Nestled on the first floor of a beautiful, traditional style Japanese home, Kameya is a quaint and minimalistic health and earth-friendly products store with a vision of growing their network and connecting with other likeminded people, and those interested in their lifestyle and beliefs. I stopped by to find out more about Kameya and their philosophy, and left three hours later with a head brimming with interesting, inspiring concepts and a bag laden with vegan sugar and instant ramen.
While Kameya is just a newborn in the scheme of things (two weeks old at date of writing), owners Maya and Koji have already created a strong sense of community within their four aesthetically-pleasing walls. During my visit saw every customer who came in sit down for a chat, with the actual shopping part seemingly secondary.
Perhaps the strongest takeaway feeling I had was Maya and Koji’s emphasis and passion for community. They talked me through their product range, with the Japanese products being handpicked with locality, and community support in mind. Their range of traditional Japanese shoyu (soy sauce) was selected after meeting with the makers in Gifu and Mie prefectures and getting to know them personally. This was born from a desire to support local business, but also by being knowledgeable about not only the source of the product but also the process, Kameya hopes to raise awareness in the use of genuine traditional products (store-bought vs handmade shoyu for example), and revitalize an interest in learning and retaining traditional Japanese craftsmanship, which is regrettably an increasing concern.
While the 21st century has seen a renewed passion for locally sourced produce and products and an emphasis on the importance of supporting grass roots businesses in the western world, on the surface it seems as if Japan is slow to the chase. While this is not true, the interactions and exposure to these ideas in my experience are far and few between, and as Kameya moves forward Maya and Koji expressed their hopes to connect those with such values, and teach those interested in their philosophy and lifestyle. While Kameya has already boasted an opening party with other natural and organic cafes participating, Maya and Koji discussed their intentions to hold presentations, and workshops such as learning to make shoyu and other traditionally Japanese cultural experiences.
Both Maya and Koji speak English, and were very clear about welcoming anyone with an open mind and an interest in aforementioned values to stop by for a visit. Anyone with an interest in Japanese interiors where minimalism meets traditional housing, health foods (the first time I’ve seen vegan lollies in Japan!), or an interest in earth issues, simple living and all things relevant will relish a trip out to Kameya.
Kameya is located a few minutes walk away from Kamejima station, on the Higashiyama line. Look out for the rainbow painted door, and beautiful family welcoming you in! I will be posting information about future workshops and presentations on my vegan Instagram @vegansofnagoya. Enjoy!