A Glimpse Into Japan’s Thrift Shops

This article was first published in San Diego-based Fashion Magazine, Azorii in Jan 2019 for NYFW 2019.

It takes some time for first-time visitors to get accustomed to Tokyo‘s high octane energy—think navigating amid blinking neon signages, tall anime figures, life-like robots, large billboards of some Japanese celebrities, and facing the ever ferocious waves of humans at a certain crossing. To many, Japan is the land of fresh sushi, rich heritage and of course, the gorgeous hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in Spring. They are not wrong of course, but to the fashion curious, Japan can be so much more.

The Land of the Rising Sun is also well-known for their creative fashion sense and what many are unaware about is the plethora of vintage thrift shops hidden amidst your ramen stands and old-school retro arcades. With an assortment of styles that appeals to everyone, from the conservative to the daring young-at-heart, it is possible for one to spend hours rummaging through densely-packed racks of garbs and garments, only to be torn with the desire to purchase everything and anything.

From resplendent pop-ups to fast fashion classics, thrift shopping in Japan is like grasping at straws. It requires scintillating wit and at times, stoic composure. And this, I guess makes the hunt for the best vintage clothing in Tokyo all the more alluring.

Kinji Used Clothing, Harajuku Branch

Thrift Shop Kinji 1

With a reputation as one of the most renowned thrift shops in Japan, Kinji offers an eclectic, all-encompassing selection of second-hand apparels for both sexes and all sizes, with racks of clothing classified according to its price point.

Thrift Shop Kinji 2

Conveniently located near Harajuku, Tokyo, it is no wonder this commercialized giant is popular amongst many Japanese youths. If you’re thinking of shopping here, it’d be wise to note that prices here in Winter will be slightly more expensive than the other seasons. 

Address: 〒150-0001 Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 4 Chome−31−1 0  YMスクエア原宿B1F

Chicago, Omotesando

Thrift Shop - Chicago 1

Situated inconspicuously at a turn of a building and with an entrance that seems uncomely, the basement of Chicago is where the delights are stashed. First-time visitors to Chicago will undoubtedly be put in an ephemeral daze at the maze-like basement, where goods are strategically compartmentalized.

Thrift Shop - Chicago 2

A haven for those seeking to add more denim to their collection, Chicago is notable for stockpiling some of the most authentic and rather diverse set of American vintage streetwear.

Address: 6 Chome−6−31−21, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, Tokyo, Japan

Flamingo in Harajuku

Thrift Shop Flamingo 1

Unlike Chicago and Kinji, Flamingo sells vintage clothing at a slightly lavish price point. But this should not deter anyone from entering the store for its multifarious fares a pretty nice and rather exclusive selection of wares that ranges from the old-school 1950s to the modern hipster. With various outlets all about Japan, this crammed-but-cosy nook is a crowd favorite amongst the discerning tourists and stylish Japanese youths.

Thrift Shop Flamingo 3

Address: 〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 4 Chome−4− 2 6 – 2 8

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