When I get the chance, I really love going on a day trip to Kobe. It takes about an hour and a half to get there by train from Nara (on the Kintetsu line) but you can stay on the same train for the whole journey. Kobe is a really beautiful city that sometimes gets overlooked by the more famous Kyoto and Osaka. It's actually a port town surrounded by the sea on one side and mountains on the other. The town centre, near Sannomiya Station is a busy place full of shops and department stores. There are some really long glass covered shopping arcades in this area so you could easily spend the entire day just shopping if you wanted to. I think the city has a relaxed vibe with a bit of an international feel to it too.
There also happens to be a Rollo store in Kobe which is a big plus for me! The store is a little bit bigger than the one in Kyoto but they sell a similar range of antique and new buttons as well as jewellery parts and accessories. The shop is about a 10 minute walk from Sannomiya Station and is in one of the quieter backstreets. They have a giant button hanging outside the store! Here's a photo and a map.
Just around the corner from Rollo is RolloStock, a store that specialises in fabric, ribbon and all sorts of textile goodies. There's also some interesting shops and boutiques nearby selling clothes, accessories and home wares so it's quite fun to explore the area around the shop too. Here's a map showing where the stores are in relation to each other.
The last time I was in Kobe, I also visited one of Rollo's related stores called Brocantetit. It's a little different in style to Rollo selling a variety of antique and vintage goods for the home as well as paper goods, some buttons and sewing items. I found these gorgeous moving type letters there. In the past, they would have been used in a printing press. (You can still see some ink stuck the W!) They're actually quite heavy to hold because they're made of steel. I'd love to make them into some kind of jewellery in the future so I'll have to put my thinking cap on! I also bought these small metal buttons with stamped lace detail. I think they'd make a cute pair of earrings or cuff links. What do you think?