Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Monday, November 10, 2014

Craft & Zakka Shopping at Tokyo! - Part 1

Finally getting this post up! Let me first apologize for the lack of photos, as I was more focused on finding the places and ogling at the crafty/designer goodness...

Before heading for our Tokyo trip, I actually bought the Tokyo Craft Guide e-book by Frances Arikawa & Angela Salisbury from here. The e-book has really nice graphics and a wealth of information. As it was published in 2013, bits of the information was a little outdated. However, it was still a good source for my list of to-go-to's as well as being handy to have it stored in my phone.

I also went through my list of liked Japanese craft pages on FB to check for more recommendations. And while I was at it, my inner "stalker" went to check out a few of my friends' similar likes. It might sound kinda shameful, but hey, I managed to find some really cool places to visit!


Tokyu Hands

Shibuya might have the best Tokyu Hands in Tokyo, but I think the Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro is not far off the mark either. Our hotel was within walking distance from this Ikebukuro branch, and I had the luxury to make multiple shopping trips there.. If I had the ability and capability, I would love to bring the whole craft and DIY sections back home!

My only gripe was I shouldn't have been too hasty to make my major bulk of the shopping that late in the evening (on our first day of our trip... Over-excited much?). Tokyu Hands offer tax refunds for foreigners if they spend over 10000 yen on non-consumables. Which would be easily attainable if you are a "craft-spendaholic" like me. Trouble was they only offer the refund on the same day (no roll-over) till 8 pm. 

So, if you intend to spend over 10000 yen and want to get a tax refund, do so way before 8pm! Not too sure if it's the same over at other branches though.. (It was too early for closing announcement when I was at the Shibuya branch)


While planning our afternoon programme for our Mount Takao hiking day, I was torn between going back to Nippori and going to somewhere new. I eventually settled on Kichijoji since it is also along the Keio line.

We took the express train from Takaosanguchi to Meidaimae and changed to the Keio Inokashira line towards Kichijoji. We lucked out and managed to hop onto another express train.

I wanted to check out Yuzawaya but that's when the Tokyo Craft Guide failed me. The map in the e-book indicated that Yuzawaya was on level 7 and 8 within OIOI (Marui) building. The directory at the shopping mall said nothing about Yuzawaya and a number of shops were boarded up for renovation. Oh well, at least I got to take a look at Seria (similar to Daiso)!

Feeling a little disappointed, we took a walk to Nakamichi-dori where most of the indie craft and zakka shops are located.

Nakamichi Dori

It's a nice narrow street flanked by many small shops and cafes. Lots of cyclists too. I had fun looking at the vintage buttons at L. Musee, the beautiful myriad of novelty yarns at AVRIL and lots of wonderful knick knacks by known as well as indie designers at various shops. I scored a few Moomin postcards at coeur de coeur and other random goodies at Cotswolds.

The blue dots indicates roughly the part of Nakamichi dori which we walked. Zoom out to see where the Kichijoji station is.


After having a nice stroll along the street, we popped by Loft which was also in the vicinity. Loft has a similar concept to Tokyu Hands, though it lacks a proper craft and DIY section. But it makes up for it with its large selection of stationery, paper goods and souvenirs. Surprisingly, I found a small section dedicated to fine arts painting. Got my Japanese watercolors here!


While we were walking through the basement area back towards the Keio Kichijoji station, I happened to pass by a sign printed with the characters "Yuzawaya". Apparently, Yuzawaya has shifted to the 8th and 9th floor of the newly renovated shopping mall atop the train station! Called Kirarina, this shopping mall also houses a pretty huge bookstore on the 7th floor.

Kirarina Directory Pillar

I am glad I didn't give Yuzawaya a miss. It's always nice to visit a proper craft store in Japan (especially since Kinkadou closed down at Ikebukuro) and have, at one glance, a comprehensive selection of craft supplies. If I were to really compare, Tokyu Hands focuses more on the latest trending crafts and you might not be able to find everything that you need (especially yarn and fabric selection).


Harajuku might not be the first on your list with regard to arts or zakka shopping, but believe it or not, this is where a young and hip exhibition space, a really cool select shop and a Danish lifestyle store reside.

They are all within walking distances and if you do not mind walking a little further out into Aoyama, there's a shop that sells traditional goods made from originally designed textiles with a modern twist.

Design Festa Gallery

5 years ago, we passed by Design Festa Gallery. This time round, we made a point to visit the gallery. There were a few different mini exhibitions going on, showcasing mostly students' works. There's even a cafe within the gallery. While it may not be of a prim and proper "arts museum" style, it's still very interesting to see an edgier and grungier version of an arts space. Which is pretty apt for a place such as Harajuku.

Zentangle wall art

Sugar Town

Amidst what seems to be the residential area of Harajuku, a wondrous shop exists. Sugar Town, it is called, and it sells gifts of happiness.

We took a walk (while questioning ourselves if we were lost) from the Design Festa Gallery and almost missed the sign board. Sugar Town is located on the 2nd floor, and though not very big, it has a decent selection of products designed by global indie designers, including handcrafted items.

I got this really chic single-sided triangles earring by Fil et Bijou, and a piece of tenugui by our very own local Japan-based designer, Polkaros.

Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I have to admit that I only got to know about Flying Tiger Copenhagen because we passed by it while we were making our way from Sugar Town to Sou Sou. Which was a nice surprise!

While the name doesn't sound like much, this Danish craft and lifestyle store actually packs a punch! And very affordable at that! It also gives a very Ikea-ish vibe, which is always welcome in my book. :)

I actually got myself a pair of socks (with mustache prints!) because all my ankle socks couldn't make it for hiking (learnt it the hard way from our Mount Takao hike) and we would be having our next hike at Mount Mitake. While the socks cost only 300 yen, the quality is pretty decent.


SOU・SOU is not your usual shop that sells traditional goods. It is a lifestyle + boutique store which merges traditional and modern into one seamless style.

The main thing why I wanted to visit this Aoyama branch was that they have a section selling their originally designed textiles and tenugui.

More autumn yellow goodness. I also got a magenta shibori-dyed tenugui for my mum.

1 comment :

Jayani Withanawasam said...

Thank you so much for sharing about craft shops in Tokyo. Have you visited Aki-oka artisan in Akihabara? and Ningle Terrace in Furano, Hokkaido. They've got nice craft items too. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...