Here is their website: http://minityuan.ocnk.net or TYA Kitchen.
I got up early Saturday (so excited!) and took the subway and then the tram - that part was fairly straightforward. Then when I got out of the tram, I went to the police station as directed and the policeman showed me the way on the map, but I think he was not holding the map in alignment with the right direction. From what he showed me, I thought I should leave the police station and continue walking straight. And so I did walking along this nice path with the cherry blossoms and paper lanterns.
Eventually I asked a family if this was the right way, and they said I was to go in the other direction.
So I went back to the police station, and the policeman then escorted me, although I think he got lost as well. But eventually he found it. So happy! And such an amazing country where a policeman will escort you to a miniatures shop - I found that many people were very gracious about escorting you to the right place or at least getting you to a spot where they could then point you to the right place.
There was an Asako local news TV station interviewing Yukio Kawai and they asked to interview me as well (I think their question was: what is this American doing here?!) So we said that we had met at the Chicago International fair, and I said that miniaturists just loved his work. And I think that he is the only person doing this type of miniature work in stainless steel. I said he was quite famous in the modern miniature world.
And I showed them this post from another blog: The Best Miniature Shop in the World (which I also recommend looking at for additional pictures of his work).
His daughter, Asami Kawai, makes amazing miniature food, and their shop sells kits and other supplies for making food.
The Miniature Art!
Here are some ranges he is preparing for Chicago (you can also see them in a line on the floor in the bottom of the photo):
I love this range. I love the colors. I am very tempted by it. But I think it might be too big for my Dutch Canal House hotel kitchen (which is still being planned in my head - so there may be enough room). I am sure he will sell out in Chicago.
Yukio-san showed me how he stamps out the handles - those little cutouts in the metal below are the remains from the stamped-out handles:
And he let me take pictures of his kitchens - how amazing are these! I am so glad I have the pictures so I can really take in all the details.
I told him I loved the dishes in the sink and I asked him if he used to work in a kitchen. He said yes and gestured towards the dishes in the sink, so I think he did dish washing at that time.
Kitchens by Yukio Kawai:
I love the food frying and food preparation details. And there are even paper orders up on the refrigerator.
This is the last view of this restaurant kitchen, and then you can see the restaurant interior through the archway, but I didn't take a picture of that section.
Here is another kitchen by Yukio-san:
Here is a view of the shop - all those room boxes have fabulous little miniature scenes in them! (I think some are by different artists though). And there are some more ranges lined up for Chicago.
And here is one last unbelievably amazing kitchen by Kawai Yukio-san!
The whole family was so kind (his wife was also there working in the shop), and I sincerely hope I wasn't interrupting their TV show filming. And his daughter Asami (who makes amazing miniature food - those are some of her tools above) walked me back to the station, and it was much quicker and easier than my trip there!
Here is a picture of my purchases - I love this refrigerator with the glass doors and mirrored back, but I need to take a better photograph. And of course, I love the pots and bowls and the bread. I also love the new colorful spatulas - I wanted those as soon as I saw them on the shop website:
And if you plan to go to Tokyo, definitely plan a visit!
Ask for a map from your hotel or ask the policeman for an escort. (Maybe ask your hotel to mark the police station hut on the map.) If you have the map, this will help start you off: I took the KEIHIN - TOHOKU line.
and got off at OUJI station 王子駅. Then take the street car - you can see it from the subway platform, so it is very easy to find.
When you get off the Toei Streetcar (Toden) Arakawa Line
at Arakawa Yuenchimae, cross over to the other side (opposite from the police hut) and then follow your map.
Have a great weekend!