My dressmaker friend is always going fabric shopping in Japan. On her last trip there she bought many beautiful types of fabrics that I had never seen before. I finally went fabric shopping with her in Tokyo last month. It was such a great experience that I think I will make this trip an annual event!
Tokyo, a city full of vibe and rich in culture. Everyone thinks of shopping, amazing food, temples and hot springs when travelling to Tokyo. I have been there many times, and just like other travelers, I am fascinated by their beautiful shops and the complicated train network.
Nippori Fabric Town
Nippori Fabric Town is a place all textile crafters should visit to fabric shop. This cozy district is hidden in the city of Tokyo. You can find all kind of textiles, accessories and anything fabric-related here. My spirit was lifted as soon as I stepped out of the train station – there was a big sign right outside of the station – Welcome to Nippori Fabric Town!
How to Get There
To get to Nippori, take the JR Yamanote Line (light green color), get off at Nippori station and take the east exit. You will immediately see signs leading to your destination. The Fabric Town is located few minutes from the station. Almost all the shops are situated along this street, but there are some hidden gems in the neighboring streets.
You can also get an official map of the area from most of the shops which shows you almost all the shops location in the area. You can plan your route before starting the shopping spree.
Sewing and Crafters Paradise
Although Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, some districts do have a slower pace. In Nippori, you cannot find skyscrapers or big shopping malls. All the craft shops are small, but every one of them is unique. Each shop has a different specialty, such as webbings, leathers, fabrics, sequins and beads, buttons, sewing machines and other accessories. You can easily spend a day in this area. This was my first time visiting this town and I was so overwhelmed that I spent over hour in just a button shop. My friend pulled. me away and took me to a big store called Tomato with multiple shops along both sides of the street which sells upholstery, garments, sewing tools and discounted goods. I decided to go into the main shop.
Tomato – Paradise of Fabrics
This place sells everything! The main shop is 5 stories tall, each floor sells different fabrics and accessories. They have a large variety of printed fabrics – from high-end imported prints to traditional Japanese prints. The fifth floor sells mainly imported and designers’ fabrics. The fourth floor sells traditional Japanese printed fabrics and sewing accessories, the third floor sells upholstery and the ground and second floors sell fabrics for formal wear and discounted fabrics.
Don’t worry about choosing so many fabrics that you can’t carry them all; each floor has its own set of rolling fabric baskets which can be used to wheel your selections to the cutting table.
6-44-6 Higashi-Nippori, Arakawa-ku. Open daily, 10am-6pm. www.nippori-tomato.com
Tomato – Seamstresses’ Paradise
Tomato not only has all sorts of fabrics, they also have different accessories – sewing tools, pattern kits, fabric scissors, quilting tools, bag or pouch accessories, sewing floss, different sewing needles, buttons, etc. You can easily spend half day at Tomato! As a first time shopper at Tomato, I bought almost everything, from fabrics to floss. I am lucky that my friend gave me some very useful shopping tips before getting there, such as preparing a list of things you want to buy and the projects you plan to do. This helped me to focus on the things I need instead of just being distracted by all the beautiful fabrics and accessories.
Fabric Shopping and Accessories Will Never Be The Same
Tokyo is a highly populated metropolitan area with advanced technology and one of the busiest train networks in the world. Tokyo preserves its own traditions and handcrafts. After visiting Nippori, I felt their passion to make every single detail perfect. They are so proud of their products when they introduce them to their customers.
My visit to Nippori was an eye opening experience to me. I discovered another side of Japan – friendly and relaxed. Sewing to me is a way to slow down and enjoy the process of creating something stitch by stitch. If you are planning a trip to Tokyo and you are a sewing enthusiast, put Nippori on your itinerary. It will never let you down.