West Tokyo is home to some enormously popular destinations: Koenji is unbeatable for vintage shopping, punk culture and endless watering holes and Kichijoji’s shopping mecca borders Inokashira Park, home to some of the best cherry blossoms in Tokyo and the much-loved Ghibli Museum. With so much excitement nearby, Nishi Ogikubo often gets overlooked, but this quirky residential neighbourhood is home to plenty of excellent attractions: scads of great ramen shops, top-shelf art galleries, and eclectic shopping. Check out our handy list of where to shop in this charming neighbourhood.
Just north of Nishi Ogikubo station, Rozan showcases the work of potter Fumihiko Oshima. For more than 30 years, Oshima has been selling his deceptively simple ceramics, which results not only in exquisite work but also firsthand knowledge of his craft. Rozan also doubles as a gallery, wtih Oshima curating a monthly showcase of work from other artisans. There are so many beautiful pieces lining the walls, you’ll need some serious will power not to go whole-hog and grab one of everything.
(handmade ceramics and other goods)
364’s is based on a philosophy of practical simplicity: the tools we use everyday are often overlooked, but they should be meaningful to us. Accordingly, this minimally-designed store showcases carefully crafted cooking tools, serving utensils, sauces, preserves, and teas that aim to make everyday special. Instead of filling your home with expensive gadgets like water carbonators and egg cubers (yes, these do exist), 364 advises you opt for beautifully simple tools that make even the dullest household chore a pleasure.
Our last stop is Poubelle, an alternative antique shop north of Nishi Ogikubo Station. With everything from Edo-era finery to antique-inspired curiosities made right in the shop, it’s easy to find an item whose story speaks to you. When it comes to antiques, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and Poubelle–whose name appropriately comes from the French for “trash can”–has rounded up a sublime collection of can’t-miss classics.
The image of Grandpa’s old clock will always bring warmth to our busy lives. TRIFLE, which is filled with vintage clocks, antiques and other memory-filled objects will give you this nostalgic feeling, like the one you get when you imagine Grandpa’s old clock. They’ll also assist in taking care of your precious things as you pass them on to the next generation. Old clocks and watches can also be fixed here.
N. Harvest’s business is based on the slogan: “Organic & Fairtrade, Alternative Selection”. “N” stands for Nature, Necessary, and NO addition. The store and its offerings will give you the opportunity to think about the daily decisions we unconsciously make. Among their various products, the selection of organic spices is outstanding. They also run occasional lessons on spices. Find alternative choices while considering the environment and our future!
Have you got a souvenir? Pepamura is the perfect place to purchase gifts to bring back home from the country of Oigami or paper craft. You will find heaps of delicate paper art in this shop, ranging from little bags to notebooks, stickers, masking tape and pop-up cards. Their paper-made goods will make you smile! Since they are all paper, they are very light and easy to carry. Be careful not to get too many of them and make your suitcase full!
Boite (which is the word for “box” in French) is designed and run by the photo essayist Mariko Tono who currently lives in Paris. The shop is full of cute knick-knacks that Ms. Tono and her lovely dog “Babu” found throughout France. French stationary and Ms. Tono’s artwork (including pretty postcards of “Babu” in France) are available. There’s also a café here, so why not visit the shop and enjoy a little trip to France in Nishiogikubo!
El Sur Florist
El Sur Florist is a floral shop offering arrangements and floral decor a la carte or as part of full-scale event design. They’ll even design your garden to make sure that you maximize your space, be it a solitary flower pot or a sprawling lawn. For those looking for something nice to take home, don’t be disappointed: some of El Sur’s most arresting designs are dried, making them well prepared for a plane flight (though they’re still a bit fragile). If you want to learn how to make some magic on your own, sign up for one of their in-house workshops and ditch that black thumb for good.
Country Quilt Market
(Patchwork Quilt maker/seller)
In business since 1989, Country Quilt Market’s line up of approximately 2,600 fabrics and craft tools practically guarantee they can help you finish whatever you’ve been working on. A huge amount of their stock is imported from overseas (including those from pattern megastore Liberty). If you think quilting is reserved for grannies, come walk the stacks and see if you can’t find something that gets you itching to thread a needle.
Clothes, furniture, electronics, tableware… this shop has all sorts of things you might need in your house. Find the stylish bag that you were looking for or the antique sofa you were dreaming of. They have many vintage furnishings, high-end bags, shoes, and tableware, including rare products that you can’t buy from the official shops anymore! Stop by even if you’re not looking to buy anything because just hanging out there is so much fun!