Stardust, a Japanese Shop and Cafe, Lets the History of the Space Shine Through

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What: Stardust, Vegan Cafe and Shop

Where: Kyoto, Japan

Style: Earthy and ethereal

Back in 2015, Kana Shimizu happened to attend an exhibition at Hanaya Mitate, an exquisite flower studio in a northern stretch of Kyoto that specializes in traditional ikebana. Inspired by a recent trip to Amsterdam, Shimizu wanted her own shop, and the flower studio owner, Hayato Nishiyama, a friend of a friend, told her the storefront next door was open. "That's how I met this old house," says Shimizu.

Although most people urged her to tear down the old, dusty walls of the space — a traditional wooden townhouse called a machiya — Shimizu saw something special instead. "This wall looks like the universe," she says, of the aging plaster. Hence, Stardust — the name of her shop and vegan cafe, now nearly three years old. Shimizu left some walls plain, papered others wall in washi (traditional Japanese paper), added a kitchen, and let the history of the space shine through.

Now, Stardust is destination shopping, a wonderfully curated mix of vintage and new goods, pottery, furniture, accessories, clothing — including Los Angeles-based Black Crane — and a petite, four-table vegan cafe. The curation is all Shimizu, the feel is timeless and ethereal. "Mixing and putting together with old and new, things from Japan and all over the world, makes [it] borderless," she says. She also holds occasional art shows and pop-ups.

It's the realization of the vision she had in Amsterdam, for a space that, Shimizu believes, taps into the universal element we have inside of all of us — stardust. She says, of her boutique, "We are having beautiful stardust come over from all of the world, every day."

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Shimizu left several of the aging plaster walls as-is when she opened her shop.

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There's also a small courtyard, for when the weather is nice.

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The menu is vegan.

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Inside the boutique, Shimizu covered the walls with traditional Japanese paper. The patchwork effect has a vintage, almost American feel. For her, "it's like underwater."

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Stardust carries Cha Yuan tea, from France.

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The boutique has a carefully curated mix of pottery, clothing and other goods.

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Each small tableau in the boutique is carefully considered.

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The candle stands with crystals are Shimizu's favorite part of the store. The crystals, she says, are like a fire.

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Crystals are featured throughout the store.


Laura Lambert is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle, design, and women's health.

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