Shopping in the International District

Enrich yourself both culturally and materially in the heart of Seattle’s Asian community.
Cody Bay  |   September 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Eclectic Kobo at Higo’s in-store “museum”

Start at Main Street and Sixth and walk down to Jackson Street for two of the most stimulating spots in Japantown: (1) Kobo at Higo, a former Japanese variety store turned artisan gallery that spotlights Japanese and Northwest design. Its jewelry selection is particularly well curated, with elegant gold-filled wire leaf earrings by local artist Regina Chang ($55), the subtly sweet mixed metal flower earrings by Carolina Anderson ($165) and more.

Occupying the corner next door is the heartbeat of ID hipness, (2) MoMo. Lei Ann Shiramizu packs her tiny store (its name means “peach” in Japanese) with always-Euro chic and often a bit of quirky apparel from brands such as Australian layering pro Metalicus and reversible skirts from Zand Amsterdam ($64). We’re going a little bonkers over her adorable Pennie Laird baby kimonos in their endlessly cheerful patterns ($30), which we want to buy for every munchkin we know.

Head east on Jackson Street to Maynard Street and turn right, pass the awesome Seattle Pinball Museum—where you can pop in and play the vintage machines to your heart’s desire for $10—cross Weller Street and you’ll arrive at (5) Tuesday Scarves, the new bricks-and-mortar retail location for local designer Rian Robison. Her stylish infinity scarves ($13–$68), in everything from light florals to cozy plaids and sumptuous faux furs, have attracted a devoted following since she burst onto the local fashion scene two years ago; now we can’t stop ogling her sleek new riveted leather clutches ($78), which have us riveted indeed.

Extra incentive
Embrace the spirit and vibe of this cross-cultural ’hood: Plenty more fun can be had at the Wing Luke’s museum shop on S King Street and Canton Alley S, (3) Marketplace at the Wing, where you’ll find Asian toys like Melissa & Doug sushi play sets ($24.99); wind-up Pac-Man and Ghost figures ($11.95); and books galore on ikebana, bonsai, dim sum cooking and more.

The (4) New Century Tea Gallery, on Maynard Avenue S across the street from Hing Hay Park, provides a fascinating rest stop with more than 100 different varieties of teas.

(6) Kinokuniya Bookstore, in the Uwajimaya shopping center, is one of the city’s best places to geek out over great pens, stationery and coffee-table books. Uwajimaya, of course, is an adventure all on its own—we especially love the noodle aisle and kitchenware departments.

Beauty bonus
Treat your feet! Put your walkers to rest at (7) Imperial Foot Massage, on Jackson, where $27 gets you an hourlong massage that also includes your neck, face and hands.

Park and go
Barring a Sounders game, metered parking is typically in abundance on Main Street in the two blocks between Sixth and Maynard.

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