(☞゚∀゚)☞ JAPAN 2013 MASTERPOST

Shimokitazawa (下北沢) was one of my favourite places in Tokyo - it is, in many ways, the 'Newtown' of Tokyo, with once-rustic buildings revitalised, if not on the outside then within, by youth culture. If you're at all into vintage clothes, secondhand stores or just have a fondness for small, cluttered spaces full of treasures you need to dig for, Shimokitazawa is the place.

It's a section of Tokyo that, really, should be taken in slowly so our rushed 'after-Harajuku' visit and half day on the second-last day was not entirely enough.

Of course it's after I return that I discover I left out Hello Sandwich's Shimokita recommendations when making my itinerary - I'm kicking myself greatly right now. Please visit those recommendations for my sake. For the record, my itinerary was mostly based on this blog post.

But here are a couple of Shimokitazawa fashion stores we visited that are worth checking out. Food will be coming soon - watch this space.

TOYO DEPARTMENT STORE

Not the big Kyoto one. I really recommend this place, if the sight of a skeleton wearing a wig lying in a glass box gets you laughing. The 'department store' is tongue in cheek - the place is a covered space with 'street's full of little boutiques selling everything from secondhand clothes to jewellery. It's all clutter and little trinkets and I adored it. Just don't bring heavy things with you - you want to be as light and 'small' as possible when squeezing through tiny walkways.

VILLAGE VANGUARD

There's a Village Vanguard in Shibuya too. Basically, it's the place for quirky items - everything from a Dali clock to dramatic manga plates to Wonka Mystery Chocolate Bars (they are really mysteriously flavoured). I was endlessly tempted to just buy up everything there.

slightly less creepy 'street snaps', drawn quickly in my sketchbook

STICK OUT

One of my favourite stores was a secondhand store and I scored some great finds there. Not a lot of things are particularly cheap in Japan so this is a rare opportunity for really cheap clothes. Everything in the store are 700Y, apart from marked, new items which are around 2000Y - 3000Y. I scored several hats, shorts and shirts there of really great quality. The clothes are organised very well and are pretty well curated too.

HAIGHT & ASHBURY

Really lovely, if expensive vintage clothing store with a wealth of items and can easily devour the better half of your day just looking through them - though most of them are very expensive. I find with vintage stores that the shoes are often the cheapest there, and for good reason, I suppose. We found brand names there and I found a gorgeous coat apparently from France in the 1800s and would have honestly been tempted to splurge a few hundred dollars if it didn't come with a matching dress that I didn't like ):

WEGO

Admittedly, we visited the Harajuku branches of WEGO more than we did the Shimokita branch. WEGO is a very affordable store stocking all the popular trends in Japanese clothing - most clothes are in the 2000Y - 3000Y range and accessories go as low as 100Y for rings and I scored a cap for 900Y.

On a sad note - I found a gorgeous silver ring which I called my 'Welcome to Night Vale' ring because it had a purple eye at the centre of the ring...but I lost it on my last day in Japan, probably while washing my hands at Tokyo airport. So much sadness ):

MUJI

I've loved MUJI ever since basically living there during my time in Shenzhen, a few years ago. Definitely a great place for lifestyle basics - I particularly adore their pens and notebooks. You can imagine my sadness when they picked Melbourne over us (for once)...

Slight caveats

  • SPOOKY? - Very gorgeous clothes and interiors but mostly menswear and quite pricey 
  • GRAPEFRUIT MOON - Nice clothes, mostly new. Not my style and slightly pricey (upwards of 3000Y is rule of thumb)
  • TSUKIMASA - Very small teashop with beautiful decorations. We didn't sit down for tea because we were looking for dinner