KITADOKO Barber Shop, Established in 1871, History, Respect and Care for the Little Big Things

The Super Bowl Kick Off Time for fans living in Japan is painfully early and convenient only to Parties serving Breakfast, Mimosa, Bloody Marys and Cold Draft Beer for the intrepid.  We woke at 6 AM, traveled to our favorite Sports Bar in Hiroo, enjoyed a spicy breakfast conducive to cold beverages and witnessed a Great Green Bay-Pittsburg Championship Football Game (inclusive of the Black Eyed Peas half time show).  
The question:  what do you do at 11:30 AM on a Monday Morning after leaving a Super Bowl Party? You guessed it; your wife goes to Hot Yoga and you try out a famous Traditional Barbershop in Shibuya. 
The Kitadoko “Hair Salon” dates back to the Japanese Meiji Era (1871) and has been owned and operated by five generations of the Funakoshi Family.  As a student of Things Japanese it was a rare opportunity to look over artifacts proudly displayed and experience the same professional service and skill as Japanese Men whose names grace History Books. It is quite a list including Natsume Soseki (Author) , Nitobe Inazo (Statesman), and Hirobumi Ito (Japan’s First Prime Minister). 

On display was an original Congress Hydraulic Chair imported from the Dellar Barbers Supply Company of  1321 First Avenue, Seattle, Washington, USA.  They gave me a tour of antiques that included photographs, the Dellar Barber Supply Catalog, a Meiji Era Porcelain Shaving Bowl, old coins, bills and tobacco tins.  The mirror at the front door dates back to the original shop located in front of the Prestigious Tokyo University where much of the clientele worked or studied. 

From the early years of the shops existence the Funakoshi Management practiced the philosophy of caring for a customer’s physical and mental well being. Natsume  Soseki set the trend for a quiet atmosphere by replying to a Barber’s comment on the weather by saying “who cares, I’m here for a haircut and to relax.”  Until this day a customer will enjoy his experience without unsolicited conversation or hint of rush or urgency. My Hair Cut was indeed relaxing and was accompanied with a shave, shampoo & followed by a short face, shoulder, head and back massage.  The “Cut Course” took about 80 minutes and the fee was 5460 Yen.

Little Big Things: 
-Mr. Funakoshi took my glasses and cleaned them perfectly.
-A humidifying mist was sprayed on my face during the massage portion of the course.
-The staff use combinations of scissors, straight edge blades and electric clippers accordingly as results and patient comfort trump speed and efficiency at the KITADOKO Hair Salon.
-Customers have their choice of Tea or Coffee after the Course is finished.
-The KITADOKO accepts Credit Cards
-Mr. Funakoshi and his daughter kindly allowed photos and gave permission to Post them in this Blog.

Time spent at the KITADOKO was really a treat.  I’d recommend it to anyone ready to relax and enjoy time tested professional service.  When you start by caring for the top knots of Samurai and are still in business after 142 Years; you are doing a lot of things right.

Hair Salon Kitadoko  http://www.kitadoko.com/

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