Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fabric Shopping in Nippori Fabric Town, Tokyo: An advice based upon my own experience


Nippori is famous for the good price and variety of fabrics with so many, more than 60, shops. However, only if you meet the following conditions, you should go to Nippori. Otherwise you may end up a day terribly exhausted with a poor bag. You'll find better hunting in ordinary fabric shops in other places in Tokyo.

If you want:

  1. To look for getting INSPIRED by unusual fabrics;
  2. To look for fabrics for your particular projects which require relatively large amount of fabrics;
  3. To eager to spend a day anyway.
Why unusual fabrics are there:

Nippori was Whole-sellers Town historically although they have been shifting to target individual consumers. It seems they still have strong connections to both fabric makers and garment manufacturers. I believe that is the reason that they have unusual fabrics of a) overstock from fabric makers, and b) leftover fabrics from garment manufactures or interior makers. This also makes the price lower.


Suggestion to condition #1 Inspiration Seeker

  • First, you must go to Tomato Arch (Map#48) next to Tomato Main (Map#49). Go into the right door and don't look the left side. Around the entrance of the bldg., along the right wall there are a lot of 100 yen/meter fabrics. They are mostly unkown materials so judge on your own. Go deeper and down the steps and you'll find unusual materials on bargain. Sometimes it's thick Chinese silk brocade used for chairs or couches at 300 yen/m, synthetic coarsely woven fabrics in bright colors (what is it for? I don't know but I got it to make a beach mat), or a cotton printed of a sumo wresler's name in Kanji.. Don't ask me what it is for! I bought a synthetic python leather at 350 yen/m Tomato Arch months ago to make a bag and I found the same one was sold at 2300 yen/m at Tomato Main a week ago. It is a treasure hunting and each time things are different due to their incoming fabrics from their networks and probably the timing of inventory control.
  • Then you can go to any other shops. If you look for something Japanese, go to the 4th floor of the next bldg., Tomato Main.
  • Other unusual fabrics may be found at Zak Zak Main(Map #64).

Suggestion to condition #2 Particular Project Holder

The following shops are my favorite ones for their good quality.

  • High-end and designer brand fabrics for dress: Elegance (Map#31) Many designer brands - Valentino, Pucci, etc. ; Alon(Map#68)
  • Wool: ARAI FABRICS (Map#23)
  • Knit and stretch fabrics: Momo (Map#59), NAGATO 2ND (Map #32)
  • Lace, velvet, embroidered fabrics: MIKI (Map#56)
  • Linen: Yasuda Shoten (Map#69)

Suggestion to #3

Enjoy each shop as you go around!



Tea time:

If you like Japanese sweets and tea, go to Habutae Dango, established in 1819(!), which is shown in the official map, near Nippori Station. I recommend the main store among two where you can enjoy Habutae (meaning smooth silk - implying it's smooth texture) Dango in a well coordinated atmosphere. Read this English page for more information.




Pleas refere to my other page, Kimono and Obi shopping in Tokyo for those who don't know how to budget and how to choose.

Good luck!



  1. You are most welcome! Well-written blog and good advice you have there! Looking forward to reading more. ^_^b

  2. Thank you!
    I really appreciate your blog posts which helped me a lot to make this page!

  3. Thank you for posting about Yasuda Shoten. I don't know why I always stop at Tomato and head straight home afterwards. I admit I have little confidence to visit smaller shops, especially if I have to leave the shop empty handed. Thanks again.