journal // 001

I first met Kana during my teenage years and have always held her in high regard. She has been a constant source of inspiration for me, akin to a guiding light. For those who are unfamiliar, "STARDUST" is more than just a gallery and café. It reflects Kana's unique worldview, a concept that took shape nine years ago in a serene corner of Kyoto. The space gradually took form through inner dialogue with a 90-year-old Machiya (townhouse), inviting visitors to reminisce about ancient times. It's a beautiful gathering place that respects nature's aging process and showcases Kana's compassion. Stepping into "STARDUST" feels like entering a timeless fairy tale. The air is imbued with Japanese cultural essence, and a subtle, almost mystical presence seems to embrace you, adding to the enchantment of the place.

Please enjoy this interview with Kana, the mastermind behind "STARDUST", a place that has captivated people from all over Japan and abroad. I'm sure that the interview will evoke a sense of magic within you.

"You are stardust on the earth - a beautiful piece of the universe."

kana shimizu // the owner of stardust and elberth

The annual Black Crane trunk show is held every spring at STARDUST’s sister gallery, Elbereth.

Momo: Please tell us about how "Stardust" came about?
Kana: I was inspired to name my store “STARDUST” during a summer 2014 trip to Denmark.
I was staying in a beautiful eco-village that seemed to belong on a different, evolved planet.
I encountered a beautiful garden, a symbol of a strong sense of community created by a woman.
The garden called the STARDUST Garden, was a beautiful and shining place with a vision that flowers are stars on Earth.
As a sweet and gentle breeze embraced the garden, I gazed at the grand oak tree standing in the center of the garden, eliciting a profound sense of joy.
Then, I suddenly remembered something an astrophysicist had told me before.
He said, “If you trace the cells that make up our bodies down to the subatomic level, you will find that they are made up of the same components of stars.
The cells that form our bodies have the same components as those that form stars. Thus, we are also stardust.

Before visiting Denmark, I had traveled to Russia in search of the keywords “human and flower” for my work.
All my puzzled pieces were connected, and I perceived the meaning of “human and flower” when I came across the Stardust garden.

We are stardust on Earth.

When I felt the “twinkling of stars” within me, the scenery in front of me began to glow softly.
I experienced a profound sense of joy. I felt as if the scenery in front of me began to shine quietly,
I wanted to create a space where both visitors and those who work there would experience such immense happiness that it would ignite a radiant spark within them.
What if we could create a space to share this profound feeling? All life on this planet, not just human, is made of the same basic components.
I will never forget how my heart was dancing when all my visions came so clear at the STARDUST Garden.
Then, one day, a few months later, as if by a miracle, I encountered this 90-year-old townhouse.

Beautiful cutlery is displayed in the gallery kitchen.
Gorgeous antique and new tea utensils (made by Ikumi Matsumoto) for the daily preparation of matcha tea. 

Momo: From the perspective of your true self, are there any rituals that you do?
Kana: Humor . Breath . Infusing Love
Making and drinking tea in the morning is a form of meditation.
Drinking a cup of tea each day provides an opportunity to reconnect with oneself.

Momo: How to define your personal style?
Kana: I hadn't really thought about it much, but I guess it's about being relaxed.

Momo: Please share a little about your background.
Kana: When I was a child, I was very imaginative.
As I grew older, I pondered deep questions about life, death, religion, and human conflicts. I sought my own answers by reading extensively during my school years.
In junior college, I pursued art and studied photography and color science.
In my twenties, I spent a year in Australia where I met my husband.
I lived in Berkeley, California for about 5 years and had my first daughter through a home underwater birth.
Upon returning to Japan, I had my second daughter through a home underwater birth as well.

In 2011, I moved to Kyoto, after experiencing the Great East Japan Earthquake.

In 2015, I opened “STARDUST” in Kyoto.

In 2017, I published my book “The free spirits of Christiania”. with Ariko Inaoka. The project will closely examine the elements contributing to Denmark's high happiness levels, including the unique community of Christiania and its independent rule-setting, as well as the presence of eco-villages and educational institutions like Holkehoiskolle.

In 2023, I opened a sister gallery named “ELBERETH” nearby STARDUST.

Kana purifies the beautiful stone-paved entrance with Uchimizu to ensure a warm welcome for guests. She looks charming with her barefoot.


a gallery and café situated within a Machiya, a traditional townhouse, where visitors can appreciate the beauty of the passage of time.

Momo: What is an inspiration and aesthetic of your store?
Kana: I have been reflecting on the significance of the name "STARDUST" for this place.
It signifies that all life on our planet, not just human, is made of the same components.
This implies that we are all part of the earth and the universe.
Even though I am running a store, my true passion lies in connecting with this concept.
I envision a world where people of all races and religions, as well as all living beings, can coexist peacefully by recognizing our connection to this planet and treating each other with respect and support.
Although it is a store, "STARDUST" is not just a place of commerce.
The core principle driving everything we do is the aspiration for it to be a space that fosters such a sense of unity, even if it operates in unseen ways.

This represents the aesthetics of my store.

Momo: Please share about your perspective on prioritizing the life you want.
Kana: Finding gratitude in each and every day and maintaining a sense of wonder.

The entrance to Elbereth is located in front of the torii gate of the Sojinja Shrine. A fresh breeze blows through the gallery and the shrine. It is believed that this place was once the villa of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, the birthplace of Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Ushiwakamaru).

Momo: What comes to mind when you think of idea of “life” ?
Kana: Adventure.

Momo: At present, what are you feeling most connect to?
Kana: The maturation of the collective consciousness of the people on earth.
The expansion of love will lead to world peace.

Momo: What is your favorite phrase or quote that is resonating deeply with you?

Kana: When I decided to name the store "STARDUST" and began to create the space
This poem was born.

“ You are stardust on the earth - a beautiful piece of the universe."
When the stars of the universe finished their lives, the stardust that was born became you.
You are a beautiful piece of the universe.

photography taken by miyuki yamanaka