A unique store packed with unusual Japanese souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else.

Japan is known for its unique sights, and though a lot of locals have become accustomed to seeing them, there are some things that even they would classify as unusual, and one of those things is a kyoseiten. Our own reporter P.K. Sanjun has long heard about the fabled kyoseiten but never seen one in person, so when he made his way through the crowds at Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara the other day, he stumbled backwards in surprise when he finally saw his very first kyoseiten.

▼ It’s located just past the Showa-dori ticket gate of JR Akihabara Station.

Kyoseiten translates as “correction exhibition” with “exhibition” referring to a pop-up shop and “correction” meaning “correctional facility”. As the name suggests, all the products being sold at these pop-ups are made by prison inmates, as part of their work programs.

Some of the products made by inmates that are currently being offered for sale include:

▼ Aprons

▼ Bowls and chopsticks

▼ Chopping boards

▼ Pillows and cushions

▼ Wooden ornaments and tissue boxes

▼ Leather shoes

▼ Envelopes

▼ Notebooks and colouring books

▼ And wallets and coin purses

An unusual feature of the pop-up is the way some goods are sorted by correctional facility, giving you an insight into the types of items each prison specialises in.

The Hakodate Prison section was particularly popular, with a large crowd of people browsing its wares, which had the character “獄” (“prison”) emblazoned across them.

Yokohama Prison’s “Blue Stick” was so popular there was a purchase limit of one item per person.

Blue Stick isn’t a very well-known item but it’s said to be an “enhanced type of laundry soap” which can be rubbed onto heavily soiled areas to clean them.

Chiba Prison inmates specialise in leather shoe production, while Yokohama Prison’s products were mostly food-related, with items such as pasta and ramen being popular.

While the products are unusual, what makes them even more appealing is the price, as they’re all much cheaper than similar products at regular stores, with the best bargains being the wooden products and stationery.

The prison goods pop-up can be found at Akihabara’s Yodobashi Camera until 26 April, after which time it will travel to other locations around the country, shining a spotlight on the justice system through ramen and prison mascot characters.

Related: Kyoseiten Location Information
Photos © SoraNews24

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