Despite sitting right next to Shibuya, Shimokitazawa is a laid back neighborhood known for its rich music culture and vintage thrift shops. You can also find a variety of unique cafes and small bars, each with their own "personality" and more often than not, a passionate employee eager to start a conversation. With so many shops to stop by, it can be a bit overwhelming for someone trying to first navigate the narrow streets... That being said, here are our top 5 vintage shops and thrift shops to help you begin cracking open the unique shops of Shimokita!
New York Joe Exchange
New York Joe's is a curated thrift shop that exists in what used to be a public bathhouse. It's a must visit place for first-timers with its unique decor and wide variety of both branded and non-branded clothing. From 2002 World Cup gear to old wedding t-shirts, you'll never know what you'll find here! If you can, try and swing by on the first Sunday of every month, when everything is half-price! (Just be sure to watch your step, the floor of the spacious building is still very much a bathhouse)
Address: 3 Chome-26-4 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031
Located right across from New York Joe's, the next place you should stop by is Focus. This shop definitely has a more eclectic selection ranging from simple Carhartt shirts to bedazzled crop tops that otherwise might only exist in early 2000's music videos. This variety means that there's an item of clothing for every personality in this shop. Before you step in the store, keep an eye out for their discount board! Every tag is color coded, and everyday you can find clothes marked down at 30 percent and 50 percent!
Address: 小清水ビル 1階, 2 Chome-35-9 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031
At first glance it might look like a crudely assembled hut, but if you're looking for unique jewelry for Goodwill prices, or a film camera to document your travels, you need to stop by Sonora. Here you can find just about anything from vinyls, rings to interesting lighters. The shop has a cozy atmosphere and a friendly employee to help answer any questions you might have. This place is the definition of a hidden gem.
Address: 2 Chome-25 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031
Antique Life Jin
This small antique store is for those who love to take their time to appreciate small trinkets and vintage items. From simple things like bottle openers from the 90's, jewelry, and even artwork, this shop is like a 'Where's Waldo' book for indie kids (except every item is Waldo). Despite it's small size it would take hours before you were able to go through everything here. For those looking for one of a kind items, definitely visit Antique Life Jin.
Address: 2 Chome-30-8 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031
Micmo and Desert Snow
These chain stores have multiple shops located throughout the streets of Shimokitazawa, each one selling a different set of curated items. While they might lack the personality of other shops in the area, if you want variety, these places are always reliable. Though Desert Snow tends to have an odd number of Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts from all across the globe?
Address: Quite literally everywhere in Shimokitazawa