Tokyo Shoemakers: Summary

Tokyo Shoemakers: Summary

I thought a good place to start in this series would be a summary of what is to come. Japan really is an oasis for shoemakers and enthusiasts and it's a tall task to try to make anything resembling an exhaustive shoe related itinerary for a short visit. My hope with this post is three fold 1) to consolidate information to help other shoe enthusiasts plan trips 2) to whet your appetite for the more in depth profiles to come and 3) to serve as a catch all for some of the honorable mentions that won't have their own dedicated blog posts. 

This series will cover the individual bespoke shoemakers and brands that I met with during my time in and around Tokyo. Most of these visits had nothing to do with business, but you might end up seeing some of these makers and brands at Old House Provisions. I'll leave it at that for now, but I do encourage you to reach out to me ( to express enthusiasm about any of the following makers/brands if you'd like to see their products offered at OHP. The keen shoe enthusiast will notice that Tokyo has much more to offer on the ready-to-wear side than what's included here. I've got that covered as well, but that will be in a separate Tokyo Shoe and Menswear Enthusiasts Shopping Guide. 

So, here is something approaching an exhaustive list of the shoemakers in and around Tokyo. Feel free to comment if I missed any. Note: general vicinities are used in place of precise locations in order to more easily get a sense of which ones are near each other. 

Upcoming profiles

Kiyo Uda - Ageo, Saitama

The first 12 days of my ~3 week trip were spent training with Uda-san. He's a one man workshop for his brand Craftarts and is also a partner in another brand called Tweed and Mouth, which he shares with Nayuta Takahashi, another fantastic shoemaker known for his "interwoven broguing" and his 4th place finish at the 2023 World Championships in Shoemaking.

Seiji McCarthy - Jingumae/Aoyama, Shibuya

From Philadelphia originally, Seiji now specializes in designs that inspired by vintage American style.

Hiro Yanagimachi - Jingumae/Aoyama, Shibuya

Highly experienced bespoke maker that started in pattern design in the UK. Hiro-san has one of the most extensive range of samples, with exceptional patterns and even sneakers and slippers. 

Yohei FukudaJingumae/Aoyama, Shibuya

Probably the most well known of all the Japanese bespoke shoemakers, Fukuda-san trained in the UK before returning to Japan to start his own brand about 20 years ago. 

Koji Endo - Sumida City

Koji-san trained under Anthony Delos, the renowned French shoemaker, and now is a one man workshop on the east side of the Sumida River. He's finished 10th at the 2022 World Championships in Shoemaking.

Arch Kerry - Asakusa

Shimizukawa-san, a long time collector of vintage American shoes, started is own brand to do what the Japanese do so well, vintage reproduction.

Han Shoemaker - Kōfu

A very unique shoemaker duo west of Tokyo that uses a blend of hand and factory methods to create good year welted shoes that appear fully handmade even to the trained eye. 

Khish the Work (Ken Hishinuma)- Yatsugatake

The first of two YouTube stars I visited. Hishinuma-san built a workshop in the woods about 2 hours west of Tokyo where he and an apprentice toil 6 or 7 days a week.  

Siroeno Yosui (Ken Katahoka) - Arakawa

The second YouTube star I visited and the second place finisher at the 2022 World Championships in Shoemaking.

Clematis (Kietaro Takano) - Ginza

Japanese trained and the eighth place finisher at the 2022 World Championships in Shoemaking. One of the more creative shoemakers I've seen.

Marquess (Shoji and Yuriko Kawaguchi) - Ginza

Shoji-san is another UK trained shoemaker and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

Minezo Sport Shoes (Tomokazu Hirose) - Horikiri, Katsushika City

A relatively new brand of handwelted shoes inspired by vintage leather athletic shoes. Certainly one of the most unique offerings in a very competitive market. 


Others worth noting

Main D'Or (Eiji Murata) - Chiba

Murata-san trained at Esperanza Shoe School with other shoemaking greats including Seiji Miyagawa of Stefano Bemer. They were invited to work at Stefano Bemer under the late Stephane Jimenez when he was running their bespoke workshop. Murata-san ultimately turned down the offer while Miyagawa-san can still be found making beautiful bespoke shoes in the Stefano Bemer store to this day. I would've met with Murata-san too, but it ended up being too busy of a time for him, so we postponed. His workshop is a little out of the way in Chiba, but well worth the visit if you can swing it. He was awarded the top spot in finishing by Shoegazing.

Tye Shoemaker (Yohei Shiwamura and Tsyoshi Ohno) - Asakusa

Shoemaking team run by Yohei Shiwamura and Tsyoshi Ohno. They were awarded the top spot in creativity by Shoegazing. They were out of town during my trip, unfortunately. 

Floriwonne - Minamikarasuyama, Setagaya City

I don't actually know much about this brand. By the looks of it, they offer bespoke shoes, but most of what I can find online relates to other MTO brands run by the same person. One of the distinctive features, however, is the patina art that is not typically part of other makers ranges and makes me believe there is some french influence afoot. 

Orma Shoemaker (Wataru Shimamoto) - Kamakura, Kanagawa

The winner of the 2022 World Championship in Shoemaking. His workshop is south of Tokyo near the coast. It's worth noting that he does not take visitors, or at least did not at the time that I was in Japan. Definitely make sure you have an appointment before you go all the way there expecting to see his shoes. 

White Kloud (Show Goto) - Koshigaya, Saitama

Widely regarded as the best bootmaker in the world. Goto-san, a former foot masseuse, is known for his impeccable finishing (he mirror shines the edges) in a category that usually overlooks finishing. He's a little out of the way in Saitama, but not too far if you're more of a bootsman. 

Clinch Boots (Minoru Matsuura) - Daita, Setagaya City

Another grail maker in the boot community, known mostly for their unstructured toe engineer boots. I didn't have a chance to visit while in Tokyo but I did get to meet Minoru-san while he was in NYC for a trunk show last fall. Very nice fella and great boots!

Rutt Shoes - Asakusa

Run by two gentlemen both named Ken. They offer mostly chunky NST bluchers, mostly made from Horween shell cordovan, with impressive customization options. You can choose whether you want goodyear, channeled insole goodyear, or handwelted construction for your shoes. You can also pick out the exact shell you want to be used for your shoes. 

Brother Bridge - Asakusa

Shoe and boot store about a block away from Arch Kerry and Rutt. Really nice folks working the shop floor there. 

Rolling Dub Trio - Asakusa

Engineers and other chunky work boots, as well as some stitchdown sandals. 

Rendo (Teppei Yoshimi) - Asakusa

Beautiful factory made shoes designed by Teppei Yoshimi. 

Zerrows - Asakusa

Very similar offerings to Rolling Dub Trio. Their store is right next to Rendo, but their hours were weekend only during my visit.


Others that I didn't visit and don't know much about

ToruSaitou Bespoke shoemaker - Motoazabu, Minato City

The Upperside Shoemaker - Higashi, Shibuya

Shoes by Place - Oshiage, Sumida City

Tate Shoes - Asakusa

Kawazu Shoemaker - Chiba

Misawa Shoe Design - Arakawa

Shoemaking Schools - Guild of Craft, Ishihara, possibly others 

And many more in other parts of Japan. 


Lastly, I'll have a post at some point in this series specifically for the other makers. If you make it to Tokyo and don't stock up on those hard to find tools and Ramie thread, you're a fool. Maybe that's a bit harsh because some of these supply shops are pretty hard to find. Regardless, if you make shoes, you'll definitely want to stay tuned for that. 

Okay, bye. 


Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Eiji Murata worked at Stefano Bemer. While he was offered a spot there early on, he turned it down. 
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