Are you on looking for the perfect souvenir from Japan but want something different, something you won’t find in your average tourist souvenir shop? You should really try out SOU SOU.
The store is famous for its colorful and happy fabrics, as well as their fashion and accessories. Nearby the “Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum” (read the article from my visit at the museum here!), the story is loved by Japanese, tourists, men and women of all ages. And believe me its’ the perfect spot to get some gifts.
Right at the entrance of SOU SOU’s Aoyama store, their most popular item is on display – the “jika tabi”. You might have heard about “tabi socks”, socks where the big toe is separated from the other toes. “Jika tabi” are “tabi shoes” – flexible shoes traditionally worn by Japanese carpenters and construction workers. But SOU SOU sneaker version is much fancier and more colorful because of the beautiful fabrics employed.
In Japan, shoe sizes are based on the length of your foot in cm. If you are not sure about your size, let the staff help you! Also, because the shoes are split like beach sandals, you’ll need to wear special socks to try on any of the “jika tabi”. Luckily, the socks corner is right next to the shoe corner.
You can choose from a lot of different designs. The tabi socks are also quite cheap, so they are perfect as a small gift. It can be really hard to choose from all the colors and patterns, so if you can’t decide, just choose the monthly changing design socks! ^^
What I personally like best about “SOU・SOU” is their playful textile design all in traditional Japanese colors. Katsuji Wakisaka a textile designer who has previously worked for Marimekko is in charge of SOU SOU’s textiles. Even mixing different patterns in one outfit, looks just great! The patterns are really beautiful, but if colorful is not your style, you can always buy a “tenugui” (Japanese towel-cloth) and display it as a picture on your wall. The “furoshiki” (remember the wrapping cloth I introduced in an earlier article?) is a great gift on its own – and of course, you can always go back to its original use as a wrapping cloth.
In the back part of the store on the left, you’ll find the men’s section. The women’s fashion section is on the right. But there are a lot of unisex designs, too. It doesn’t really matter, where you shop – . choose what you like best.
The clothes at SOU SOU have a unique design. The shape (especially of the sleeves) and the waist height resemble traditional Japanese clothes, but the design itself is very wearable, also outside of Japan. Kimono or yukata might be a bit difficult or out of place back at home, but the kimono/yukata style clothes can be worn to any occasion. SOU SOU’s modern Japanese fashion is admittedly not the cheapest, but the price really is worth it – you get a lot out of each piece.
The Japanese way to wear clothes is “kasanegi”, layering. Don’t be afraid to wear lots and lots of layers!
I tried that for myself and the shop staff assisted me. How do you like it? Even with all the many different patterns and colors – it kind of works, don’t you think?
I never understood the mysterious logic behind Japanese women choosing a sash for their kimono, especially concerning the color and pattern combination…with SOU SOU clothes however, I feel like I get the knack of it. That’s what I like about the brand.^^
…and the 100% wool muslin shirt dress you see in the photo? I liked it so much I bought it.
Not to forget, on the left side of the shop entrance, there is a small café space to have some matcha tea or coffee. After looking around the shop, I decided to take a break and enjoy some matcha. The staff makes the tea right in front of you, so you can also have a little chat. The matcha set includes the matcha tea, seasonal sweets, a postcard and another tea at the end. Very reasonable for 860 Yen!!!
SOU SOU offers shoes, bags, pouches, socks, baby items, bandages, towels, clothes, toys and much more. There is the perfect gift for everyone. Japanese “gift heaven”? Yes, that’s SOU SOU for you.
Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, just come and have a look!