If you want to learn some of the secrets of the ancient capital of Kyoto without leaving Tokyo, visit Kyoto-kan in the Akasaka district.

In addition to its normal display of thousands of made-in-Kyoto products, the shop occasionally rents extra space to invite Kyoto-based companies to open temporary outlets.

The current occupant of the extra space, cosmetics maker Yojiya, offers a glimpse of the beauty of “maiko,” or apprentice geisha.

Founded in 1904, Yojiya is well known for its “aburatorigami” (oil-blotting facial paper) for smoother skin. The outlet will remain in operation until Feb. 27.

“Women in Tokyo will understand why our cosmetics are popular with maiko if they try our products,” said Masako Takahashi, a Yojiya saleswoman.

The outlet offers 120 items, including hand-held mirrors, facial-cleansing powder and soap. Takahashi said the cosmetics are popular because they are gentle on the skin.

Yojiya runs seven shops in Kyoto, one in Los Angeles and a duty-free shop at Kansai International Airport. The company has also held sales promotion events at major department stores in Tokyo.

“This is the first time we have sold our products over a span of a few months in Tokyo. We want to expand our sales here by using this opportunity,” Takahashi said.

Kyoto-kan, opened in December 1999 by the Kyoto Municipal Government and Kyoto Industrial Promotion Center Corp., invited Yojiya to Tokyo in early December as part of its campaign to publicize commercial and cultural activities in Kyoto, according to Yasuji Kitamura, head of Kyoto-kan.

“Yojiya has supported the traditional culture of Kyoto by offering cosmetics to maiko, so we organized the event to introduce Kyoto culture to the people of Tokyo,” Kitamura said.

In addition to the temporary events, Kyoto-kan regularly features 3,000 Kyoto products, ranging from pottery and textiles to food, Kitamura said, adding that the shop has had 220,000 visitors since it opened.

“We have a rule that items must be changed once every two weeks to keep attracting frequent customers. We are always looking for high-quality products that can represent Kyoto,” Kitamura said.

According to Kitamura, many shops in Kyoto like Yojiya face difficulties establishing distribution networks outside of the city because of their limited financial resources. Kyoto-kan is trying to support small Kyoto-based shops that produce high-quality products, he added.

Kitamura noted that consumers in Tokyo have unique views on products made in Kyoto. Old-style Japanese towels, for example, are popular as tapestry for furniture in Tokyo.

“The old-style Japanese towels are no longer widely used in Kyoto, but their traditional designs attract attention in Tokyo,” he said.

Kyoto-kan, which has English-speaking staff, also holds cultural events every month, including tea ceremony lessons and flower arranging classes.

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