A MASTERCLASS IN VINTAGE FASHION SHOPPING – KOENJI, TOKYO

BY REBECCA ON DECEMBER 26, 2011 · 32 COMMENTS
Guess how many vintage shops there are in Koenji, go on, guess! If you follow us on twitter (we’re tokyo_telephone), then you’ll already know the answer, but for those of you that don’t: our last count was somewhere around 70. Yes, that’s right, about seventy shops selling vintage clothing just in Koenji alone, let alone the rest of Tokyo… It really is a vintage-lover’s paradise, and I urge anyone with even a passing interest in all things old and exciting to get to Koenji as soon as possible to have a good old rummage around.

With that in mind, we risked life and frozen limbs in the arctic temperatures last week to put together this post featuring forty-one amazing vintage shops in Koenji. It’s sadly not a definitive list, just over half actually, but I hope gives you a flavour of what’s around here, and the pickings are particularly rich in menswear and 1960s style dresses. I’m pretty sure you already know about Spank! and KitaKore and I’ve already talked about some other vintage stores previously, so this is a small (!!) selection of some of our other favourites…

Sokkyou – homepage – A charming selection of practically antique clothing that’s almost like taking a tour through someone’s house.

(Clockwise from top left)

Hoy-Hoy Station – homepage

Now Or Never – homepage – Now Or Never has a great choice of menswear, such as heavy jumpers, Vietnam-era embroidered sukajyan and some interesting silver jewellery too.

Yuri – homepage – Excellent Americana.

Trunk

Bamboo Horse

Nomad – Truly unique collection of old motorcycle helmets and related biker goodies.

Peep Cheep – homepage – Fabulously retro 1960s-era clothing, a must-see for all fans of this golden fashion age.

Kuro Benz – homepage – I’d quite like to live in Kuro Benz; it’s right up my street (almost literally!) and is one of the best places to pick up studded leather jackets, furry hats and cheesy cardigans. Love it.

and Pheb – homepage

Cord – homepage – Proof that it always pays to investigate upstairs!

Bernet – homepage – Lovely ladieswear that’s sure to tickle the fancy of anyone who likes leather bags and long skirts.

Oshare Gaijin – With a name meaning ‘stylish foreigner’, you’re guaranteed to come away with a smile on your face.

Morning Sun

Zool – homepage – Zool is a vintage behemoth, with 6 shops just in Koenji adding up to a vast vintage catalogue.

Jacob’s Ladder – homepage

Ionio & Etna – homepage – One of our new finds, a gorgeous little shop selling true antiques and things made from reclaimed wood. A really stunning place!

Hikari – A Koenji institution, kind of like a teenage girl’s closet exploded and filled a shop.

UK Extra – homepage – A nostalgia trip for me & Samuel! I love all the old school blazers, even though I hated mine at the time…

Mad Tea Party – homepage – A proper must for dolly-kei girls and boys, and fans of teacups and Masonic regalia too.

Vivid – homepage – One of the most interesting concepts for a vintage shop; everything has been made in Japan, a change from all the imports!

Encore

Safari – homepage – With three separate stores in Koenji, including one specialising in Ralph Lauren, Safari is making a name for itself.

S.O – homepage – Menswear paradise, with a great choice of clothing to keep you warm this winter.

Re’all – homepage – You had me at the huge pile of shoes outside! Also great for vintage Ralph Lauren jumpers and Italian handbags.

D Clothing: Noel by Hug – homepage – D Clothing is kind of amazing, and between the three stores (D Clothing, Noel and Hug) you’re sure to find something to treasure.

Kiki – homepage – A really cute little vintage shop, even if I am always a bit freaked out by the giant Barbies in the window!

Dai-dai – homepage – Under the same umbrella as Green Dot, Dai-dai is great for ladies who love the playfulness of Spank! with a more vibrant colour selection.

Scrap Studio – homepage – Okay, more furniture than clothes, but where else can you buy a genuine old school desk for such a reasonable price? Perfect for creating a vintage home!

Chiruru – homepage – Fabulous variety of retro clothing and homewear, and I was sorely tempted by some telephone-shaped buttons.

Super Old

Gasoline – homepage – A super-amazing place to by that perfect vintage leather jacket, and even more biker bits & bobs than you can shake a stick at.

JuRian – homepage – I was kind of in two minds to include JuRian as they sell some new items, but I’m sure mori girls and dolly-kei lovers will fall head over heels.

Mouse – homepage – I really love Mouse! It’s a little creepy, but there’s a really fantastic selection and Samuel even found an old fencing jacket there, along with some Vivienne Westwood rocking horse shoes – alas too small for me!

Jinjer – homepage – Brother shop to Green Light, Jinjer (as well as being right next to a temple) has probably the best selection of old Dr Martens boots in the world.

Whistler

Chart – A really huge selection of shoes and neckties just on the first floor – menswear heaven!

Yakusoku – homepage – An adorable little vintage shop, with an emphasis on handmade items too.

Phew! So there you have it – a mere glimpse into the wonderful world of vintage available in Koenji – seen anything that’s piqued your interest?

TAGGED WITH → dolly kei • fashion • kawaii • koenji • men • mori • shopping • tokyo • tourism • vintage
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AUTHOR
REBECCA
Tokyo Telephone’s womenswear editor – currently a Moomin.

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32 RESPONSES TO A MASTERCLASS IN VINTAGE FASHION SHOPPING – KOENJI, TOKYO
bunny bissoux says:
December 27, 2011 at 08:37
This is like a wonderful christmas gift from you to me. I can’t believe I live here and yet I have no idea where the heck at least half of these places are. I think I need to go on a proper exploratory shop very soon. If I still can’t find places, I’ll be requesting your assistance to drag me round all 70.

and a belated Merry Christmas to you both xx

Jessica Jane says:
December 27, 2011 at 12:18
I second all of the above. Yikes indeed! Well done you, and thank you, for compiling such a comprehensive list!!!

Rebecca says:
December 28, 2011 at 02:21
@ bunny bissoux – Hello! Hope you had a lovely Christmas! We’re both a bit gross and ill, but when we’re not infectious let’s meet up 🙂
So glad you like the vintage list, and let’s def have a potter around soon!

Rebecca says:
December 28, 2011 at 02:22
@ Jessica Jane – Hello! 🙂 So glad you like the list… I was rather surprised at the final total of shops, wowzer! 😉

Rachel says:
December 29, 2011 at 07:19
hi people usually say that the vintage clothes stores in japan are overpriced
I live in Australia and the vintage stores here are quite reasonable and cheap so i was wondering if you could tell me the price range of the vintage clothes in japan

Leanne says:
December 29, 2011 at 09:47
Gobsmacked!! Great job guys – so much info here for vintage lovers.

Rebecca says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:50
@ Rachel – Hi, thanks for getting in touch!

Hmm, that’s a good question. Firstly, I woud say that vintage shopping is totally different from thrift and even second-hand shopping, so I would never really expect a bargain as such. However, once you consider that pretty much everything has been imported, it’s all in very good condition (nothing smells bad!) and the shop itself is kind of a work of art… I do consider it to be good value.

Specific prices depend on the shop, the clothing style, and of course the exchange rate! If you’d like me to do some more digging around for you, I’ll see what I can do 🙂

Rebecca says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:52
@ Leanne – Thanks, and that’s not even all of them!

I’m already looking forward to a bit of Koenji shopping with you next year 😉

Rachel says:
December 29, 2011 at 14:29
Thanks for your quick reply! 🙂
Do you know how i can get to koenji from harajuku?

Rebecca says:
December 30, 2011 at 02:57
@ Rachel – Hello again! Koenji is on the Chuo line…

If you’re unfamiliar with the JR, then take the Yamanote line from Harajuku towards Shinjuku. At Shinjuku, change to the Chuo line towards Nakano, and it’s the station after Nakano. Hope that helps! 🙂

Affordable Couture says:
January 19, 2012 at 06:29
Loved the vintage marathon! Can’t wait to get to Tokyo again, haven’t been there since the early eighties!!!
My book, Affordable Couture, will be out late August or September.
What camera did you use for the pix in this post? Just your iPhone or do you have a good digital camera?

Rebecca says:
January 21, 2012 at 07:06
@ Affordable Couture – Hi Linda, thanks for the comment!
I hope my Tokyo advice makes it into print, haha. If you need a guide, Samuel & I do offer that service, so let us know if we can help you out.

I actually use a compact DSLR – a bit of an investment, but well worth it 🙂

Armchair Adventurer: The Fascinating World of 1Q84 « Knopf Doubleday – Reading Group Center says:
May 18, 2012 at 17:11
[…] a small residential neighborhood known for its shopping and underground culture. There are over 70 vintage clothing stores in Koenji and the neighborhood’s hip residents are documented on local fashion blogs. Koenji is also a […]

Tiffany says:
July 31, 2012 at 14:42
Hi Rebecca!

Thanks for this awesome blog post – I’m definitely going to refer to it often when I finally am in Tokyo this Nov and go shopping! (:
Do you know the rough opening hours for these shops?

Thanks!
Tiffany

Rebecca says:
August 1, 2012 at 03:42
@ Tiffany – Thanks for getting in touch!

Roughly, I would say that they all open in the afternoon, maybe around 1-ish. Koenji is pretty relaxed! I should also mention that they probably will take at least one off a week – if there’s a specific shop that you really want to visit, it’s worth checking out the shop blogs I linked to.

Hope that helps! If you have any more questions then of course feel free to ask away 🙂

Tiffany says:
August 2, 2012 at 08:29
@ Rebecca, thanks for your very prompt and helpful reply! That’s great, because I was thinking of only going there in the afternoon, around 3-4 pm onwards. Do you know what time they close? I’m also looking to be there on a Friday as that’s the only window of time I can afford during my short stay in Tokyo (:

jo says:
September 19, 2012 at 01:59
I will be in Tokyo in a couple of months. Do any of these shops sell second hand Miyake, CDG, Yamamoto? If not, any idea where I should look? thanks

Samuel says:
September 19, 2012 at 02:55
@ jo

These shops doen’t tend to stock many used brand designers, you are much better off going to 10two in Shibuya as that is the mothership of the brands you mentioned. Failing that Rag Tag, Rinkan and Kind (all have Shibuya shops) will definitely provide you with hours of browsing!

jo says:
September 19, 2012 at 07:18
Thanks Samuel, is there a particular area of Shibuya that the shops you mentioned are located in? Or are they seperate all over the area.

Samuel says:
September 20, 2012 at 02:25
@ jo

They are scattered all over the place I am afraid, but if you head up the hill as if you were going to Nude Trump there is a nice little cluster. I would recommend going to 10two near Tokyu Hands for the brands you mentioned.

Rabind says:
October 31, 2012 at 13:27
Im going to japan next week, im sure ill stop by at koenji.

Are all stores in one alley? Can anybody help me with the direction from koenji station? What exit should i take?

Thanks

A Week in Tokyo Part 1 – Kōenji (高円寺) and Kichijōji (吉祥寺) says:
December 6, 2012 at 07:45
[…] is popular for its vintage clothing and used record stores of which there are plenty to browse if that’s your cup of tea. I […]

Cyrus says:
December 12, 2012 at 18:20
I shoped at Mode off before in Japan. Should I expect similar sutff (price and quality — Made in Japan clothing) from all these shop in Koenji?

And Also this list is ver nice. Thank you for posting it for us. I am Vintage clothing fans.

Samuel says:
December 13, 2012 at 08:40
@ Cyrus

Thank you for getting in touch and your kind words!

To be honest I think all of the shops here will be of higher quality and thus also have a slightly higher price tag than Mode Off. Mode Off tends to focus on modern Japanese vintage so it is slightly different in that respect as well.

Cyrus says:
January 31, 2013 at 16:13
Thank you for your reply. The info is very helpful.

Nai says:
April 4, 2013 at 15:22
Hello!
I am currently on vaca in tokyo, where can I get designer vintage like the good stuff?

Thanks !

Samuel says:
April 6, 2013 at 11:11
@ Nai

We actually wrote about this in a separate post:

http://tokyotelephone.com/buying-secondhand-brand-clothing-in-tokyo/

Happy shopping!

1960s Fashion For Women says:
April 13, 2013 at 15:40
I have learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you put to make such a wonderful informative site.

From the Tokyo Shopping Expert (Not Really) | meeru♥mee says:
June 8, 2013 at 02:01
[…] you what i saw, since i didnt see much of koenji, take a look at this site for more information! http://tokyotelephone.com/vintage-fashion-shops-in-koenji-tokyo/ You can also find the Shimokita guide on that site that is a lot better than what i am writing […]

The new Buzz Rickson’s B-2 leather jacket | Overlymanlystyle says:
August 23, 2013 at 02:32
[…] a proper article about Koenji but, gentlemen, know that if you ever come to Tokyo, Koenji is by far the best shopping spot for vintage, military and workswear you will ever go to in your life. Maybe I exaggerated. At least in your whole life in Japan. So I’m looking for this shop […]

maged nessiem hanna says:
September 7, 2013 at 15:23
i would like to ask about 40 shinji nakashima family , i lived in their house in 1975 , also i visited them in 1986 , please i want know what about mama son , also the people in the street they know me as a girl now i think she is a woman now her name is tsumegi and her brother lyota and masaro.
please give my e-mail address i work now in abu dhabi.

Tokyo Garment/Fashion District. Which Hotels are close? – FlyerTalk Forums says:
December 21, 2013 at 01:44
[…] of “underground fashion” is more in the Harajuku/Jingumae districts. There are also a large concentration of used/vintage clothing stores in Koenji. A hotel in Shibuya or Shinjuku would be convenient for what you want to see, IMO. I suggest you […]

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