Shopping

3 Best Places to Shop for Fabric in Tokyo

18 August 2016

I have been obsessed with sewing for a while, and it’s finally starting to recede with the lack of space in the house – having to haul a 13kg machine along with all my boxes of sewing tools in and out of cupboards is seriously no fun at all.

Before my steam runs out, let me share my top 3 picks on where to shop for fabric in Tokyo!

1. Nippori Textile Town / Nippori Fabric Town

If you only time for one stop, Nippori Textile Town is the place to go!

Seriously, this place is like a freakin’ fabric wonderland, with many, many shops clustered together, carrying everything you need for sewing, from fabric to notions.

Look at the sheer number of stores!

Download: PDF of map and shop list
Saved from nippori-senigai.com

Of all the shops available, my absolute favorite shop is Tomato.

To be more accurate, it should be shops, as Tomato has several different stores in Nippori, each carrying different items.

I like it so much that I felt I had to show you exactly how to get there!

1. From JR Nippori station, head to the South exit (North also works, but usually I go from the South)

2. Exit the station and turn right:

Follow the blue arrow

3. Walk towards the stairs. Follow arrows and make a right turn at the corner:

4. Cross the street and walk in the direction of the traffic:

5. From here it’s straight all the way (with one or two traffic crossings)

6. You’ll start to see fabric shops:

Almost there now…

7. AND WE’RE HERE!

The main building is the real deal, with over 5 floors of crafty goodness, but Arch carries some fabrics that the main building doesn’t, like fleece and denim. Check them both out if you have time! Enjoy!

In the meantime, here’s some eye candy. Don’t drool!

Part of the first floor

There’s a 100 yen corner – yes, that’s $1 for 1 meter! – on both the first and second floors, so pop by to see if you find a good deal! I don’t have use for 90% of the fabric they usually have on sale, but I’ve scored some pretty awesome fabric before! They do state that they don’t entertain questions about fabric in the sale corner though.

 

I love love LOVE fabric with gold accents!!!

Traditional Japanese prints

Anything you want, you probably can find here:

Swimsuit fabric…

Half a floor of satin and lace…

Silvery space-inspired pleather…

… and even lace to make a wedding gown, which by the way, was the most expensive fabric I spotted in the store!

There are carts for you to transport the bolts of fabric to the cutting counter, so be sure to use them! Previously, I didn’t realize they had them and struggled with 4 heavy bolts all the way to the counter -_-

It says not to use them to transport items that are too long (synthetic leather, etc) as it’s dangerous

Helpful notes:

The minimum amount you have to purchase is 1 meter (unless otherwise stated on the fabric), and in 10 cm increments thereafter.

Credit cards are accepted (Mastercard, Visa).

Store is closed on Sundays + PH and at 6pm on all other days. Check the store calendar to make sure you don’t make a wasted trip (like I did once)!

Not related to fabric, but if you’re in Nippori, do pop by Yanaka! It’s an interesting neighborhood located on the side of the West exit :)

Tomato store list: Japanese | Google-translated

Map to Tomato’s main building:

 

2. Yuzawaya

When I just want to pick up a small amount of fabric, I turn to Yuzawaya because it is more convenient than Nippori. There are many outlets sprinkled around town!

The outlet I frequent the most is the one in Shinjuku. It’s on the 11th floor inside Takashimaya Times Square building, which is like 1 minute away from Shinjuku station; very easy to locate!

Edit: The Shinjuku branch has closed down on 6 November 2016.

There are also many branches all around Tokyo (and Japan!) so you should be able to find one near you.

The fabric selection at Yuzawaya is not as plentiful as Tomato, but still pretty decent.

They also sell other crafting goods like notions, yarn, resin, beads, etc. too!

I’m a member so prices are pretty good, as I basically get 20% off non-sale items all the time. If you’re a tourist but can read and write Japanese, you probably can manage filling out the form. Membership is 500 yen a year and you get 20% off on the same day you join!

Helpful notes:

Unlike Tomato, the minimum amount you have to purchase at Yuzawaya is just 10 cm! (Sometimes there is a special price if you purchase a minimum of 1 meter. It’s usually labeled on the tag)

Credit cards are accepted.

Yuzawaya is basically open almost every day.

Yuzawaya store list: Japanese | Google-translated

Ikebukuro branch
Nearest station: JR Ikebukuro, East exit (5 min)

3. Okadaya

Okadaya in Shinjuku has 2 buildings. The one in the picture above is where notions and other crafting goods are housed.

As for the fabric building?

It’s hidden to the side here!

There are 6 floors of fabric goodness here! Although admittedly, I shop at Okadaya the least because it’s the most expensive of all the shops listed in this post. But I purchased from Okadaya on several occasions when the fabric I wanted couldn’t be found elsewhere.

Okadaya store list: Japanese | Google-translated

Shinjuku branch
Nearest station: JR Shinjuku, East exit, exit B13 (1 min)

 

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And these are my top picks for purchasing fabric in Tokyo, two of which I frequent a lot! I hope this post was useful :)

21 Comments

  • Reply Justine 21 August 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Those are my three favorites as well! Japan is pretty much fabric heaven lol

    • Reply Rin 22 August 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Agreed! :D

  • Reply Lani 26 November 2016 at 2:32 am

    *nose bleed*

  • Reply Linda Leung 10 December 2016 at 9:18 am

    Hi Rin,

    Came across your site and its awesome!!! So informative. Great stuff for my upcoming visit to Japan. I would to visit Tomato but don’t know any Japanese and the google translate tool cant read the price tags. Would you be so kind as to explain the information on the tag? I think the last number is the cost – Is that for 1 meter of fabric or 10cm? Thank you so much and I totally bookmarked your page

    • Reply Rin 10 December 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Linda,
      The price you see on the tag is for 1m of fabric :) You’ll need to add 8% sales tax to the price displayed on the tag for the final price. Hope it helps! Enjoy the shopping! :D

  • Reply C 17 January 2017 at 6:46 am

    Ah I never saw this before my trip to Tokyo last year! Will definitely check out the 100Y stall next time :)

    Also random question but I’m planning to travel round a circle from Nagoya to Matsumoto round the Niigata area and move west , conquer the peninsula, end up at Fukui and back to Nagoya. Do you have any recs for pretty cloth/marble or wooden plates and utensils/trinkets which will look nice for photography among those places :)?

  • Reply Maria 12 March 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Hi! Thank you for creating this little guide, it will definitely come in handy as I’m going to Tokyo next month. Do you know if tomato, or any other stores are dedicated to sustainable fabrics?

    Thank you!

    Maria

    • Reply Rin 13 March 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Maria, glad you found it helpful :) Unfortunately I can’t advise on sustainable fabrics. I hope you’ll be able to find some information on it before your trip though!

  • Reply Carol from Idaho USA 14 April 2017 at 11:21 am

    RIN, Love this post. I am coming to Japan in a couple weeks and Tomato is on my list of places to visit. You have taken wonderful photos and the tour to get there was simple and easy. I can hardly wait! Best wishes.

    • Reply Rin 14 April 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Carol, glad my guide helped :) I’m sure you will have a ball of a time fabric shopping! Enjoy your stay in Japan!

  • Reply Caroline Chapman 26 April 2017 at 9:54 am

    Thank you thankyou for your helpful hints and directions
    We went yesterday
    It was fabric heaven and my husband came too to carry my selections
    Completed my holiday
    Now back in Sydney waiting for a connection

  • Reply Hattie 12 May 2017 at 2:51 am

    Hello Rin and greetings from London

    I am visiting Tokyo next week and have found find your blog really interesting and helpful.
    Do you have any advice on where to go for the traditional indigo tie dye (binding) fabrics?

    Many thanks

    • Reply Rin 13 May 2017 at 2:29 am

      Hi Hattie,
      Glad you enjoyed reading!
      Unfortunately, I can’t say I know where to find the fabric you’re asking about :(
      Still, I hope you enjoy your trip to Tokyo all the same!

      p.s. I’m missing London since my trip there last November!

  • Reply OZ traveller 30 August 2017 at 3:09 am

    Very helpful. Thank you. The directions from Nippori station are great.

    • Reply Rin 30 August 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Glad they helpef! :)

  • Reply Jane 11 September 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Rin, thank you for your information. I make rhythmic gymnastic costumes for my daughter and am always looking for sparkly stretchy materials and pretty beaded or sequined fabrics or designs or diamantes- do you know if the Tomato stores stock these also? I’m not sure my family will let me shop for very long, looking at beautiful fabrics is very time consuming but you have a HUGE collection compared to what is available in NZ. Do you know if any of these stores offer online sales? I have not had much luck finding this out. Many thanks for your help.

    • Reply Rin 14 September 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Jane,
      I’ve never shopped for those exact fabrics before so I can’t say with absolute certainty, but I feel like I’ve seen the fabric you’re looking for in Tomato before. The 3rd floor of the main building has stage/costume fabric, so that would be where I would check first.

      These stores all have online stores, but they’re all in Japanese so it would be very challenging to navigate if you cannot read the language.

      I think your best bet is stopping by Tomato (or Okadaya, since it’s more central and you can buy more time by asking your family to shop elsewhere while you look at fabric ;) Good luck!

  • Reply Jennifer 13 September 2017 at 5:28 am

    Hello Rin, great article… and great blog ! I can’t wait to go and visit Tokyo in a month! 😉
    I love cotton fabrics for patchwork and quilting and I will try to shop as much as possible there. Is there staff in those shops to help you cut the fabrics or can you do it by yourself? As I hardly understand japanese, I don’t want to do anything wrong! In France, you have to find a person from the staff who will cut the fabric for you and will note all the references on a sheet of paper. And you show the paper to make the check out to a cashier. Is it the same? Last silly question, I heard that for notions ( I would like to buy needles, rottary cutter…maybe buttons and thread) or sewing books yuzawaya was great but now that is closed which place do you recommend? Many thanks for your help! Jennifer

    • Reply Rin 14 September 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Jennifer,
      The staff will cut the fabric for you! All you need to do is to bring the bolts of fabric you want to the cutting counter. After that, it’s exactly the same as France :)

      Only the Shinjuku branch of Yuzawaya is closed. You can see the other available branches from the link I included in the post above!

  • Reply Kristine Dawang 22 September 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for this post Rin 😊 I love to sew! And going to Japan next week so this is very helpful.

  • Reply Nour 28 October 2017 at 3:21 am

    Hello, thank you for this post, I will be visiting Tokyo on November 4th, my mom asked me for some japanese silk fabric ( and I am not talking about authentic kimono silk fabric ) just a nice quality silk , I couldn’t find any think on Google about silk price per meter . Mom needs 3 meters to make a dress. So I appreciate if you can give me some information . I will be staying in Shinjuku neighborhood.
    Many thanks

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