Updated: Feb 17, 2020
(All information is accurate of September 2015. The Yuzawaya at Shinjuku has since closed now. You can get the updated list of its Tokyo outlet at: https://www.yuzawaya.co.jp/shop/?area=kanto&pref=tokyo)
When my husband and I decided on a whim to go to Tokyo in late August (we only booked the air tickets 2 weeks prior to the trip!), I started researching on where I can go fabric shopping in Tokyo. Alas, I only managed to spend a short 1.5hr fabric shopping eventually – it’s terribly difficult to browse and shop with two overtired girls who refused to let me shop in peace, even with their daddy trying to ‘bribe’ them with yummy Japanese pastries! Nonetheless, since I have done quite a bit of ‘background’ work, thought I might as well share it here 😉
Yuzawaya – This is the only place that I managed to go to. It has a branch conveniently located on the 11th floor of Takashimaya Time Squares in Shinjuku. So, definitely a must go if you are staying in Shinjuku (which was what we did).* Yuzawaya is pretty much like a Spotlight / Jo-Ann selling everything you need for crafting and sewing, from craft books to notions, zippers to buttons, fabrics to yarns. However, I am unable to find a cotton jersey knits when I was there. Otherwise, prices are quite affordable, especially the fabrics on sales! They have several branches around Tokyo, with the one at Tsundanuma known as the best.
* Updated 2017 – The Shinjuku branch closed in early 2017. You can find the full list of Yuzawaya at http://www.yuzawaya.co.jp/english/group.html
These are what I managed to get eventually.
Okadaya – I had really really wanted to go to Okadaya. It’s a multi-storey fabric and craft store in Shinjuku, with one building decided for fabrics and one for all other craft. However, given our limited time and with the interests of the girls in mind, I decided to forego a trip there after Yuzawaya. For those who are keen to visit the place, do note that the entrance of the fabric store is apparently hidden in an alley, so rememeber to keep your eyes open 🙂
Bunka Fashion College – Bunka is Japan’s leading fashion school. It was founded in 1923 as the first dressmaking school in Japan. Its campus is located near the Shinjuku station, and includes wonderful facilities like library, costume museum, resource centre and stores for notions, fabrics and books! Do note that it is only open on weekdays, from 9 to 5pm. (I didn’t manage to check out the place as we were mostly out of Tokyo, in Hakone, during the weekdays!)
Nippori Textile Town – Without a whole street (Nippori Chou dori) dedicated to fabrics and all, it is a must-go place for serious fabrics shoppers! It’s near the JR Nippori Station, 12 minutes from the Tokyo Station, on the JR Yamanote loop line. Tomato is one of the most popular shops in the district, selling fabrics at wholesale price.
Hopefully I can continue to grow this list as I make more trips to Japan in time to come.
Even though my fabrics loots are not much to boost, I am happy that I managed to get quite a few Japanese sewing books 🙂 Kinokuniya at Takashimya is a good place to get these books (besides some of the fabric stores mentioned above), while Tsutaya, although great for its long opening hours, doesn’t stock that many craft books.
Cannot wait to try out the patterns! Pretty princessy dresses and costumes for the little ones 🙂
To end off, thought I would share some photos of the wonderful and whimsical playgrounds and toy stores in Tokyo, where I ended up spending more time there than doing fabric shopping. Well, maybe it’s worth it, since the kids really enjoyed themselves. I guess I will leave the fabrics shopping to my next trip (without the kids, maybe :P)
Photos are taken at Takashimaya that sells some really pretty, but terribly expensive, organic wood toys, the Akagi Children Playground at Kagurazaka and the Robot Park at the Sakura Zaka Koen in Roppongi Hills.