Tokyo Shopping – 4 Shops to Visit in the Hip Kanda Jimbocho Area!

Kanda Jimbocho is known as the world’s largest bookstore district. Recently, international celebrities have started visiting this area, making it now one of the hottest tourist spots in Tokyo. In addition to antiquarian bookstores and retro cafes, this fun shopping district is also home to unique shops specializing in Japanese paper, prints, card games, or antiques and artsy items. Here are four stores you must stop by when you visit Kanda Jimbocho!

Cute Showa-era retro sundries and original goods at “Former Tailor Tsuruya”!

Former Tailor Tsuruya

As the store name suggests, “Former Tailor Tsuruya” was originally a men’s tailing store specializing in made-to-order garments. The building, constructed in 1928, follows the architectural style known as “signboard architecture.” This style entails adopting a quasi-Western architectural design only for the front facade of the building, which serves both as a store and a residence.
The decision to close the tailor shop was made by the third-generation owner. Presently, the owner’s niece utilizes the building’s retro charm to create original goods and curate a collection of old and new items, books, and secondhand clothing.

The fun store lined with used books, clothes, tableware, accessories, antiques, and original miscellaneous goods.

According to the owner, Mrs. Iwafune, the aim of sustaining a small business in this kind of old-style building, is to keep it enjoyable and operational at the same time. She carefully selected “products that fit the store’s style,” and before she knew it, the atmosphere had evolved into what it is today. Having graduated from an art college, she gradually began working on original and collaborative products.

Nostalgic products – reasonably priced
Look at this cute vintage clothing corner!

Among the popular products of “Former Tailor Tsuruya” are pochette and pouch bags crafted from fabrics both from the tailor’s era and contemporary materials. The “Jaquette Pochette” series features bags designed with curves resembling a jacket, which is unique and charming!

“Jaquette Pochette (left)” and “Gamaguchi Pouch (right)” resembling a jacket

Products created in collaboration with illustrator Rina Yoshioka, known for her retro Showa-era touch, are also very popular.

Collaboration by Rina Yoshioka and “Former Tailor Tsuruya”: Delicious Tie “TABE-Tie”

So if you are going on a treasure hunt, you HAVE to visit “Former Tailor Tsuruya”!

Former Tailor Tsuruya
1-3-3 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest station: Tokyo Metro Jimbocho Station

Looking for unique interior items for your home? Check out Ohya Shobo, a store specializing in Ukiyo-e prints!

Old maps of Edo displayed on the large show window.

Step inside “Ohya Shobo”, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the Edo period! The shop offers Japanese books, Ukiyo-e prints, and old maps dating from the Edo period (1603-1868). We highly recommend considering old maps and prints as striking interior decorations. Their collection boasts a wide range of Ukiyo-e prints, with prices varying from reasonable to expensive, depending on their condition as works of art. With such a vast selection, you’re bound to find your favorite piece!

They have a large selection of ukiyo-e prints
Ohya Shobo
1-1 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest stations: Tokyo Metro Jimbocho Station, JR Ochanomizu Station

Explore Timeless Japanese Games at “Okuno Karuta Ten”

Founded in 1921, “Okuno Karuta Ten” (= Okuno Karuta Store) is a specialty shop for indoor games with a rich history of over 100 yearsThe first floor of the store features Japanese karutahyakunin isshuhanafuda, and other card games, go stones, go boards, shogi pieces, shogi boards, and other board games. On the second floor, there’s a gallery hosting exhibitions of their original artworks and Japanese game history.

(left) Sales space on the first floor. (right) Exhibition space on the second floor.

The store offers a wide selection of English games and games useful for studying Japanese. Games like “Sushi Bar” also make great souvenirs. Each game features beautiful designs and illustrations.

(upper left) “ZOO PARK” is a matching game for completing an animal with three cards; English explanations are provided. (upper right) “Sushi Bar” is a language learning game with a cut-out picture of a fish and the kanji for “fish” on two cards. (bottom left) “Nihongo de Asobo Kotoba Karuta” (Let’s Play in Nihongo: Proverbs Karuta) developed from an NHK educational program. (bottom right) “Takeo Takei Infant Standard Karuta” is a reprint of a classic karuta game.
“Sumio Kawakami Shiki no Tanoshimi Playing Cards (“The Pleasure of Four Seasons,” Playing Cards)” showcases Japanese aesthetics and the four seasons, featuring artist Sumio Kawakami’s work.

Many of the karuta and playing card games in the store are created by “Okuno Karuta Ten”. Karuta is a traditional Japanese card game where a reader recites a poem on the ‘reading cards,‘ and players quickly search for the matching card from a set of ‘grabbing cards spread out on the ground.

Various karuta games arranged by genre, including vegetables, animals, Japanese history, and regional themes.
Shogi stones, shogi boards, mahjong tiles, and hanafuda are popular among foreign tourists.

If you enjoy playing card games, “Okuno Karuta Ten” offers wonderful Japanese souvenirs!

Okuno Karuta Ten
X (old twitter):
2-26 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest stations: Tokyo Metro Jimbocho Station, JR Suidobashi Station

Lovely Japanese Washi Paper with Cute Patterns at “Yamagataya Kamiten”!

“Yamagataya Kamiten” Paper Store facing Sakura-dori Street in Kanda Jimbocho

“Yamagataya Kamiten” (Yamagataya Paper Store) offers a wide range of Japanese paper from various regions of Japan, along with original products crafted by the company. Artists, calligraphers, architects, and many other customers visit the store in search of beautiful washi paper.

There are so much more products than you would think at first glimpse – many Japanese paper products are stored in drawers and shelves inside the store.

Washi paper with printed patterns is a wonderful choice for gifts or personal use. You can select individual sheets to match your preferences or opt for a set curated by the store owner. These papers can be used creatively for making book covers, collages, origami, decorating photo frames, and more!

Japanese paper with a cute pattern. Some customers spend over an hour in this corner of the store.
This washi set is also an original product of the shop.

One of the store’s most popular products is the Fuji series of washi paper art, designed by the owner herself. Created as collages, these works have been transformed into unique postcards, offering over 100 varieties to choose from.

(left) Collage work using torn and pasted Japanese paper by the owner. (right) Picture postcard series.

Be sure to include “Yamagataya Kamiten” in your Tokyo shopping itinerary when visiting Kanda Jimbocho for a taste of authentic Japanese paper and crafts.

Miscellaneous goods that can be a wonderful gift, such as Japanese towels, tablet cases, items with the shop’s original character on them, Japanese paper earrings, etc.
Yamagataya Kamiten
2-17 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest stations: Tokyo Metro Jimbocho Station, Kudanshita Station