Last week my friend Astrid and I went on a trip to Tokyo and in this post I like to share some of the places we liked a lot….
In the morning, after having breakfast is a French pastry shop in the Mitsukoshimae Subway Station (a lot of great coffee shops, restaurants and shops are under ground in subways stations!), we went to the large Muji store nearby Tokyo Station.
Muji was originally known as “Mujirushi ryohin”, a Japanese expression that means ” quality product without brand”. The value of a “Muji ” product in fact is the selection of materials, the care of its production. From simplicity of the project to the packaging. In Muji you won’t find products with excessive price, but just simple products of great quality at affordable prices. Muji has opened shops in many capitals like London and Paris.
It’s also a place where you can rent bicycles, although you have to get there at 10, when the shop opens, because there’s only a little number of bikes for rent. It is a bit adventuruous to cycle through Tokyo, it’s not always clear where you’re supposed to ride your bike. Sometimes you find bike lanes, but other times you have to choose between the sidewalk and the main road. Still it’s an exciting way to explore the city!
MannenYa (Mannen-ya ) , is a small but unique warehouse for Japan’s construction workers in Tokyo. It’s nearby Tokyo City Hall, where you can go up to the 48th floor to get a few of the city. Outside MannenYa you’ll see many pairs of colorful overalls, exotically but practically designed workman’s pants and shirts hanging while packed inside is an assortment of various workwears.
The items of MannenYa are not exactly high fashion but basic blue-collar gears. However, that’s exactly what draws the likes of fashion designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Walter Van Beirendonck
Nishi Shinjuku 3-8-1,Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
In Tokyo you find many, many shops and stores, but one I’d like to mention specially is Tokyu Hands. The stores often take up a number of floors in large department stores or stand alone stores in their own right. Tokyu Hands opened its first store in Shibuya in 1976 and was originally a DIY and hobby shop, hence the “two hands” symbol and green color of its trade mark. The main flagship store is in Shibuya with other large stores in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku.
Shimokitazawa / Shimokita
It used to be in Harajuku, but now is Shimokitazawa, commonly called “Shimokita” on the western side of Tokyo where the young and trendy individuals spent their time in the many small theater halls, live houses, bars and secondhand clothes and record shops. With its many narrow alleys that are inaccessible to vehicles, you are given a real sense of adventure while exploring the town on foot.
The secondhand clothes shops and shops offering items from the 70s and old animation-themed toys are quite popular. The number of large-scale shops in the area has been increasing, but the nicest features of this area are the many shops expressing the ingenuity of their young owners, such as those combining a cafe and a record shop or an outlet for small handmade items.
Shimokito is also a great place to watch Tokyo’s trendies and Harajuku girls stroll by!
Naka-Megura / Daikan-Yama
Just west of Shibuya which is popular with young people, the area connecting Shibuya, Jiyugaoka and Futako-tamagawa is known as the “Triangle Area.” On one side of this triangle you’ll find Naka Megura / Daikan Yama, an area which doesn’t just have shops stocking fashionable sweatshirts , but also cafes where you can try hot chocolate fondue made by French trained chefs.
On of those places is Le Cordon Bleu. The College of Culinary Arts is housed in this building, where you find a great restaurant / cafe on the ground-floor, with a large que in front of the counter. French food and the classic French way of dressing is a trend in Tokyo at the moment. Lots of French bakeries all around town and the subway stations and many girls wearing the striped ‘sailor’ shirt and a petite beige trench coat.
Mori Art Museum / Art & Design Store
One of my favorite places for great finds is the Art & Design shop of the Mori Art Museum at Roppongi Hills.
Entering the Museum building you first pass the sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, Maman Spider. You have a great view from the Mori Museum Tokyo City View. On the 3rd floor in the store you’ll find beautiful items, books and dvd’s by f.i. Comme Des Garçons and Yayoi Kusama. This time also a lot of Andy Warhol memorabilia and tableware and little vases which could be straight out of a Fred Flintstone cupboard.
Good Design Shop by Comme Des Garçons
My only disappointment was the stock in the Good Design Shop by Comme Des Garçons. Two years ago I visited the shop for the first time and loved it instantly. I bought a great ‘soccer’ scarve and saw lots of other great finds by CDG, like bags in black& white, cardigans, rain coats & jackets, wool patchwork hats & gloves and plaids. I expected to find some new items this time, but the stock stayed the same. For CDG devotees it’s a place you have to visit for sure! You can find the shop on Omotosando.
And if you like antique and flea markets, tokyo also has some which are worth visiting!!!
When you’re resting after a day of shopping in Tokyo, try to watch the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi or the movie Lost in Translation.