Under this very peculiar name, Machi no Schule 963 (strange mix of Japanese and German – it kinda means “the neighborhood’s school”) is hidden one of the coolest stores in Takamatsu.
It is located in Marugamemachi (the fancy part of downtown), but it is pretty well hidden as it’s on the second floor and you need to take an escalator or an elevator to reach it.
First things first, if you’re on a budget, you can forgot about buying your presents there. And if I like to go from time to time, it’s more for visual appreciation of the things that they sell rather than shopping.
So, what can you find there?
The store is some sort of mini-department store divided in a few sections. The important thing is that most of the things that are sold there come from Kagawa (or at least Shikoku).
When you enter the store, you find a food section on your left, full of local quality products, and a very nice café on your right. When you walk a bit more further back, you’ll find sections that sell housewares, clothings, a corner that exhibits/sells the creations of a local creator/craftsperson, and another one with traditional (and less traditional) objects that typical of Kagawa (it goes from the famous Sanuki Kagari Temari to “build-it-yourself” cardboard Kotoden train or Meon ferry miniatures (why haven’t I got the Meon one yet remains a mystery).
If we were in Europe or North America, the place would probably have an insufferable hipster vibe, but the store always manages to stay clear from that. While, it mostly appeals to richer and somewhat trendy locals, you also can feel that there is a real and genuine respect and interest for local traditions, arts, and crafts. It’s not just a trendy thing.
My only “issue” with the store is that it is quite expensive, but when you think about it, it really isn’t as most things are handmade and made locally. When you buy something from there, you help a local artist or craftsperson live, you don’t help a big corporation getting even richer than it really is, exploiting you and Chinese kids in the process. And you also can find some relatively cheap items in it, not everything is expensive.
All in all, I really like this store, not only because it promotes local culture and talent, but also because it’s a very pleasant place, and finally it shows a different Kagawa, far from the “Udon-ken” reputation the prefecture has.
So if you’re in Takamatsu, and want to discover some very interesting products, go to Machi no Schule 963, you won’t be disappointed.
Let’s finish with a few useful links: