If you like used clothing, vintage, thrift, zakka and antique stores then Shimokitazawa (or Shimokita) is the Tokyo suburb for you! Shimokita is a sweet little neighbourhood located in Setagaya-ku, only a few train stops away from Shibuya. In Tokyo questionnaire surveys about where young people want to live, Shimokitazawa is always one of the top three responses. It's packed with teeny tiny six-seater bars, adorable cafes, loads of cheap and cheerful restaurants, vintage and retro clothing stores, live music venues, secondhand record stores, homewares and vintage stores and is generally known for trendsetting in youth culture. Come here if you fancy an afternoon wondering around people spotting, stay until sundown, have a G+T at Mois cafe, and try some delicious okonomiyaki.
2-26-13 PACKAGE ONE 1F Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
I think Lotty is my absolute ichi-ban favourite vintage clothing store in Shimokita. The store styling is just adorable and the selection of items just perfect! Think vintage embroidered trims, retro postcards, crocheted throws and cushion covers, 1950's glassware and a huge selection of vintage clothing.
2-37-2 1F Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.
One shop not to miss in Shimokita is Sou. Stock up here on MT tape, katakana + hiragana wooden stamps, hand-made fabric pocket tissue cases, Mori girls fashion pieces and loads of other zakka essentials. Also worth a trip for the custom made calendar given free to customers. I still have my one from 2008 up on my studio wall it's so cute. Perhaps it's time to replace it with my new 2010 one (below).
Sou is part of a family of three stores along with Five and Ten and Khopchai. You can shop online at all three of them at Five and Ten.
2-33-6 2F Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.
Commune is a mini-me shop stocking zines, art, and unique handmade goods along side it's teeny tiny gallery space. Look at these ear-rings (literally) that I found in there. Don't worry if you are not going to Tokyo any time soon, you can shop online here.
(Above Mois image special thanks to 8tokyo)
2-21-26 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Fancy an iced caramel latte? Lemon tea? Or just a regular coffee and cake? Or are you more a G+T and mixed vegetable plate type of person? Well fear not as Mois café has it all. Set inside a two storey old Japanese style house, this café is a super cool place to relax after rummaging through Shimokita’s vintage clothes stores. Cool electro music playing softly. Uber-cute Japanese peeps speaking as softly as the music. Couches and tables. Sneak peek online here or here.
Gracie's Mini Tokyo Potted Garden inside her Shimokita apartment
More Tokyo tips like this will be in my Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide coming soon! The Hello Sandwich guide will come complete with maps to make it much easier to get about! Phew!