Art & Design


The Other Side of Japanese Culture

Posted by


Moving to Melbourne from Japan four years ago, Yutaka Matsuda (Matsu) worked in the kitchen of North Island cafe before opening Ura with his partner Hannah on Johnston Street late last year.

Matsu started his business because he felt the exported elements of Japanese culture (ie kimonos and antiques) didn’t reflect the subtleties and subcultures of his country. Ura, which means ‘the reverse side’ is dedicated to showing another side – Matsu’s side – if you will, of Japanese culture.

This includes an considered selection of Japanese fashion, artwork, music, pottery and general bits and bobs. There are pop-art kitsch postcards from artist Tadanori Yokoo, who designed Grateful Dead posters, a range of Muji clothes and the twin-toed Tabi shoes from Sou-Sou, a boot originally designed for construction workers to balance on bamboo poles and now popular with the kids.

And for the fashionista who has everything, Matsu has scoured the second-hand clothing markets of Kyota and Osaka and has brought back a booty of clothing. He tells me that in Japan there are cultural and religious reasons people don’t like to buy second-hand clothes, which means great pickins’ for those that don’t mind.

In addition to the imported stuff there’s a range of products from Melbourne-based Japanese artists, from the delicate pottery of Yoko Ozawa to music from Tailor Made for a Small Room. Most items are accompanied with a blurb about the artist, as Matsu believes it’s important for people to know the story behind the product.

And as you walk through the curated selection at Ura, you feel that Matsu is telling his own story.

28 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
9416 4503
Tues – Fri 12 noon – 6pm
Sat 11am – 6pm
Sun 11am – 5pm
Closed Monday

Photo & Video

VIDEO: A day in Melbourne with designer Andrew Chen of 3sixteen, New York.

In town for the launch of the new MINI Paceman store, we join Andrew Chen as he explores the streets of Melbourne - swapping stories, sharing ideas and talking inspiration with local artists and creators along the way.

Independent Photography Festival

This inaugural photography festival is aiming to take 'the title for largest prints-based photography exhibition and competition in Australia!'

What's On

LIMB: The Label

Melbourne based fashion brand LIMB strives to create garments that challenge the consumerist fast-fashion that our society has become so prone to.

Take 2 Markets Kicks Off At Queen Vic Market

Take 2 Markets will offer absolute bargain pieces of high end and designer clothing at Queen Vic Market.

MAArvelous Millinery

The fashionable folk of The Millinery Association of Australia are all set to wow you with Spring-ready headwear at this positively ‘MAArvelous’ event.