It’s not often that I’ll single out a specific store but this one has so much character and a nice surprise in the back that I couldn’t help but give it its own spotlight. I figured I’d spend a little time sharing about the Kawagoe Warehouse and Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room.
Kawagoe Warehouse (川越椿の蔵)
The store itself is a two-story marvel of theming and merchandise.
First, you can enter the second floor at the front or rear of the shop. Up here, you can find traditional designs and prints for phone cases, temple stamp books (goshuincho), scented oils, salts, crystals, and all manner of jewelry. You also get a nice set list of ambient traditional tunes to carry you through the mystic feel of the second floor. At times in the back corner, you can see a small stage painted on the wall where they will project traditional Japanese dances, such as the Shishimai. The area has a wonderful ambience, with a fake tree jutting through the floor and the gentle trickle of an honest-to-goodness waterfall on the far wall.
The first floor is a trip back to the roaring twenties. You’ll hear ragtime jazz music blaring through the old-timey market shop, replete with charms, clothing, foods, drinks, and all manner of knick-knacks. If there’s something interesting you’d like to bring back as a gift, chances are this shop will have it. From patterned cloth to purses, dried teal leaves to kitchenware, this floor will have you covered.
Tsubakiya Foot Spa Tea Room (足湯喫茶椿や)
The best part of the Kawagoe Warehouse is so easily missed: In the back there is a small booth with a menu in front. It is next to the restrooms and stairs, if you are having a difficult time locating it. Here, you can ask to be seated out back in their foot bath, which has seating for about six to eight people. You order before you go out from the menu. I’d recommend their two specialties: the egg tart and the ginger soda. They also have local Coedo beers and a few other sweet treats to have as well. Once you place your order, you head out back to the shoe locker area where you can remove your shoes and socks to ascend a short stairway to a platform where you will be seated. The platform has some cushions for you to sit on while you soak your feet in the hot (during winter) or cold (during summer) waters. You are served your drinks and snacks while you rest and enjoy the small outdoor patio.
Make sure you bring a towel to dry off! They do sell towels for you to keep but it’s better if you have a bigger or nicer towel with you in a backpack or purse so you’re not walking in soggy shoes.
This place is one of my favorite in all of Kawagoe. From the details all over the shop to the merchandise to the foot spa tea room in back, it’s filled with this magic and inspires wonder. If you’re in Kawagoe, this place is a must-see!