Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Nakamichi-dōri: A Street Condensing the Essence of Kichijōji

While Kichijōji in general is packed with interesting shops and cafes, the establishments in the Nakamichi-dōri Shopping Street (中道通り商店街) stretching west from Kichijoji Station’s north exit are particularly unique. With a total length of 540 meters, it is the longest shopping street in Kichijōji. If you have limited time and want to get a feel of the neighborhood, Nakamichi-dōri Shopping Street is the top place to visit.

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Soybean Farm (ソイビーンファーム)

If you like miso soup, stop by Soybean Farm on Nakamichi-dōri Street for some miso paste. The shop has around 30 different kinds of miso paste gathered across Japan, saving you time and effort in traveling. Because tasting is available, try it out before purchasing! Moreover, the miso paste can be purchased in the amount you prefer! Or, get their Miso Tasting Box, which contains six different types of miso paste for your families and friends to try!

Because the founder, Mr. Tsuchihira (土平さん), wants everyone to know that the miso paste isn’t just for making miso soup. It is a healthy seasoning that can increase our immunity. Thus, Soybean Farm also has a restaurant. Although it doesn’t have any vegetarian savory options, it has a couple of miso-flavored desserts, such as the miso cheesecake! Unlike Miso-an‘s miso-flavored ice cream we had in Kyoto’s Ōhara, the cheesecake’s miso flavor is milder. But it is probably the right amount of miso aroma, as cheese also has a strong taste. Because the added miso added is at the sweeter end of the scale, the cheesecake at Soybean Farm is more mellow.

Miso-flavored pound cake is another dessert dish at Soybean Farm. It goes perfectly with black tea.

Soybean Farm’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Soybean Farm is open from 11:30 to 7 pm.
    • The last order is taken at 3 pm.
  • The store is around a 5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Kichijōji Petit Mura (吉祥寺プティット村)

If you like the world painted in a picture book, you will love everything about Kichijōji Petit Mura. Entering its gate is like walking into a magical world! It is a mini fairytale-like village with a cat theme. The village has several facilities, including a themed restaurant, a cat cafe, and boutique shops. Not only is the fountain on the wall in a cat shape but cat paw marks can be found on the ground!

Wickie (ビッケ)

Wickie is a vintage shop with over 1,000 items in the small store. Although the shop is filled with antiques, it doesn’t give the impression of a secondhand store. Instead, Wickie’s bright and tidy interior exudes a welcoming atmosphere.

The owner used to study aboard and was touched by the antiques he encountered. Thus, he brought them back to Japan and shared them with those who love retro-style items. Everything you see in Wickie was carefully chosen by the owner and the shop manager on their overseas trips. Some of them were even purchased from collectors. Thus, it is a great spot to treasure hunt. For example, you might find vintage Arabia plates.

Besides secondhand goods, brand-new products are also on the shelf. While the patterns and styles of the products differ, they somehow all fit into Wickie’s vibe without being obtrusive. Not only is there merchandise from Western countries, but many products were produced in Japan. Whether it is the Mino ware (美濃焼) or Imabari towels (今治タオル), they are all good souvenirs to bring home!

Moreover, you will definitely notice the amount of Snoopy-related products on the shelf. The shop is a heaven for all the Snoopy fans.

Wickie’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Wickie is open from 11 am to 7 pm.
  • The store is around a 7-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Paper message (ペーパーメッセージ 吉祥寺店)

Paper message is a space of paper art space. As a store selling a wide range of paper products, the interior is decorated with papercutting. The paper item shop was started by a printing company in the Kōchi Prefecture. After starting their first shop in 2009, the company now has stores in Tokyo and Osaka. At Paper message, you will find almost every smaller paper product you can think of. Apart from letter sets and paper bags, there are even paper nail decoration stickers!

Many colorful and stylish paper products were designed by Paper message’s exclusive illustrators. From product design to printing, the process is carefully completed by staff in their factories. Thus, you won’t be disappointed here if you are after something unique.

One of the most popular products at Paper message is the Single Flower Vase Series (一輪挿しシリーズ). Real flowers need to be thrown after a week. Dried flowers aren’t colorful enough. But these paper flowers were made to last and thus your message and the good memory. The set comes with a bouquet, a vase, and a message card to stick it onto the vase. The vase is colored but transparent, so the bulbs and roots can be seen.

In addition, each Paper message shop has limited edition items. For example, you can find products inspired by Inokashira Park‘s famous swan boat!

Paper message’s Personalized Service

Besides the readily made products, Paper message also offers design and printing services to individuals. The best thing is the service is available even if you only need one final product! If you aren’t good at designing, you also have the option of working with a designer. So, many locals visit Paper message to create their original paper goods, such as wedding invitations.

Paper message’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Paper message is open from 11 am to 7 pm.
  • The store is around a 7-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Majerca (マジェルカ)

If you love shopping but also want to make a difference, come to Majerca. It is a shop open to provide the physically impaired in Japan a stage for their talent to be seen. Being disabled doesn’t mean the merchandise they made is of less quality. In fact, you will be amazed by their talent!

The shop was named Majerca, meaning mix (混ぜる) in Japanese. Even the logo is a swirl, meaning blending and harmonization.

The owner, Mr. Fujimoto, thinks the world is like a forest. Although every tree looks around the same at first glance, each tree is actually different and has its value. The same is applied to people with disabilities. Although they look different, each has a role to play in this world.

Majerca has a wide variety of merchandise. Keyrings, business card holders, earrings and hair ties, handmade dolls, backpacks, and ceramics, almost every type of handicraft can be found here!

Majerca’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Majerca is open from 11 am to 6 pm.
  • The store is around a 5-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Hara Donuts Kichijōji Shop (はらドーナッツ 吉祥寺店)

For healthy snacks, visit Hara Donuts. The donut shop opened by the Hara Tofu Shop in Kobe uses tofu pulp to make all their donuts, so it is satisfying and is a nice protein boost. You won’t be hungry for quite a while. If you are lactose intolerant, Hara Donuts is where you can visit for donuts. The donut shop takes its customer’s health seriously. Besides tofu pulp and soy milk, mineral-rich brown sugar is used.

Like other donut shops around the world, donuts of different flavors are on the shelf. As you are in Japan, in addition to the original flavor, how about trying a few flavors unique to Japan? The Tamba Black Bean Kinako (丹波黒豆きなこ), for example, is a nice choice. Seasonal flavors are also available. In summer, their ice cream donuts and fruity donuts are popular. Whereas during the apple season in autumn, the apple donuts with a pleasant apple aroma is amazing.

As the donuts are made from tofu pulp, the texture is dense.

Tips:
☛ Check with the staff to see if you can still eat the donuts in the Light Up Coffee next door.
☛ Don’t be put off by the queue outside of the store. The line moves quickly.
☛ Order the donuts without the icing if you don’t normally eat cakes and prefer less sweet confectionery.

Hara Donuts Kichijōji Shop’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Hara Donuts Kichijōji Shop is open from 10 am to 7 pm or until sold out.
  • The donut shop is a 5 to 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Giovanni (ジョヴァンニ)

Giovanni is another shop in Kichijōji for papyrophiliac other than 36 Sublo (36 サブロ). Like the shop’s vibe, it is filled with a wide range of European antiquarian-themed stationery. Along Nakamichi-dōri Street, Giovanni has the most luxurious look. Items on the shelf also look gorgeous and remind the customers about the lifestyle of the aristocrats a couple of centuries ago. Seeing the elegantly made quill pen, it is hard to resist not taking one up, writing up a letter, and sealing it with a wax sealing stamp and wax!

Stepping into Giovanni is like being transported to Europe. The owner, Takanashi-san (高梨さん), has been a papyrophiliac for a long time. Being amazed by the stationery in Europe when she traveled there, she started Giovanni to bring these wonderful items to Japan. Apparently, she stays in Italy at least once a year for about a month to get close to the culture, which is then transformed into ideas for decorating her shop. All the products you see at Giovanni were sold at the stationery shops she visited in Europe.

Although sending letters isn’t how we communicate with our families and friends anymore, wax seals and wax are the top-selling products. You will still have a lot of fun just by going through the colors and design of the wax and stamps!

Stationery isn’t the only type of product sold at Giovanni. As long as there is a price tag, it is for sale. You might even find items that can hardly be found in Europe!

There are many rare items that are hard to find even in Europe, so feel free to look around the store as if you were on a treasure hunt.

Giovanni’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Giovanni is open from 12 pm to 7 pm from Thursday to Tuesday.
  • The shop is a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Taiyaki Sora (たいやき そら)

Taiyaki Sora is a taiyaki shop that grilled the pastry one by one. The traditional method is called Itchōyaki (一丁焼き). As each taiyaki is made individually, the maker can adjust the heat level. The resulting pastry has a thin and crispy skin. The red bean paste used isn’t overly sweet. In addition to the simple red bean paste flavor, red bean paste plus sweet potato or rice cake are also on the menu.

Years before, when the weather is too hot to grill taiyaki, Taiyaki Sora becomes a Japanese-style shaved ice specialist. The ice used is formed naturally in winter, which makes the dessert taste better. Because the owner was from Okayama Prefecture, his fruit-flavor shaved ice uses fresh fruits from his hometown. Even fresh juice is used as syrup! Thus, even with a high price tag, Taiyaki Sora’s shaved ice is still loved by its customers. In fact, it is so popular that shaved ice is available all year long now!

Tip: The taiyaki can be reserved by messaging their Instagram Account.

If you speak Japanese, sit at the counter seat and strike up a conversation with the friendly owner! Your taiyaki will be served on a traditional woven plate. A special Taiyaki Sora mug with a cute fish image is used to serve drinks.

But note the price for dine-in and takeaway is different.

Taiyaki Sora’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Taiyaki Sora is open from 11 am to 5 pm daily except for Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • The shop is a 6-minute walk from Kichijoji Station’s north exit.

Avril Kichijōji (アヴリル吉祥寺店)

In Kichijōji, there is a perfect spot for Knitter. The store’s colourful yarns will catch your attention when you walk past it. A special feature of Avril’s yarn is its unevenness. You can find yarns with numerous things attached, such as dots, beads, and lace. Many spun yarns in the store are also made by mixing different raw materials. Or, a thread of different material wraps around several threads in different colors. Thus, if you are after a unique yarn, come to Avril!

The yarns sold here are mostly handmade by Kyoto craftsmen. Various materials are used, dyed, and mixed to create hundreds of yarns of different characteristics. They even use washi paper to make the special washi paper yarn. It has a paper texture but can be washed and folded.
Moreover, the yarn at Avril is sold per 16 meters, giving you the flexibility you need for your project!

Moreover, the yarn at Avril is sold per 16 meters, giving you the flexibility you need for your project!

There are DIY packages for different knitting experience levels. All you need is your hands and follow the instructions for many beginner packages. For example, the hairband DIY set only takes around 15 minutes to finish! So, if you want to make something for someone special, check Avril out!

Seasonal yarns are also available!

Tips:
☛ Avril’s yarn can also be used to wrap gifts and presents.
☛ Talk to the staff if you want to change the color of the yarn in the DIY package.

Avril Kichijōji’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Avril is open from 10 am to 6 pm from Friday to Tuesday.
  • The shop is a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

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