A Kanto Gem: Nippori Fabric Town for a Great Day of Textured Delights

During the hot weather, my wife and I moved our long exercise walks into the early hours. Our final walk took us to Nippori Station for breakfast, followed by a tour of nearby Nippori Fabric Town, a cluster of nearly 90 shops that supply retail and wholesale customers with fabrics and accessories for tailoring and costume design.


Shops selling surplus and imperfect goods from textile manufacturers began to be concentrated along Nippori Chuo Dori in the Taisho era.

Since their activities did not meet the needs of wartime production, many shops closed during the war years from 1937 onwards.

In the immediate post-war period, stores selling odds and ends, military surplus, US occupation force remnants, and used clothing from the United States were concentrated in this area.

In 1989, as part of a revitalization program, Arakawa Ward opened a multi-purpose hall on the main street, Fabric Town Street, with a focus on fashion rather than leftovers.

More recently efforts have been made to provide foreign tourists with multilingual material covering not only the fabric shops but also restaurants and bars in the area.

And of course there is a mascot.

I briefly interviewed Takeo Arai, who is in charge of public relations for the Wholesalers Association. He estimated that maybe 20-30% of the customers came from foreign visitors.


Fukushima Wagyu?  A new option as over 50 jurisdictions relax import restrictions on Japanese food

Businesses that had focused on foreign customers had taken a real hit from border restrictions. Still, foreign customers were just a bonus overall. Residents of Japan make up by far the majority of customers and visitors.

READ:  Amazon's Thursday Night Football: Was the Picture Great? Or a Buffering Mess? Both!

The shops

The quaintly named Tomato is the largest single store. The main store has five floors with all kinds of fabrics. There are also four stores nearby with a specific focus, such as: B. fabrics for interior design and decoration.

home business tomatoes.
Card with tomato complex.

Tomato also has an online sales page, as do some of the other stores. Nonetheless, I would encourage anyone who can to visit the physical stores for the ambiance and the pleasure that comes from discovering something useful by accident or just for the visual pleasure.

The fabrics on display range from classic and subtle to modern and bright.

Fabrics with manga and anime motifs.

Fabric with classic and traditional designs.

Other stores are so small and so crammed with merchandise that there is barely room for the owner and a single customer. In this case, it’s best to say what you’re looking for rather than trying to find it yourself.

READ:  College of Science’s J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series returns with live, in-person event | VTx

Between the tiny, cramped shops and the large but crowded Tomato, there are a number of shops that make for a more leisurely tour.

Spacious shop with odds and ends.

Streetside displays offer textile odds and ends that also range from classic to modern.

Classic fabrics.
And modern designs.

The small and medium-sized shops are mostly focused. Some focus on a specific type of fabric, clothing-making accessories, or dyed leather material in colors ranging from brown and black to bright orange and green.

Leather threads and odds and ends offered with a discount for bulk purchases.

Colorful odds and ends

Tassels, buttons and beads as well as metal items such as buckles and clasps also have their own specialist shops.

Pearl exhibition in one of the larger specialty stores.
Street Display Stand With Sign Saying Because we are a wholesaler you can even buy one at wholesale prices.

[npt-0009 Street-side display with sign saying because we are a wholesaler you can buy even one at wholesale prices.]

Metallic accessories on display in front of a small specialty shop.
Decorative ribbons.

Thread is needed to transform cloth into clothing and costumes. Street displays and stores offer it in bulk and as leftovers from commercial production.

An in-shop exhibition of sewing machine thread.
Sewing machine thread remnants on the side of the road.

get there

Nippori Station is served by the JR Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku and Joban Lines, the Toneri Liner, the Keisei Line and numerous buses from the major terminal stations in eastern Tokyo.

READ:  4 Instagram Accounts Sharing Iran Protest Updates That You Should Follow ASAP

Most shops are along Nippori Chuo Dori, which runs east from the train station, although some are on side streets. A map in different languages ​​clearly shows the locations and specialties of the shops.

other things to do

Old-fashioned cafes and a few restaurants alternate between the fabric shops. Numerous restaurant chains and cafes are located near the train station.

We had a large, surprisingly cheap breakfast at a rather funky cafe called the Discussion Room (談話室).

It advertises itself as Showa Retro, but as a sign of the times, our servers were Chinese.

If you go through the train station and up the hill to the west, you will get to Yanaka (谷中). This area is popular with both foreign and domestic visitors for its Showa retro atmosphere, street food, souvenirs, cafes and restaurants.


Fukushima Wagyu?  A new option as over 50 jurisdictions relax import restrictions on Japanese food


Tokyo has a number of shopping areas dedicated to specific product areas. Akihabara and Harajuku are known worldwide. Kappabashi also attracts foreign visitors, particularly for its plastic restaurant samples.

Nippori Fabric Town is lesser known but worth a visit.

My sewing skills are limited to substituting buttons and ironing on patches, but I value craftsmanship and design. Both can be found in abundance at Fabric Town, and the fabric and accessory displays make for stunning photos.


Author: Earl H Kinmonth

Photographs by EH Kinmonth. Find more stories about Tokyo and the surrounding area from Dr. Kinmonth with this link.

Source link