May 30, 2012

Some thoughts on Japanese Tackle Shops Part I

You probably already know about my trip to Tokyo I made a couple of weeks ago.
I spent some time in some of the famous shops available in the Shibuya and Shinjuku area.
In this post I want to write my considerations about the experience I got visiting this places. I think an experience to a Japanese tackle shop is not just about the quantity of lures you see on the wall but also about the way the store is designed, the atmosphere you find inside and the help and attention the sales assistants give to you.
I can start by saying that I have visited many stores in the US and Europe so I have an idea of what to expect from a fishing store.


Sansui store in Shibuya. The most famous one.

Sansui store in Shinjuku.

Sansui is certainly one of the most famous stores in Tokyo. I am aware that they are many bigger store available in the Tokyo area but Sansui is one of the oldest (since 1902) and most respected one.
They sell basically everything from saltwater to fly fishing and perhaps it is the last aspect that has influenced the design of the shop. I can say that once you step in a Sansui shops (regardless of the type) you feel yourself like in a fly shop in Bozeman, Montana. It has that feel of coziness that I saw before only in US fly fishing stores. There is lots of woodwork inside and it definitely lacks that cold ambient made of concrete floors , weak lighting metallic cabinets, and white walls, something that I see often in store here in my country or Europe.
Wooden floors, wooden cabinets, cute fish-themed decorations, soft lighting, tons of tackles on movable wall racks (great idea btw) and great stuff.
This aspect cartainly adds experience to the shopping, at least for me. You find yourself in a place where you feel the "fishing" enthusiasm and tradition. I always consider fishing an art and a shop should reflect that aspect. Whether a GT popper or a midge fly I think it all encompasses the creativity, workmanship and pursuit of perfection. I see this sport-hobby always from this point of view and this is why I have much respect for everything well made (possibly by hand) in this industry.


I liked the idea of the small basket you pick up at the entrance. It is very common in Japanese store and I think it is great. You can take a small or medium sized basket according to your needs. No worry about keeping your hands busy holding tons of lures, just use the basket.  I enjoyed the wooden cabinets filled with spool of braids and Meiho boxes.

Sansui Logo.
The checkout

The payment process was entertaining too. They pack everything in some nice Sansui branded paper bags and tape the top of it. They make a nice box with everything in order. Maybe "order" is the key word to express the way a tackle store in Japan is setup.
Too bad I couldn't snap pictures inside the store, maybe this is the only drawback of these store. Anyway I was lucky enough to find a setup of photos on the Sansui blog. Here is the link. Please have a look

As for tackle I saw lots of stuff. I realized that they carry tackle according to the season. I saw more stuff for   light fishing than offshore fishing. I asked to my friend who lives in Japan and he confirmed that the seasons affects the amount and type of tackle a store keeps in stock.
There were many rods on display and some very nice reels (read Stella and Saltiga) under some shiny glass cabinets. Very tempting.

Last for not least, there was a very nice books/video section where I had the luck to get some catalogs for free and some magazines. I wish I could read and understand Japanese. I think I will work on that too.

This ends the first part. Next time I will write about Jumbo and Tackle Berry. These stores were also very pleasant to visit (less for my bank account but who cares).

Coming soon...

Tackle Berry in Shibuya.

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