Most Tenkara anglers planning a visit to Japan will most likely fly into Tokyo, via either Narita or Haneda Int'l Airport (the other option is Kansai Int'l Airport down near Kobe). While there are many shops in Tokyo that sell Tenkara gear (check out my page Tenkara Fishing Stores for more information) they tend to be bigger corporate shops that carry a lot of other types and styles of angling equipment. For a more authentic Tenkara shopping experience, it is best to visit a smaller shop where the shop owner is also a Tenkara devotee. Last year I profiled the Kadoya Outdoor Shop which is owned by my Tenkara sensei. Recently though I discovered another Tenkara shop in Tokyo called Groundstore.
The shop is a short 5 minute walk from the Fuda Station, on the Keio Line, and is open from 3pm until 9pm everyday except Sunday. When I arrived at Groundstore it was several hours before opening, so I wandered around the neighborhood and did some exploring. Not too far from the shop flows the Nogawa (野川). It is a pleasant looking urban stream that surely must offer decent Carp fishing. I was kicking myself for not having brought my Tenkara rod (serious oversight on my behalf).
Unable to fish I headed over to a Crucian Carp pond called 調布へら鮒釣り園 to see if I could rent some fishing gear, but unfortunately they didn't rent any gear. However, if you're so inclined there is a fishing store（有）玉屋つり具店, a few blocks away, that sells some really nice Japanese handmade bamboo Crucian Carp fishing rods. While the rods (and other necessary equipment) is a little pricey, handmade bamboo rod makers are a dying breed in Japan. Now is the time to get one before this ancient art is gone forever.
After dining on a delicious lunch of unagi (eel), at the Japanese chain Sukiya I meandered over to the Joseiji Temple.
Now it was finally opening time at Groundstore so I headed over to find the owner, Daisuke Tsuchiya setting up shop. Tuschiya and I quickly struck up a conversation showing each other pictures from our latest adventures, sharing information on our favorite places to fish, and talking about our mutual love of Tenkara. Tuschiya's English is very good and I ended up staying for an hour talking with him.
I would classify Groundstore as a lifestyle shop - with an eclectic collection of modern yet simple en-vogue clothing, glamping gear, and of course Tenkara gear (he exclusively carries Tenkara Rod Co. equipment, of which his favorite rod is the Cascade). There is also a coffee bar in the corner where Tuschiya makes a really mean cup of joe. Leaving without trying his coffee would be a crying shame, as his coffee making technique is exceptional. He sources his beans from a friend who owns a bean roasting business in Tokyo.
The owner Daisuke Tsuchiya
Groundstore is very easy to get to (although the map on his site shows the store in the back of the building when it's actually in the front. For first time visitors Groundstore is just off the main street. If the shop is open it is impossible to miss). Fuda Station is a relatively new station with several convenience stores located just outside of the entrance/exit. It is located in a quiet upscale neighborhood.
For any Tenkara aficionado planning a trip to the Tokyo region, you would be remiss if you didn't stop in at Groundstore - it exudes everything that is Tenkara: simple, functional, beautiful, and friendly.
Written by Isaac Tait who now lives in San Diego but dreams of returning, one day, to Japan. You should follow him on Twitter