Don’t you wish you could fly to Tokyo instead of showing up to work? Sadly life’s not that easy. Luckily the next-best thing is right here in Melbourne. Step out of your comfort zone and you’ll be surprised by the abundance of Japanese culture — from homewares, decoration and discount shops, to Japanese spa baths and supermarkets. No matter what you’re after, Melbourne has everything you need to get your Japanese fix.
Homewares and decoration
1. Made in Japan
Made in Japan is a homewares shop that has been importing high-quality ceramic tableware from Japan for over 25 years. Made in Japan knows that a delicious Japanese meal deserves to be served in beautiful, high-quality dinnerware. All their products are functional, durable and unique.
MUJI is a classic Japanese homeware and clothing shop. Their aim is to provide customers with simple, innovative and functional products for their everyday lives. Simplicity is everything for MUJI — its name comes from the words ‘Mujirushi Ryōhin’, translated as No Brand Quality Goods. From suitcases and home clothes to quirky electronics and storage solutions, MUJI products are definitely worth discovering.
3. Mr Kitly
Mr Kitly is a mecca for plant people, but it’s also a haven for Japanese design-lovers. Mr Kitly focus on selling plants as well as beautifully-crafted pots and ceramics. The store presents a range of international artists and artisans from countries including Australia, the US, the UK and France.
Tanto is a Japanese knife store, and one of Melbourne’s most impressive retail outlets. Pitched mainly at specialist local chefs aware that the Japan produces the world’s finest kitchen knives, Tanto stocks precision implements which draw on a craftsman pedigree dating back to the sword-carrying samurai era.
Apato brings the finest furniture made by master craftsmen and designers in Japan to Australia. Apato aims to carefully manufacture modern furniture using age-old techniques and modern technology, striving for quality and comfort. The result? Products that are not only beautiful, but also tactile and pleasurable.
Daiso is Japan’s largest value store, and while it has more than 200,000 products on display, the average item only costs $2.80! You can get everything you need here: Think ‘zakka’ (a Japanese term for everything that improves your home, life and appearance), crafty products, bath salts, origami paper, tea cups, different-sized containers, cosmetics, cookware, homeware, kitchenware, stationery, toys, personal care items, lifestyle products, novelty gifts and food.
2. Cool from Asia
Cool from Asia sells high-quality, affordable goods that are made in Japan. All the merchandise in the store is aesthetically-pleasing, cutting-edge and convenient. The stuff here is meant to touch the hearts of Japanese customers, as well as people living in Australia.
Think a deep, marble-bath in a light-filled converted warehouse, complete with soaring ceilings, decorative slippers and a tea house. Sounds relaxing? This is Onsen Ma, one of Melbourne’s best spa experiences. Following traditional Japanese bath rules, Onsen Ma is the perfect spot to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and unwind for a while.
1. Hometown Asian Supermarket
Hometown Asian Supermarket features goodies from all over the Asian region, with a particular focus on Japanese cuisine. Think hand-rolled udon noodles direct from Japan, Kurobata pork (otherwise known as Black Berkshire), a generous variety of miso, and much more.
2. Minh Phat Supermarket
Think a whole aisle of tea, from delicate flowers to ‘slimming’ powders, with another aisle dedicated purely to herbs and spices. At Minh Phat Supermarket you will find strainers, stockpots, claypots, knives, tea-tree mushrooms, shrimp skins, Barwon flowers, Japanese seaweed, duck eggs and an ocean of canned fish.
3. Ichiba Junction
Ichiba Junction aims to provide high quality Japanese products to the Australian market. Today, they are the leading importer and distributor of Japanese dry and frozen products in Australia. Not just limited to Japanese products, their wide selection of wholesale and retail goods includes a variety of Asian as well as Australian local products. Choose from hundreds of items — from Japanese rice, seasonings, desserts and kitchen goods to kids’ and babies’ gifts.
Kobe Jones Restaurants
Next time you’re keen for a Japanese fix, head to our restaurants Riverside Teppanyaki or Kobe Jones Melbourne to experience Japanese cuisine like you’ve never tasted before. We specialise in modern Japanese cooking inspired by the best from the East and West, and our restaurants offer exceptional dining in superb locations.
Japan’s culture, people, traditions, food and country are one of a kind. While we can’t just head over there as many times as we would like to, you can get your Japanese culture fix right here in the streets of Melbourne. And remember, if you’re in for a mouth-watering, unique Japanese meal, don’t forget to check any of the Kobe Jones restaurants in Melbourne.