Friday morning couldn’t get here soon enough for me since it was the day I planned to set out in search of the area of Tokyo known as “fabric town”. It was also the first day that Brad and I split up and went in different directions. In fact he took the same subway line but was on the opposite platform. We kissed good bye and off I went on my quest. In fact, Tokyo is a very safe city and traveling solo was not a problem. A short commute and a walk and soon I had arrived.
Let me begin by saying that this place was like crack for fabric addicts. There was more fabric here then I could even begin to imagine. After awhile it started to blur together as one shop after another kept having better and better selections.
The first store I stopped in was the Tomato Select store. I think there are about 5 different Tomato stores on this street. The first one from the station is the full price store but this is where I found some Kokka on clearance.
I couldn’t help but think of my lovely friend Vicky when I saw this print, but I needed to press on in search of more fabric.
The second floor was a haven of Yuwa and Suzuko Koseki prints.
There was even a little box of bargain priced remnant cuts!!!
Just a few quick cuts and on to the next shop, which was the Zak Zak store. This store is next to the Tomato II store, which was the home dec store.
The Zak Zak store had a nice selection of Japanese kawaii fabric precuts which will be perfect for little Zakka projects. The prices were also quite reasonable. The largest precut was roughly equal to a fat quarter and cost less than a dollar. Unbelievable!!!
You also don’t need to worry about the language barrier because the sales clerks typically use the calculator or cash register display to show you the total amount due. The hardest part is sifting through the endless amount of change that is starting to accumulate in your coin purse. Word of advice: Use your coin change as often as possible. It will save on weight so you can carry more fabric.
Speaking of carrying fabric, many shoppers use rolling luggage to haul around their purchases. By the end of the day I was wishing I had thought of this ahead of time.
One of the last shops I stopped in is the biggest of all the Tomato stores. It is on the left side of the street if you are coming from the station and is also the farthest Tomato store from the station. In here you will discover 5 floors of bolt after bolt of fabric. This is a cash only store and is very crowded, especially around the clearance section on the ground floor nearest the entrance.
Plan on bringing plenty of cash if you don’t want to miss out on these amazing deals. I found Kokka and out of print Melody Miller for only 380 yen a meter. At the current exchange rate that is about $3.17 a meter!!! Totally mind blowing.
Please excuse the blurry picture but at this point I was going bonkers trying to figure out how much of this I could cram into my second suitcase!!!
When all was said and done I had about 30 pounds of fabric and had spent just under $300. That’s less than $10 per pound for some seriously amazing Japanese designer fabric, which consisted of Melody Miller, Kokka, Echino, Nano Iro, Yuwa, just to name a few.
Luckily Brad understands my obsession and love affair with fabric. Also for a brief second I felt a little guilty for buying so much fabric. But that was only until I realized how much fabric I was going to be leaving behind.
By the way, stay tuned for Brad’s post on his day trip to Koenji in search of vintage clothing.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” ~ Susan Sontag