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design in japan?


d*s reader, jill is heading to japan in march and wanted some help with shopping- does anyone know of any great stores in tokyo and kyoto? i've never been so i'm afraid i'm no help, but i figured you guys might know something...thanks!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

the new march issue of lucky has a big section about shopping in japan. definitely worth a look.

also, in tokyo: you must go to tokyu hands and the life store. both are awesome.

11:29 AM  
Blogger peppermintlisa said...

check out the new issue of Lucky magazine. It had a special shopping feature about Tokyo. Granted more fashion-related but perhaps still useful.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

parco and muji...shop in the shibuya district in tokyo

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should definitely check out a large Muji store. If you're not familiar with them, they're a great inexpensive housewares, etc. store with a minimalist design sense. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Target and Apple (and maybe IKEA). See http://store.muji.net.

Another great, crazy, place is Tokyu Hands in Tokyo. It's a huge multi-story store that sells anything you could think of. IIRC, it's 7 stories tall, but each floor is divided into 3 sub-floors, each with its own theme -- you can start at the top and kind of spiral your way down through each section. There was a section for bicycles, a section for bath/beauty stuff (with a whole big aisle just for toothpaste), etc. This is the first place I encountered Breath Palette, the toothpaste with 31 flavors (which one should buy in Japan, if only for the charming misspelling of "California Orange"!).

If you're into food you have to hit the big fish market in Tokyo. And if you have a kitchen knife fetish, definitely visit the Aritsugu knife shop in Kyoto. (http://www.aritsugu.com/)

have fun!

11:53 AM  
Anonymous anh-minh said...

as mentioned, muji and tokyu hands are musts... i also loved the 100 yen store -- the japanese equivalent of a dollar store, but way more stylish than the ones we have here.

in addition to shibuya, i would recommend checking out the harajuku area. and roppongi hills is home to the mori art museum and some cool shops (like an orla kiely store).

i stayed in shinjuku, and i was surprised to find quite a few good shops above that train station. floors and floors of shops (including a muji).

if you're looking for places to eat, i found this site very helpful: http://www.bento.com/tokyofood.html

have a great time!

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out this article from NYTIMES this week. http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/travel/15tokyo.html

i would definitely hit up the large department stores. usually the food court, which for a design nut, are overwhelming because of the innovative and absolutely beautiful packaging trends, is on the basement floor. just start at the top and work your way down. takeshemaya (sp?) which has an outpost in the city (which pales in serious comparison to its Japan Parent) is amazing. have fun and i hope you have saved, because everything is very expensive there. ooh, if you like coffee, get the sweetened coffee drinks out of the machines. tasty, sweet and out of this world!

1:05 PM  
Blogger BitBoy said...

Add another vote for Muji and Tokyo Hands. Also, consider these places:
-Franc Franc home furnishings & accessories in one of the Parco buildings in Shibuya
-3 Minutes Happiness (another inexpensive dollar-store type place) in Shibuya
-For gadgets, try +-0 (plusminuszero.co.jp) in Aoyama, amazing clean design

1:37 PM  
Blogger BitBoy said...

In addition to Tokyo Hands and Muji, I'd suggest the following:

And for gadgets


1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

takashimaya in japan is nothing like the one in new york...it's more like a jcpenney. the one in new york is obviously appealing to those westerners with a japan fetish. you know...anything japanese "must" be good design.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Three Layer Cake said...

I think Franc Franc is part of the BALS group which includes AGITO (www.agito-web.com), J period (www.j-period.com), Koufourou (not really modern but more traditional) and BALS Tokyo (www.bals.co.jp)... Another curious thing to check out is Sugahara Glassworks (www.sugahara.com for address/directions) for Japanese handmade glass!

2:36 PM  
Anonymous jeano said...

Absolutely don't miss the showrooms in Aoyama - comme de garcon, issey miyake, yamamoto, etc. I would plan on a half day here just gawking at the showroom design, architecture and amazing fashion...

Spiral building - (an architecture galley), near above shops.

The shops in the Axis builing in Roppongi - DO NOT MISS Nuno, a tiny amazing inspiring shop in the basement. Shop is all textiles and some garments of Junichi Arai and Reiko Sudo textiles! My number one recommendation...

Definitely hit the dept. stores in the Ginza, each store has lots of locations in the city, but the Ginza stores are fun, feels like the center of the big ones. The basements for food, the top floor 'design' shops and the first floors for fashion accessory categories we don't even have here. I would choose Hankyu and Matsuya or Mitsukoshi.
Also, I can't remember the name, but there is an amazing stationery store across from the Ginza Core store, you will find it easily as in is always packed.

Shibuya for sure -- if Jill can find a store, I think it's called 'pink house' which I have been unable to find on the internet... and may have the name wrong... I would be grateful to have the info. I think it was in the 'Seed' building...?

Allow 2 hours for TokyoHands!

5:48 PM  
Anonymous thomas said...


quality shopping trips..even if its just drool over the store designs.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous em said...

head for daikanyama for sure. it's very hipster (like silverlake in los angeles) - several little vintage shops, design shops, clothing stores and restaurants. a friend told me to visit a place called Swimmer. It's the only name i remember, but if you can get there, you're in the middle of everything. also, if it means anything, it's where charlotte and bob in Lost in Translation went to have sushi. have an amazing time!

10:30 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

Most of these postings are about Tokyo...found this girlish blog from near KYOTo with a couple of cute pics of shops.
Thought your friend might email her to find out places to go. She may not be as design conscious but at least she is near the source.


10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Cat Street ...

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeano's post is spot on for great design stores. The best shopping by far is in Aoyama (Omotesando) -- especially the Spiral Gallery where great shopping is matched with fantastic art shows. Also Aoyama has lots of great European-inspired cafes so definitely have lunch there.

I also agree with the shopping advice in Ginza -- almost all the department stores also have great art shows on one of the floors so ask one of the lovely ladies (you'll see what I mean when you get there) who greet you at the door. Also, check out Harajuku (not because Gwen Stefani) because that's still the pulse of the Japanese youth. The department store in the area is LaForet -- and at least when we were there they had a great Lomo store with tons of cool photography.

Japan... there' just too much great shopping! You can't go wrong not matter where you go.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here are some new product infos.

you find at
Omotesando hills
address:4-12-10 jingumae
Amadana Bals Store
Bals store 1F
1-10-21 Nakameguro

find at
hhstyle.com Aoyama
2-7-15, kitaaoyama

or just check out at http://superfuture.com/city/city/city.cfm?city=1
there you find shops info in tokyo and many other places.

and about fashion in japan,is not such a extrem fashion like allready 10 or 15 years ago were trendy in japan.
you can look how people are wearing now.

3:54 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

As all said, Tokyu Hands (not Tokyo Hands) is a must-see. I would concentrate on several areas of the city, maybe 1 per day.
The most obvious and first to hit is Shibuya on the Yamanote train line.
Omotesando as one of my friends once said is the Paris of Tokyo. Well, she's never been to Paris so what does she know but it is a lovely tree-lined avenue to stroll down (sans dog poo). Omotesando leads to Harajuku, not to be missed for its funkiness.
Next is Daikanyama, one of the most elite up and coming areas in Tokyo. Look for boutiques with subtle refinement, nothing flashy like Harajuku.
If there is remaining time, I would also visit Jiyugaoka on the Toyoko line. This is considered one of the most desirable areas to live in by younger Japanese people, so there are plenty of shops and restaurants to cater to this crowd.

9:02 PM  
Blogger decor8 said...

Wow you guys are shopping freaks! Go team! Love all this info, it's great to read through all these posts.

Here's my humble contribution. I love this site.


11:00 PM  
Blogger erika jane said...

just because tokyu hands is so hyped (it's very practical for finding any neccesity under the sun) don't go thinking it's very high-end or uber-designer. then of course everyone from locals to paul smith go there...

also in aoyama, check out idée for real contemp. japanese intereior design.

i give my vote for designer naoto fukasawa's plusminuszero too.

btw, the already recommended amadana designer electronic brand has a new location in the dissapointment that is the new tadao ando designed omotesando hills monstrosity in harajuku/aoyama. (sorry about that tangent) there is another store, idea frames, for design goods as well in the complex.

muji can be found all over the place, from special station kiosks to shinjuku, shibuya, ikebukuro... but it's most fun to stop by the flagship in yurakucho.

the shinjuku franc franc is one of the better locales, as well as smaller one in the newly revamped marunouchi area, which also has an illums for the scandinavian fetish types.

across the street in marubiru, there is a conran shop, for those who don't hail from paris, london or nyc.

and i agree that superfuture is a good source for cult-fashion info. (more street-wear, antwerp designers, cafes, etc.)

and to add to the sofia coppola/daikanyama mention, it is a haven for a.p.c. fans, and has one of her milk fed stores.

all for now...

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Loft in Kyoto is a department store with many floors of great shopping. If you go to the fish market in Tokyo, go _early_ (not a problem, since you won't be able to sleep, anyway).

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...this is great. I'm planning a trip to Tokyo in July. I'll have to bookmark.

I'll back up March's Lucky. I'm counting down the days until I can go to the Muji flagship store.

Beyond housewares and clothing, make sure to check out the stationery, office supplies (my favorite store is Loft - it's affiliated with a department store but I can't remember which one right now!). Sounds a bit ridiculous but the pens are great in Japan!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous sk said...

Also check out the store "Keyuca" in Jiyugaoka; it has great contemporary chinaware.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous jill said...

thanks everyone for your feedback! it has been such a huge help—this will be my first trip to japan and i am pretty clueless where to go—having a designer slant on hot spots seemed even harder to find. but you have all proved otherwise. I've been making a long list of all your suggestions and looking up all the different sites....very cool. keep em coming if you have more! (my friend is making our itinerary and we'll be visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kamakura, and Hakone) ...and, come april, if i find any new stores/sites during my trip, i will definitely share!

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should read Jean Snow's blog at www.jeansnow.net . He covers lots of design-y things in Tokyo.

11:35 PM  
Blogger erika jane said...

(loft is found under seibu/parco dept. store)

5:01 PM  

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