Comb buying in Kyoto & Tokyo
August 10, 2006 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Tokyo or Kyoto shopping filter: On a mission for boxwood combs. Do people have any suggestions on where to purchase traditional, handmade combs in Kyoto or Tokyo? I have some names and addresses however, the information maybe way dated.

Here is what I have:

Kyoto --
Jusan-Ya combs
Otabi-cho, Shin-kyogoku higashi-iru, Shijo-dori, Shimogyu-ku

Nijusanya is at 85 Shin-cho, Shijo Kawaramachi Higashi-iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto (telephone 221-2371). It is open 10 A.M. to 8:30 P.M. and closed the third Wednesday of each month.

Tokyo --
2-12-21 Ueno, Tokyo, Japan - - Taito-ku
Phone: 03-3831-3238

1-37-10 Asakusa
Taito-ku, On Demboin Dori (also spelled Dempoin Dori), just off Nakamise Dori

It is important to me that the combs be not mass manufactured but made by hand with the care that Japanese artisan families are capable and famed for.

Also, does anyone know what the "eeek" or "eewww" factor is if I sent a sample of my hair along to help in comb selection? A friend is kind enough on taking this mission on while in the area.

Any information or suggestions welcome EXCEPT why not order the stuff online....errrr...besides not being sure of the quality, many of the websites seem to be stealing both images and text from other sites which does not engender a great deal of confidence.
posted by jadepearl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total)
Not sure about combs per se, but I'll bet they have 'em in the Kyoto Handicrafts Center (which some might avoid because it's too touristy, but I didn't think so).
posted by Rash at 9:25 AM on August 10, 2006

There are a handful of Jusan-ya in Kyoto and Tokyo(十三や, wonder if that shows up for you). Atleast from what I found with google maps.

This is the site of a kyoto shop. If you click around you'll see the kind of combs they stock and what you can expect to pay. Map and address. And Pretty damn convienient if your friend can get to Kyoto station.

This is the first time I've heard about these combs but it seems like if you plan on using on you have to clean it. Cleaning a comb involves soaking it in some kind of oil and using a comb flossing tool. You should probably make sure your friend buys the cleaning supplies when they buy the comb. Later if you run out of the camellia oil you can use olive oil. Here is a translation of their question and answer page. It's pretty understandable, aside from some strange translations. It goes into what the combs are made out of, comb cleaning, comb choice, how to hold a comb, and comb disposal. Apparently its so difficult to throw out such beautiful and sacred combs that there is comb 'enshrining' at a kyoto shinto shrine once a year (I assume this entails a preist setting combs on fire).

All the Kyoto shops.
A Kyoto Shop using a slightly different name.
Tokyo Shops.
Tokyo Shop with a slightly different name.
posted by robofunk at 10:32 AM on August 10, 2006

I am aware of the cleaning process using soft toothbrush and friend is picking up Japanese camelia oil which is different from Chineses camelia oil (used for cooking in some parts of China).

Also, the Kyoto Handicrafts center felt way touristy to me the last time I was there and the selection of combs seemed sparse. I wish to remove as many layers of middle men as possible on the purchase (weirdess on my part) so want to buy from artisan's shop.

Every twenty years a perfect set of boxwood combs is sacraficed at Ise Shrine to the goddess Amerteratsu. Yes, they are burned.
posted by jadepearl at 8:43 PM on August 10, 2006

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