Japan??… that wall feature is stunning… and the sweets, well, they’re not supposed to be unwrapped surely? Thanks so much for showing the rest of us such wonder!

Grace — 14 July at 07:55AM

I love the folder paper wall too! Adding that to my apt project list

cecile/detour2mode — 15 July at 01:53AM

that’s lovely! your blog is too!!

Ceci — 16 July at 01:30AM

Those walls are so subtle and beautiful…

Justine — 16 July at 10:45AM

Thanks for all your lovely comments guys – so glad you love it as much as I do! xx

veronica — 16 July at 08:22PM

i want to go to tokyo!

Isidora — 19 July at 07:37PM

I mustn’t read such posts… :) It is a kind of a place I would like to live in.

CathyT — 20 July at 11:34AM

Love your photos, descriptions, enthusiasm, and your blog. I would love to visit Japan and am glad I can do it vicariously.

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