If you love Japanese design and culture, I can highly recommend visiting the Japan House London, Kensington High Street, W8. It’s the cultural home of Japan in London where you will find a shop, exhibitions, restaurant and café. Japan House presents the best of Japanese art, design, food, innovation and technology. It’s a stunning space that feels like a contemporary art gallery with carefully curated products, many of which are exclusive to the London store. Even if you aren’t looking to make a purchase, you probably will! If you’re looking for the best London shops for minimal design or Japanese products and gift ideas, you must visit Japan House.
Explore Japan House London
The ground floor is home to a spacious and beautifully curated shop that looks like a gallery. Many products are exclusive to Japan House London, so it’s an excellent opportunity to purchase a desirable gift for yourself or a friend’s birthday. Select items are available for remote purchasing, but I would advise visiting the shop in person to see the entire collection.
Products include Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese repair technique for cracked ceramics where lacquer and gold powder repair the cracks. A selection of Kintsugi pitchers, cups, plates and vases by Zen is available. You’ll also love the stylish vases and other decorative objects.
Tea ceremonies are synonymous with Japanese tradition, while modern-day coffee culture is part of the contemporary lifestyle. You’ll find unglazed kyusu teapots, cast iron teapots and a flannel drip coffee brewer in the shop. Treat yourself to an urushi cup that can hold hot or cold liquids.
Tableware includes bowls, plates, soy sauce pourers, chopsticks and cutlery, along with napkins.
Sake Ware is an excellent gift idea, the Gold Sake Set by Murakami Yaku and Pure Tin Sake Set by Nousaku are beautiful. Alternatively, you may prefer the round, Cut Glass Katakuchi, a spouted vessel for serving sake. Bottles of sake are also available to buy in the store.
Cute gift ideas include beauty products, jewellery, slippers, t-shirts, bags, ornaments, incense sticks, brush pens, calligraphy sets, stationery notebooks and Japanese books on textiles, interiors or travel.
Towards the back of the ground floor is the Japan National Tourism Organization. They can help you plan your trip to Japan and provide travel brochures or maps.
As you enter Japan House, you will see The Stand serving takeaway drinks and snacks. It’s an excellent opportunity to sample an authentic Japanese Matcha, Hojicha or Sencha Tea, Latte or Kissaten Coffee. Head upstairs where you can dine at the Akira restaurant, named after chef Shimizu Akira. The restaurant serves lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, and the menu features sushi, chargrilled skewers and bento boxes.
Japan House regularly hosts exhibitions that are likely to be on the lower ground floor. Look out for exhibition merchandise for sale in the shop.
Japan House London Kensington High Street W8 Information
To find out more, visit the Japan House Website. The address is 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA. High Street Kensington is the nearest underground station on the circle and district lines. Notting Hill Gate is a thirteen-minute walk, while Gloucester Road is an 18-minute walk. The current opening time is Monday to Saturday, 10 am until 8 pm and Sunday from 12 noon until 6 pm. Japan House is an initiative run by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs with branches in London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo. While you are in the area, I’d recommend that you visit one of the parks (Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park or Holland Park), the Design Museum and Wholefoods Market. Please read my Seven Reasons to Visit Kensington High Street article for more information. I hope you enjoy your visit to Japan House and Kensington.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.