asking for trouble

Design Festa 43

I finally started editing all the photos of my Japan purchases so I can share all the awesomeness with you. First up, what I bought at Design Festa.

Design Festa 43

Even though this was my second visit and I knew what to expect, I was still completely overwhelmed by all the creativity on show. There’s so much to see with two floors absolutely crammed with hundreds of stalls, plus a stage area. I absolutely recommend planning your trip around Design Festa – May and November are both really nice times to visit Japan.

Design Festa 43

I could have spent a fortune, but it was my first day in Japan so I wasn’t feeling too free with my budget. Instead I took photos (with permission – do ask, even just by miming a camera) and business cards. Luckily a lot of makers are on Instagram now so I can follow along with the cuteness back at home.

My favourite Design Festa purchases

My absolute favourite purchase was this adorable wooden spoon by Shiho Hanko. It was one of the first stalls I saw and I never saw anything cuter. I was torn between a few designs, but the happy bread was the winner. She also had rubber stamps, hair brushes, brooches and much more. Her Instagram is so cute too.


I was hoping to see Mochi Usagi in person again, but I didn’t spot him (he’s pretty busy). Luckily there was a Mochi Usagi merch stall, though most of it was dedicated to the new mochi cats characters. I still got an amazing pin for me and a coin purse for Nicolette and I would have bought lots more but many things didn’t have prices.

design festa

As on my previous visit, I bought postcards when I wanted to support an artist but didn’t want something bigger. I love these so much! The mail animals artist (ny_img) was surprised how much I loved her stuff but come on, it’s animals delivering mail. There were a LOT of cats – they were definitely the most popular thing, along with miniature deco sweets – and Gunya Nyanko‘s were my favourite. I also saw quite a few bunnies. I wish the chopping board bunny was Fuwa Apa was actually available as a chopping board!

Pin by R Gallery at Design Festa

And how adorable is this? It’s on a pin so only about 1cm tall and handmade by R Gallery. It’s probably meant to be mochi, but it also looks like a snowman with an apple on his head, which is why I chose it out of all the hundreds of cute things he had made. I kind of wish I’d bought more but they were understandably expensive. It’s now displayed in my type drawer of tiny things.

Design Festa 43

Overall, I was little too hesitant to spend but it was so crowded and you never know when you might spot something even more amazing. Plus most things I was tempted by were fragile, like these ceramic pandas by Maruyama Toubou, so it was probably for the best. I’m sharing more Design Festa stalls on Super Cute Kawaii, later today and next week, so look out for those.

Design Festa

I also popped into the Design Festa gallery one rainy afternoon in Harajuku but there wasn’t much to my taste. It’s split into lots of tiny one room galleries so it’s a bit like visiting an art school degree show. Worth checking out, but maybe best to browse their blog/FB to see what’s currently on show. I forgot to take any photos but it’s a cool-looking building with a nice cafe. (photo by Innocent Coppieters)


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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