In Japan there is a magical place called Fabric Town.....
The "town" is mostly a street, a mile long that holds close to one hundred fabric stores on both sides. With some of those store multi-level, that's a lot of fabric!
I've just begun planning my yearly buying trip / sabbatical / pilgrimage to Japan. I'll be in Tokyo for my first three days, initially in time for the Tokyo Design Festa.
For this stay I've managed to find a decently priced apartment right in the middle of Fabric town. In the past I've always carried many kilos of cotton prints from Fabric Town on crowded subways across the large metropolis, so this time it will be great to just take a number of little strolls down the road with my purchases.
Tomato is the most famous of the stores, from memory, five stories high, filled to the brim with different textiles and notions.
And I've just read rumours of possibly Japan-only release liberty prints available in the street as well...
If you're a button fan, you're not left out either....
Whenever I start planning my next trip to Fabric Town I start to feel guilty about my poor neglected, nearly finished manuscript of the Tokyo Fabric Shopping Guide. I start to consider ways to fund its completion, if I should approach a publisher... print it as a zine... do it as an ebook...if I should give Kickstarter a stab to help finance it. It's a project I want to dive back into and I'd like to get out into the world, to help share my love for the craft shops in Japan. I've started designing some cute artwork for the maps... thinking of extra advice to add for getting around.... I'm considering adding another chapter for travel outside of Tokyo, maybe on buying second hand kimonos... what do you think?
In the meantime, the brief details....
Tokyo's Fabric Town
Where - Nippori - Get off at Nippori Station on the Yamanote line.
How to get there - Take the North exit and then the East exit once you go through the ticket gates. Go down the escalator and on the footpath you'll see a blue and yellow sign saying "Nippori Textile Town" in English with a large arrow. Follow that and a few more signs until you come across some flags with "Fabric Town Fabric Street" telling you you're in the right area.
It's a good idea to drop the husband off at one of the coffee shops at the train station before you go, or even better, drop him in the electronics district in Akihabara. You could be a while... There aren't many places to sit once you get further into the fabric loveliness, but there is a convenience store there if you need to grab a drink.
Take cash, most places don't take credit cards. Expect that at many stores 1 metre may be the minimum purchase. Tomato (and my guess many of the other stores) are closed on Sundays and public holidays. They open at 10am.