Fabric and Craft Shopping in Tokyo

by ilene on January 26, 2012 · 25 comments

in sewing, travel

Besides going on a massive hunt for kitkats while we were in Tokyo, I also wanted to shop for some Japanese fabrics and crafts.  Tokyo, home to HelloKitty and Pikachu, is like a candy store full of all sorts of “kawaii”  (“cute” in Japanese) things. I dragged my poor husband all around Tokyo, which might I add, is like the biggest megatropolis in the world, looking for cool things to add to my craft/fabric supplies.  (Don’t worry, we also went to Akihabara to look at electronics and geeky gadgets for him.)  In case you are ever in Tokyo and want to go on shopping spree, here is a list of stores we hit up!

1. Tokyo Hands Tokyo Hands is like the ultimate craft store, imagine Michaels and Hobby Lobby combined into a large sprawling multi-level department store. I was giddy with excitement when I rode up the escalators and saw 4 levels full of stationary, art supplies, cooking supplies, etc.  There are many locations throughout Japan (see all locations here). We hit up the Ginza location but the Shibuya location is even bigger – it’s famous for having a whole cat petting area on the floor above it!

If you are looking for gocco supplies, which have been discontinued by the manufacturer Riso, you can still find them at Tokyo Hands!  I was tempted to buy a ton of stuff, but the exchange rate is sooo bad right now, I just walked away with a few things, like these mini cookie cutters and silicone cupcake liners:

I am also obsessed with Japanese washi masking tape.  At Tokyo Hands, where one entire floor is dedicated to stationary, I bought a few roles of washi tape from there and a few from a bookstore in Taiwan:

If you don’t want to go all the way to Japan for washi tape, you can buy some online here.  The exact same rolls are actually cheaper online than when I bought them in Japan!! Darn exchange rate!

2. Yuzawaya – I was on a hunt for Japanese fabrics and online recommendations led me to Yuzawaya (multiple locations, see list of locations here).  I’m not talking about traditional silk kimono fabric, which I saw sold at a lot of touristy shops, but the thick cotton printed fabric that I am a huge fan of.  Japanese cotton prints are always SO cute and pretty!!  And the fabric is thick and a great quality – like a sturdier linen.  Japanese prints are pretty pricey in the States so I wanted to find it cheaper there.  Unfortunately, like all things in Japan, I was disappointed to find that Japanese fabric was just as expensive in Japan!!  Too bad, because Yuzawaya was a huge store stocked with all sorts of cute fabrics!

At Yuzawaya, my math skills were seriously tested as I was trying to do all the math conversions in my head (cm -> inches, yen -> dollars), I found that some of the fabric was even pricier!!!  So I allowed myself to buy only 50 cm each  (about 1.5 feet) of these 2 cute fabrics:

At 680 yen for 50 cm, these fabrics turned out to be about $16.60/ yard.  I’ve seen the pink hedgehog fabric sold in the US for a similar price.  That’s ok though, I ended up buying a lot of Japanese fabric in Taiwan which I will blog about tomorrow!

3. MUJI- I’ve been to the Muji store in NYC and the one in Taipei and I heard they have locations all over Europe, but the Muji store in Ginza in Tokyo is the largest one I have seen.  ( See Tokyo locations here. )  It spans 2 floors and even has a restaurant inside!  It’s like a Japanese Ikea!!  This shop is full of cookware, bedding, decor and all sorts of cool things all in the sleek, minimalist Japanese style.  I love the simple design of everything!  This Muji store had a huge baking section:

I bought these silicone baking molds and Jeff wanted to try out their green tea latte mix:

4. LoFT – LoFT stores are actually really similar to Tokyo Hands in merchandise and actually typically located pretty close to Tokyo Hands so you can hit up both at once.  Its full of Japanese stationary, beauty products, cookware and cool well designed products.  Its just so fun to walk through and look at everything.  The LoFT store in Shibuya is the biggest with 6 floors!  The Tokyo Hands in Shibuya is right near by at 7 floors!  If you go to the LoFT in Ginza, the Muji store is right upstairs.  I have no pictures because I didn’t buy anything neat except gel shoe inserts for my poor feet which were starting to hurt by now.

5. Kappabashi – We actually didn’t make it to Kappabashi, probably because I was too busy hunting for KitKats and Jeff was too busy stuffing himself with food, but I didn’t think this list would be complete unless I mentioned it.  Kappabashi, also known as Kitchen Town, is street in Tokyo where they sell lots of kitchenware, cooking supplies and plastic foods for really cheap.  I really wanted to go but we ran out of time.  That’s ok though, while we were  waiting 2 hrs at the Tsujiri fish market for our sushi breakfast at Daiwa Sushi, I wandered around the markets and found a cute little raku pottery shop.  I have a huge appreciation of Japanese raku pottery!  I think the colorful glazes and imperfections are so beautiful!  I actually took a raku pottery class in college where I specialized in churning out lumpy volcanoes on the pottery wheel.  These dishes were much better:

Anyways, I hope this list is helpful to someone out there!  Does anyone have any other tips where to buy fabrics and craft supplies in Tokyo?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 photoists January 26, 2012 at 11:09 am

This is very helpful! I’m going to Tokyo in April and I can’t wait to hit up some of these places!

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2 Sohyun Han January 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

This makes me want to go to Tokyo! I recently bought some washi tape myself but I don’t know what to do with it! Do you have any suggestions? Or if you have time, do you mind posting a project using the tape? THANKS!

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3 ilene January 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Hi Sohyun! Yes! I have done a few projects with washi tape already and took some pics. I hate using up all the all pretty tape tho, so i use it sparingly! I’ll share what I did in later posts!

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4 Lisa Johnson January 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I love to travel these days through others. Itis hard for me to get about. But my nephew has been to Japan several times and will be going back in a few months. Your description of shopping is wonderful. I will ask him next time raku pottery bowls. They are so cute. I bought some fabric from Hawthorne Fabrics that was really beautiful that was imported from Japan they are family own out of New York. I am glad you had such wonderful adventures on your trip.

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5 Natty January 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Love! Makes me miss Japan.

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6 craftandcraftiness January 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Hi! It sounds like you did a good job finding Tokyo fabric stores… It’s funny that you found it expensive – Having recently moved home to Canada after 5 years in Japan, it drives me nuts how expensive and low-quality fabric is here!

I’d add two places to your list, if you are ever going back… Nippori is a well-known fabric district, with all kinds of fabric and notion store lining both sides of one street. There are a few branches of a store called Tomato along the street that specialize in different types of fabric – apparel, home dec, bargain, etc – which are worth checking out.

My all-time favourite fabric store anywhere in the world is callled Cottonfield. It is an independent little store in Kichijoji (part of Tokyo) which has one floor of beautiful cottons, and a bunch of home dec and notions on the second floor. There are lots of fat quarters and precuts, and everything is beautifully chosen. It’s just the right size to send an hour in without feeling overwhelmed! There’s a Japanese website here: http://www.cottonfield.co.jp/
:) Happy shopping, everyone!

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7 ilene January 30, 2012 at 3:14 am

Thanks so much for the very helpful and thorough recs!!! I really appreciate it!! now I just need to plan another trip back and hit up Tomato and Cottonfield! -ilene

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8 Janette March 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

hi ,
Do you sell on line as I am looking to buy stamens for cake decorating are am told yours are the best but living in Perth is a long way to travel .If you do onlone shopping let me know what you have and wopuld be pleased to look at it.
Kind regards Janette

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9 kath November 6, 2012 at 1:32 am

THANK-YOU! for this list! Last time I was in Japan, I spent most of the time walking, trying to find the places I wanted to go to, not getting to many of them them, as it was so hard to find specific stores, and no locals seemed to know them either!! This time I am well prepared, and know the districts a lot better, so I plan on making it to ALL the stores on my list. This has been so helpful! My biggest tip for seeing specific things in Tokyo for anyone else reading is TAKE MAPS & store names (in English & Japanese)!

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10 Happy in Tokyo December 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Thank you to you and you husband for time spent, sore feet and for posting this blog. I am taking a Ikebana class (japanese flower arrangements) and I ran out of glue. So I set out to find the glue being used in my class and ended up with super glue which came in a similar tube. When I used said glue, it turned my moss from bright green to black instantly. In a panic trying to figure out where to find craft supplies in Tokyo so I can finish my Christmas Topiary, I have stumbled across your blog. And I indeed am grateful also to Craftandcraftiness for sharing her knowledge as well. I am off to buy some glue…and who knows what else….

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11 ilene December 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

YAy!! Glad this post was helpful to you!

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12 Sophie December 16, 2012 at 12:14 am

I was so excited to come across this blog post! Thank you for this helpful list. Shopping in Tokyo is super fun but can be overwhelming at times. This list helps me out greatly!

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13 jzzy55 January 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Your blog is the most helpful I have found. Spouse is going to Tokyo/Shibuya today so he needs appropriate souvenir directions! Thanks. I looked at a lot of blogs. Most were crappy photos with no text. You know what you are doing!

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14 J June 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Hate to nit-pick, but the store is actually Tokyu Hands (as seen in your photo) not Tokyo Hands.

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15 ilene July 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm

ooops, thanks for the correction!

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16 Linda August 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Hello, my husband has just bought me some SILK TAPE is this the same as washi tape please?

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