To anyone who has wandered the back-streets of Tokyo’s fashionable Harajuku district, I’m sure the chaotic joy of Bunkaya Zakkaten is well known. On the off chance that you’ve missed this wonderful gem of a store, I thought I’d take the chance to bring it to your attention.

I have a great love of higgledy-piggledy zakka shops; you’re never quite sure what you’re going to find, and it feels like an adventure that’s almost on a par with an Indiana Jones -esque romp. But in a shop. With a ton of stuff instead of treasure and fellow crappy bargain hunters instead of international baddies. Probably less guns and whips too, but considering a few establishments off the beaten track, maybe not.

I’m always slightly paralysed in such stores: I try to take it all in, decide I simply must have all of it – everything! – and have to some how limit myself to only one or two unnecessary purchases and have to endure the pain of leaving behind things that I don’t need but have become emotionally invested in in the five minutes since I first saw them (this often happens with things with pictures of cats on). Bunkaya Zakkaten remains firmly rooted in my mind as the place where I nearly bought a small bag made entirely of braided fake hair. Such is the power of the zakka.

Continue on for totally necessary unnecessaries…

Bunkaya Zakkaten – “The big green shop with all the kanji and stuff”

It seems that goods are spilling over from the crowded inside and are making a break for it…

Never before have I simultaneously wanted both medical posters and leopard print china. Or have I?

Both higgledy and piggledy. Bonus points of you play Where’s Wally with doll’s heads.

The joy of matching prints!

Perfect for hardcore gamblers/Alice in Wonderland fans.

A few of my top picks;

I’m not sure I’d be entirely comfortable drinking tea from that pot.

My dear friend Charlotte usually has to put up with me buying her bizarre cat-related omiyage. I think the men with moustaches & glasses would sweeten the deal.

Time to get a bit whimsical?

As you can see from the images above, the stock in Bunkaya Zakkaten is incredibly varied, and I’m sure there’ll be something in there to float your boat – sailor collars, religious ephemera and posters of vegetables?


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2 Responses to Bunkaya Zakkaten – Bountiful Tokyo Delights

  1. Leanne says:

    I have to confess I’ve never been in this shop! Next time 🙂 You describe it so winsomely.

  2. Tokyo Telephone says:

    Haha, thank you! It’s pretty amazing, but always busy so be prepared to elbow people out of the way… 😉


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