JapanCulture•NYC Holiday Gift Guide 2021 (Part II)

It’s time for Part II of JapanCulture•NYC’s Holiday Gift Guide 2021, and we are suggesting the perfect outing to Japan Village in Industry City. It’s a trip that won’t feel like shopping is a chore and has plenty of opportunities to treat yourself along the way.

If you have yet to make it over to Japan Village in Brooklyn, now is the time as there are special Japanese pop-ups on weekends this December. Besides the Japanese businesses we will suggest in this post, there are plenty of other festive happenings at Industry city this winter from an ice rink to holiday treats  to decorating to a kids paper sculpting workshop to create pop-up holiday cards.  Check out the events calendar for all Industry City has to offer. Don’t let the Brooklyn location deter you as it’s very easy to get to via the subway. Only two stops into Brooklyn if you catch an express D or N train and get off at 36 Street Station, Japan Village is only a block away!

Photo: japanvillage.com

Industry City is a campus of several industrial buildings turned into eateries, breweries, distilleries, specialty grocery stores, artists’ studios, small businesses, retailers, event spaces, and much more. We will group our suggestions by location so it’s much easier to navigate, with our first stop being Building 5. Enter at 51 35th Street and head upstairs to the second floor known as the Makers Guild. At the top of the stairs, you will find …

Tadaima

Dessert Shop

51 35th Street, 2nd floor, Suite B223, Brooklyn, NY 11232

December schedule can be found here

“Tadaima” means “I am home,” and that is certainly felt the moment you enter this Japanese dessert and gift shop. Owner Ayaka Ando offers a rotating seasonal menu of baked goods, sweets, and either hot or iced beverages. The baked goods are works of art with beautiful details like edible dried flowers or hand-stamped packaging.

For the month of December, Tadaima will be making pound cakes with Japanese flavors such as yuzu lemon and chestnut hoji-cha. There will also be two plant-based cake options, a bitter cacao banana, and a fruit cake. The cookie flavors will range from matcha white chocolate, salted Hoji-cha, coffee caramel, and hazelnut. The snowball cookie set makes the perfect festive holiday gift, coming in vanilla and rose raspberry. Sable cookies will be available in matcha and black truffle (highly recommend this one!). Matcha, maple, espresso chai, or Earl gray madeleines will also be available. Lastly, homemade granola in maple cherry or chai would make a great stocking stuffer as it will hit the spot for the chilly winter mornings we have ahead.

While you are there be sure to treat yourself to one of Tadaima’s beverages from its rotating menu utilizing fresh seasonal ingredients. The attention to detail given to your beverage will blow your mind, and that Tadaima principle of “I am home” will click once you take your first sip.

Photo courtesy of Tadaima

As you wait for your beverage, check out the selection of Japanese gifts that Ando sources herself and imports from Japan. Many items are local to her hometown in Japan and evoke nostalgic feelings from the scents of the incense, candles, and handcrafted soaps to the rack of second-hand clothing for sale. Other hand-painted textile handcrafts from Shinkougei are for sale, perfect for animal lovers or to gift as an ornament for the tree.

Photo courtesy of Tadaima
Photo courtesy of Tadaima

Just down the hall from Tadaima you will find one of the Japanese pop-ups happening at Industry city this December…

IPPIN PROJECT

Japanese Artisans and Makers Market

Friday, December 10 to Sunday, December 12 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 17 to Sunday, December 19 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Photo courtesy of IPPIN PROJECT

IPPIN PROJECT was started in 2014 by New York-based interior design firm CRAFITS DESIGN STUDIO with the purpose of giving Japanese makers of furniture and home decor an outlet to sell their products abroad. With a designer/decorator’s background, they are focused on introducing Japanese traditional techniques and hand-crafted works in high quality designs.

Products such as tableware, interior goods, and kitchen tools will be available as well as items made from Japanese materials such as Kumiko wood screen, Kawara tile, Washi wall coverings, and more.

The products they carry are not mass-produced in Japan; they are made from limited materials and by skilled artisans. IPPIN PROJECT also produces custom-made furniture using traditional Japanese material with a contemporary twist.  They have been attending NYC trade shows since 2017, but this holiday pop-up is their return to NYC local markets since the pandemic.

Photo courtesy of IPPIN PROJECT

After checking out IPPIN PROJECT, head to the courtyard between buildings 5 and 6 to find… 

Brooklyn Kura

Sake Brewery and Tap Room

68 34th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232, Courtyard 5/6

Fridays from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Brooklyn Kura is Brooklyn’s first sake brewery and purveyors of American craft sake. Since 2018 they have been brewing sake on site with the highest quality ingredients. Their mission to demystify sake and make it more accessible in the New York area.

In 2021 Brooklyn Kura entered a long-term partnership with Niigata-based Hakkaisan Brewery. Hakkaisan is one of the most respected breweries in Japan and home to many celebrated sakes. With this partnership Brooklyn Kura’s goal is to continue to share their love of fermentation and passion for sake with the world.

Photo: brooklynkura.com

For the sake lovers on your holiday shopping list, this is the perfect stop. You can purchase a selection of sakes brewed on site as well as merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, or enamel pins for the sake enthusiast. We recommend buying a gift card because it would allow the recipient to have a nice experience of visiting Brooklyn Kura for themselves. Or you could inquire about the Kura Kin membership for the ultimate sake gift.

This holiday season Brooklyn Kura is also offering two different gift sets.  Only available online for pick up or delivery on December 22nd these gift sets will make for a cozy NYC winter night. One set is a collaboration with Cavern, a New York-based fragrance studio. This gift includes a set of three candles and a bottle of Secondi, Brooklyn Kura’s sparkling sake, which is conditioned junmai ginjo that has gone through a secondary fermentation driven by Amazake and Champagne yeast. With notes of freshly baked shortbread, this sake is medium-bodied with a pleasant bubbly finish. Sounds perfect for if you know someone spending New Year’s Eve at home this year!

The other gift set is one of Brooklyn Kura’s favorite pairings of Oishii Berry and a bottle of their Catskills Junmai Daiginjo. This unique Japanese variety of strawberries is grown miles outside of Manhattan in an indoor vertical farm and harvested the morning before shipping. Daiginjo is considered a super-premium style of sake due to the effort, time, and cost that goes into its production. This limited-release sake has a fresh aroma and elegant body with the result intended to be delicate and luxurious. Order your Brooklyn Kura gift sets today before they sell out!

Photo: brooklynkura.com

While there, it’s time for a shopping break to enjoy some sake for yourself. After you have enjoyed your sake break, it’s now time to head to Japan Village!

During the month of December, Japan Village is hosting two other Japanese pop-ups that are located in Building 4 at 934 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232.

Japanklyn

Japanese culture x Brooklyn lifestyle brand

December Saturdays only from Noon until 6:00 p.m.

 

Photo courtesy of Japanklyn

Japanklyn was founded in 2020 in Brooklyn, NY. It all started in a small apartment with Yuya Hamada’s love and compassion for Japan and Brooklyn as well as a passion for fashion, specifically hats. The pride, respect, and patriotism for Japanese culture, along with love for the communities, culture, and lifestyle in Brooklyn, are all fused together like a chemical reaction.

Japanklyn’s mission is to spread Japanese culture through their brand to the world from Brooklyn. As residents of Brooklyn, they want to support the local communities, artists, groups, sports teams, etc. Diversity is Japanklyn’s strength; unity is their power. The cultural differences shape gratitude, which is a main reason for Japanklyn’s love for Brooklyn and why they are located in New York. Japanklyn’s biggest dream is to open stores in both New York and Tokyo and have Jay-Z and Beyoncé wear their Japanklyn caps while watching the Brooklyn Nets game courtside at the Barclays Center.

Catch Japanklyn every Saturday this December in Japan Village’s Courtyard 4, across from Wakuwaku (more on that soon!) They will be selling a variety of branded hats: bright beanies for the upcoming winter, baseball caps that can be worn year-round, and bucket hats that are perfect for sunny days. Japanklyn keeps their focus on quality, not quantity, so be sure to grab some limited-run merchandise.

Photo courtesy of Japanklyn

From Courtyard 4, head inside toward Japan Village’s food hall and Sunrise Mart, detouring at the next pop-up located in the hallway…

Taro’s Origami Studio

Origami supplies

Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Hallway between Building 4 at 934 3rd Avenue and Courtyard 4

Taro’s Origami Studio is dedicated to the art and expression of origami folding. By folding origami one at a time with focus and care, one can enjoy the beauty of the process itself while one’s creativity is expressed from a sheet of paper to something completely new. Taro’s Origami Studio offers hands-on corners, classes, and workshops for all levels of children and adults at studios worldwide in New York; Pennsylvania; California; Washington, D.C.; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Tokyo, Japan.

For the month of December, Taro’s Origami Studio has a pop-up shop at Japan Village selling origami paper and books. Stop by to pick up supplies for the crafter on your shopping list and the opportunity to try some origami for yourself.  Stay tuned to Taro’s Origami Studio’s Facebook for details on a holiday origami tree.

Photo courtesy of Taro’s Origami Studio’s Facebook page

While passing through Japan Village to head to 3rd Avenue to get to our next location, we suggest stopping at Sunrise Mart for some Japanese snacks and candy to use as stocking stuffers. For small gifts or stocker stuffers for kids, there are stickers, DIY candy kits, character-themed snacks, Japanese erasers, and other small toys. For the home chef on your list, you could put together a gift basket of Japanese kitchenware, dishware, supplies, seasonings, etc. Of course, you could always gift a Sunrise Mart gift card with a shopper’s tote for the recipient to stock up on Japanese goodies.

After Sunrise Mart, head to the street side and turn right, walking toward 36th Street. Once you get to 36th Street, turn right again and head to…

Kuraichi

Japanese spirits and sake shop

Sunday through Thursday from Noon until 7:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from noon until 8:00 p.m.

267 36th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Photo ©Jen Green

Kuraichi is Brooklyn’s go-to shop for Japanese spirits and sake. Their selection covers sakes from various prefectures and breweries in Japan, but they also specialize in other Japanese spirits. From high-end, limited-run Suntory Whiskey for the true collector to a variety of shochu and Japanese gins, Kuraichi will have something to enhance any spirits enthusiast’s home bar.

For the holiday season, they are offering sake mystery bags which include two bottles. They offer an extensive one-cup sake collection, which make great adult stocking stuffers!

Follow Kuraichi on Instagram for information on specials or upcoming tastings.

Photo ©Jen Green

Now that you’ve had a busy day exploring all the amazing Japanese gift ideas and culture that Japan Village and Industry City have to offer, you deserve a nice Japanese meal. If you’d just like to grab some quick food or take it to go, head to Japan Village’s food hall, which has ten different stalls ranging from a bakery to fresh-made onigiri to ramen to katsu curry and much more. There is also a bar that serves a range of Japanese beers and sake.

But for the ultimate Japan Village dining experience, we recommend Wakuwaku for food and Oldies for drinks. Wakuwaku is currently open for outdoor dining in its impressive house-like structures that look straight out of an alley in Kyoto. The buildings are heated (and dog-friendly, too). Indoor dining is available with tables and limited tatami rooms, and seating is also available in Oldies, their cocktail bar.

Photo ©Jen Green

Wakuwaku and Oldies are open Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from noon until 8:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon until 10:00 p.m. Last seating for walk-ins is 30 to 60 minutes before posted closing time, depending on how busy they are. Please note that on Fridays and Saturdays, a full izakaya menu is offered until 7:30 p.m. The menu switches to the Oldies bar menu (paired down small plates menu with full bar offerings) from 7:30 p.m. until close. They are currently using QR code menus and ordering to minimize the risk of COVID transmission between their guests and staff, but if you have technical difficulties using their system, staff is on hand to help.

Order traditional izakaya-style small plates such as chicken karaage, kani croquettes, yakitori, and our personal favorite at Japan Culture•NYC, the kushiage. Feast on Japanese comfort food such as bento dinners and seasonal specials like ramen or oden. You deserve a specialty craft cocktail from Oldies’s ever-changing seasonal menu. Unwind after your productive day of shopping at Japan Village and Industry City.

Photo ©Jen Green

If you time your visit right to Japan Village, you can end your day by catching the sunset in Courtyard 4. With the Japanese red lanterns flittering above, the crackling of the firepit with the glow from Wakuwaku’s authentic dining houses to your left, and Lady Aiko’s mural Japanese Garden in view, you’ll swear you are in Japan, not Brooklyn.

Photo ©Jen Green

Health and Safety Protocols

Face coverings are strongly encouraged, as social distancing may be difficult to maintain throughout the campus of Industry City. Each stop may have different restrictions, and dining inside may require proof of vaccination. As CDC recommendations are changing daily, check for any updated COVID policies for masks as you get to Industry City.