Vegetarian's Japan Guide

What to Do at Kichijōji’s Taishō-dori Shopping District

The Taishō-dōri Shopping District (大正通り) in Kichijōji, east of the Tōkyu Department Store, mainly consists of the Taishō-dōri and Shōwa-dōri Street. The street is filled with unique boutique stores and restaurants. Because most of them have a European theme, the shopping district is also referred to as the Scandinavian street (北欧通り).

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free design (フリーデザイン)

free design is a shop to stop by for Scandinavian-style home decor and accessories. Not only does the shop gather products from typical Scandinavian home accessory companies, such as Arabia and marimekko, but the shop also teams up with famous artists to launch limited edition products!

The shop is located on the second floor. The natural lighting from the floor-to-ceiling window makes the shop brighter on a sunny day. Besides the designer goods, there might also be a couple of unique items on the shelf. Compared to other similar shops in Kichijōji, free design’s products tend to be more stylish.

What is worthwhile to mention is that free design is marimekko’s official dealer in Japan. Thus, you will find a variety of Japan-limited marimekko’s products. Other brands’ limited edition products can also be found there.

In addition, fairs are held irregularly at free design. As not all products sold at the events are returned to the manufacturers, some rare items might still be there during your visit!

While the shop has a Northern European theme, the products are sourced from various countries of over 80 brands. So even if you are from a Western country, visiting free design is still worth it, as you will find items that are unique to Japan!

As most items are tableware, the shop is great for tourists who would like to improve their quality of life by using high-quality and elegant utensils.

Tip: If the Kamenoko sponge (亀の子スポンジ) is on the shelf, grab one! Compared to a regular sponge, it can remove stains with less effort.

free design’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • free design is open from 11 am to 7 pm daily except from the end of December to the beginning of January.
  • The shop is around a 7-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

36 Sublo (36 サブロ)

Because 36 Sublo is located on the second floor, it can be easily missed as you walk past. After all, the shop’s sign on the ground isn’t obvious either. However, it is a shop in Kichijōji for papyrophiliac. Beyond the door, a small stationery world will make you lose track of time. It is amazing how the shop can turn the ordinary items in our daily life into something that isn’t just useful but different. For example, the date stamps have other images included on the seal, so interesting or cute images are also included when the stamp prints the date on paper!

The beautiful range of stationery sold at 36 Sublo is mostly the shop’s original products, although other brand’s products can also be seen. Whether it is something nostalgic, cute, interesting or cool, you will be surprised by the wide range of stationery and miscellaneous goods tucked in the space. Apparently, there are over 2,000 different types of items in the small store!

36 Sublo also works with illustrators. The Kichijōji Elephant (きちぞうさん) is a great example. The oddly drawn light blue elephant with a bird living on its head and back was a collaboration between illustrator makomo and 36 Sublo. You can hardly resist not to judge!

Another interesting range we found was their sumo range. Images of sumo wrestlers carrying grocery bags and even dancing are printed on various small items, such as a chopstick rest!

The store was named after the owner’s grandfather, who also owned a stationery shop.

Tip: A good time to visit 36 Sublo is after 3 pm on weekdays as there are fewer crowds.

36 Sublo’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • 36 Sublo is open from 12 pm to 7 pm from Wednesday to Monday.
  • The shop is around a 7-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.
    • It also has a shop in Kyoto’s Fushimi area.

Tsubame Märkt

If you like vintage items, Tsubame Märkt on the Taishō-dōri Street is the shop for you. The shop that specializes in European antiques has toys, accessories, tableware, and a lot more on the shelf! It is like visiting a flea market in Europe! If you have anything in mind, talk to the owner couple. They will help you to find the products that fit your needs!

Even if you don’t intend to purchase anything, window shopping at Tsubame Märkt is fun. You might even find an old stereoscope here!

Tsubame Märkt’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Tsubame Märkt is open from 11:30 am to 7 pm from Thursday to Tuesday.
    • Note that it may close when the weather is bad. They will announce the unplanned shop closure on their website HERE.
  • The shop is a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

PukuPuku

In contrast to Tsubame Märkt, the foodware in PukuPuku is of Japanese style. You will find a collection of vintage tableware from the Edo to Shōwa period. The shop is almost like a small tableware museum! Whether it is Imari ware (伊万里焼), lacquerware, or celadon ceramics, each item has its era marked. So if you would like to bring back a few items with history, PukuPuku is the place for treasure hunting!

As soon as you enter the store, what will catch your attention is the large number of Imari ware plates. Many of the plates there are called Inbanzara (印判皿). They were made for mass production after the late 19th century. Instead of using a machine like it is done nowadays, the images were manually printed on the ceramics. Thus, the patterns can differ slightly and some might even have distortions. Part of the fun is choosing the ones you like the most!

You might think the antiques are expensive to purchase and are reserved for collectors, but this isn’t the case for many vintages at PukuPuku! The blue-colored Imari ware can even be used in microwaves and dishwashers! Isn’t it amazing that utensils from centuries ago can still be used?

The shop got the idea for its name from the bubbles produced by the goldfish on one of the Imari ware. In addition, the owner’s last name is Fukujū (福重). Because “Fuku” means good luck, by having two “Fuku (Puku)”, the owner believes that this may bring him and his customer’s good fortune.

PukuPuku’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • PukuPuku is open from 11 am to 7 pm.
  • The shop is around a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

CINQ (サンク)

The merchandise in CINQ’s bright and refreshing interior is designed with a simple and single-colored theme with an emphasis on high-quality and durability. It is a must-visit shop if you like homeware. Compared to other stores, items in CINQ tend to be slightly more luxurious, making them perfect for gifts!

Because the store only sells items that the owners have used, many items there might not just be great home decors but are also practical! As the staff also have used most products in CINQ, they may tell you how their products differentiate from similar ones found in other stores. You might even learn some tips and different ways of using something that you already own!

Aside from the everyday objects produced or designed in Japan, the shop also sources products from Europe. Clothes, canvas bags, and even jams are also a part of CINQ’s merchandise range!

In addition, CINQ is another shop in Kichijiōji that sells original products designed by the owner. Whether it is the handmade wallet or the glasses-style bookmark, the design is stylish!

CINQ’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • CINQ is open from 11 am to 7 pm.
  • The shop is around a 10-minute walk from Kichijoji Station.

Discover the Attractions in Kichijōji

Inokashira-Park-Cherry-Blossom-and-Swan-Boats-Kichijoji-Tokyo-Japan
Click the photo for the attractions to visit in Kichijōji!

Kichijōji isn’t just about the shops that we have introduced above. The neighborhood that was rated “The Most Desirable Area to Live” in is great for almost everything. It is also where the famous Ghibli Museum is located!

So, for more ideas of what to do in the area, refer to our Kichijōji article!

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