From time to time I order the Japanese sewing magazine “Style Book” from the Japanese Amazon site, which regularly features a section about the Nippori Fabric Town, with a map attached. It always looked like a tempting place for me so when I planned my trip, I dropped a pin at the Nippori Fabric Town on my Google Maps as one of the several MUST VISIT fabric shopping destinations. Indeed the “fabric town” seems to be quite well-known for tourists who love to sew. I saw people with different ethnic backgrounds rummaging around for fabrics and notions, and even met two women from the US grabbing a full basket of Japanese floral print fatquarters for their friends.
The Nipori Fabric Town is conveniently located just steps outside the Nippori Station of the JR East Yamanote Line, with banners hanging on the main street like this to remind you that it is dedicated for fabrics:
This place is the fashion district of Tokyo. When you are here be sure to take a free copy of the directory map (English version available, check out the cashier counter area of any of the bigger stores) to guide your shopping. The most famous shop here is called Tomato – The shop has four branches spread randomly on each side of the street, for selling different types of fabrics (fashion, craft, quilting, home décor, etc) and so targeting different groups of sewers. Look around for the big tomato sign and you will not miss any of them. They sell all sorts of fabrics and notions from Harris Tweed to basting thread.
Out of the 90 fabric and notion shops listed on the official map, there are two other places that I also like: Elegance for their high quality fashion fabrics (they have one branch, the Store #21 on the Map Index, that sells only knits and jerseys, absolutely stunning stuffs!) and Momo, Store #8 on the Map Index, for their linens and cottons. Check them out when you are there!
Note I think the easiest way to go to anywhere in Tokyo is through the rapid transit. The Tokyo rapid transit network is perhaps the most convoluted but fabulous one I’ve ever seen in my life! There are two primary subway operators: Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway, making up a total of 13 subway lines and 285 subway stations. On top of that there are several subway lines run by private companies and tens of train lines operated by JR East. The railway and subway lines are interconnected and many times their stations share the same building complex. With a Passmo or Suica Card, you can transfer between lines “barrier free”. Once you understand how it works and with the help from Google Maps, you can basically go anywhere hassle free. My only advice is follow the Google Maps. It gives accurate route info (including bus routes) and time schedule 99% of the time.
On my next post, I will steer my wheel to Jiyugaoka.