Recently on my travels, I ended up in one of the most exciting places on Earth – Japan. While looking for places to stay I decided to look up “the Williamsburg of Tokyo” and found a gem by the name of Shimokitazawa or what locals call it Shimokita. Without much planning and reading a total of 5 minutes of recommendations I knew this is the place where I wanted to stay for my nine-day trip in Tokyo. Why? Because if you happened to be like me where you like to emerge yourself into the culture and the fashion of a new country, this place doesn’t get much better than anything else.
On my first day as I went up and down in the neighborhood of Shimokita, just a stop away on the train from bustling and lively Shibuya, and took funny pictures in a Japanese made photo booth machine I realize I was totally in love with this neighborhood. Not only that Shimokita has specialty shops, ramen houses, creative bars, amazing restaurants, record stores (yes, they still exist) and tons of places to shop; it also happens to have the biggest selection of vintage stores in Tokyo!
Discovering this hippest place is pure pleasure. For one, everyone dresses up to perfection, so you feel you need to put your part. Colorful palettes, simple silhouettes, and creativity in wardrobes are the norm in this zone. This neighborhood is a favorite spot for the arty types and students. As opposed to other fashion districts, where they love to flash their crazy creative outfits (Harajuku, for example), the people here stroll in fashion to go in the search of most unique items or to find the next cool band.
Although Shimokitazawa is not short of thrift and vintage stores, I’ve narrowed my list to three stores that I happened to visit back after my stay in Tokyo. So, here are the best vintage shopping spots in Shimokitazawa:
- Ocean BLVD – a large-scale selection of second hand, vintage clothing and handmade. It’s a very fun shopping concept where you can get lost for 1 or 2 hours among the locals.
- Flamingo – Although they sell new and used clothing, they have a wide selection of vintage buys. Time goes buy fast when you shop here thanks to the good music.
- Haight & Ashbury – my favorite find with a unique and not so cheap vintage collections. It’s the perfect place to buy something no one else will have back home.
Ikkyo Donut – the most heavenly, crispy and delicious donut you can have in your life. They are soymilk based. I had 1-2 a day!