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.


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.


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


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.


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 ):


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 ):


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