A Guide to Antique Stores in Tokyo for Travelers Wanting to Go on a Treasure Hunt
There are many antique stores and secondhand shops in Tokyo, selling rare items from local Japanese collections and curios from places like Europe and the US. Watching the crowds gathered at the antique and secondhand markets held throughout the city, one could learn a lot about the locals' diverse tastes and lifestyles. They are not to be missed by old souls who prefer shopping at retro establishments rather than contemporary ones, nor those who perpetually look for the best deal. If you don’t know where to start, read on for a complete guide of Tokyo’s best antique and secondhand store locations!
Mar 26 2020 (Sep 09 2020)
Hunt for Treasure at Shimokitazawa
Known for its many vintage clothing stores, Shimokitazawa also boasts a number of hidden-away antique shops, some of which have been here for 60 years and still remain popular among the people of Tokyo. You will definitely enjoy shopping in Shimokitazawa as you can find rare antiques here in addition to unique vintage fashion items!
Antique Yamamoto Shoten
Exuding a retro vibe, Antique Yamamoto Shoten has been in business in Shimokitazawa for more than 70 years and is now run by third-generation owners. The store is home to about 1,500 – 2,000 items, mostly Japanese furniture and sundries from the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the Taisho period (1912 – 1926), and the early Showa period (1926 – 1989). There are even some rare artifacts from the Edo era (1603 – 1868). The selection is so diverse that all aisles of the three-story building are simply stuffed with treasures.
Not only is there a repair workshop in the store, the owners have also published a book titled “Enjoy Japanese Furniture” about the beauty of Japanese vintage fixtures. For lovers of ancient Japanese articles, visiting this antique store will feel like traveling back in time.
Tokyo Retro a.m.a.store
If you’re nostalgic for the Showa period and want your home or store to look like a scene from the retro movies of yesteryear, then you must visit Tokyo Retro a.m.a.store, an antique sundries establishment on the Shimokitazawa Ichibangai Shopping Street.
The items collected by and sold at this antique store are very distinctive, and most of them are from between the Taisho and Showa period, with the earliest being from the Meiji period. The selection doesn’t just include the usual antique furniture and home decorative items, but also many amusing Showa-era toys and trinkets that are sure to bring back many memories for your Japanese friends and add some retro vibes to your home!
Hunt for Treasure at Kichijoji
Kichijoji is probably the first area that comes to mind when people talk about shopping for lifestyle goods in Tokyo! You’ll find sundries stores that stock a wide range of local and international products here as well as respected establishments selling a plethora of quality goods, including antiques and secondhand goods.
Founded by a young owner who is a huge fan of period pieces, Sippo is an antiques and sundries basement complex located in a quiet residential alley, away from the lively commercial streets of Kichijoji. The low-key store resembles a cafe on the outside, but is in fact a spacious treasure trove of antiques sourced by the owner and his staff from places across Japan and around the globe. Among the store’s selection, you’ll also find lifestyle goods, utensils made by artisans, food and seasonings, and miscellaneous items from unique local Japanese companies. Fans of both antiques and sundries should definitely check out the rich assortment at Sippo!
Inside the shop, there’s even a popular cafe serving light, affordable meals like healthy Japanese food, sweets, and drinks. All it takes is one visit for many people to fall in love with this store, so why not discover its charm for yourself the next time you’re in Kichijoji?
Vada antiques is another antiques and sundries store located in Kichijoji. Not only does it offer European antiques, furniture, and vintage clothing, it also sells special Okinawa utensils and handicrafts made by genuine Japanese craftsmen. Simply holding them in your hands will fill your heart with love and warmth. The store’s Okinawan handmade cleaver and other kitchen knives are also very unique. If you want to collect different styles of Japanese cutlery, this would be a good place to start.
This diverse antiques and sundries store also provides repair service for pottery and furniture. The historic articles on display are also available for rental and would make perfect props for special events and photoshoots to create a unique retro atmosphere. At Vada antiques, there is something for everyone. The shop is often featured in magazines and local media.
Hunt for Treasure at Nishi-Ogikubo
Nishi-Ogikubo is an ideal place for those who want to take a relaxing stroll through a quiet shopping street. In addition to numerous chic boutiques, there are more than 60 antique and secondhand stores here. Near the North Exit of the JR Nishi-Ogikubo Station you’ll also find Kotto Street, where a simple stroll will take you back in time, and where walking into an antique store will feel like entering an ancient treasure house!
Situated on Kotto Street in Nishi-Ogikubo, Northwest-antiques is a famous shop that has been in business for 30 years. Back in the day, it was a place for recycling used products or repairing furniture and daily goods for the locals. Nowadays, it displays a variety of secondhand furniture, daily necessities, and Showa, European, or American-style art products.
Many of the antique items have been carefully repaired in the store, and after being restored to their former glory are now waiting for the next owner to take them home. This is also the philosophy that the shop owners have been adhering to since day one.
Higurashi Antiques is located a 3-minute walk from the South Exit of the JR Nishi-Ogikubo Station. On the outside, it resembles a quality boutique or a specialty cafe with clear windows, quite different from all the other retro homeware stores. The store’s antiques, secondhand furniture, and lifestyle goods are displayed in a neat way that makes customers immediately feel at home.
A delicate yet simple vibe can be felt all throughout the store, from the large tables, chairs, and cabinets to the retro clocks and decorative lighting. If you worry about being able to carry the larger items home, take a look at the store’s small DIY goods, only 100 yen each, such as storage boxes and wooden frames, which can also create a homely and comfy atmosphere.
Hunt for Treasure at Ebisu
Combining fashion and elegance, Ebisu is an area with many tasteful shops, including antique stores specializing in Western collectibles. These stores with their distinctive exterior designs are much trendier than the ones in other regions. Certain items on display will even make you feel as if you were visiting a small art museum or gallery.
The storefront looks simple yet chic, what with its large wooden windows and rustic door. By showing off its merchandise so that people can glance at it from the street, the store entices customers to come in and get a better look. The Western antiques and secondhand goods were all carefully handpicked by the owner during his trips across Europe. Ceramic ware, silver tableware, pottery, wall decorations, small furnishings, metal goods, fabrics, and leather goods – everything you can think of can be found here.
Each product sold in the store is marked with the correct year so that customers can have a deeper understanding of their favorite items. The various utensils and antiques displayed don’t just create an elegant ambiance, but also directly reflect the owner's taste for historic objects.
GENIO ANTICA is an antique store full of colorful and cute knick-knacks. The store's name means “Genius! Antique” in Italian, showing how much the owner is obsessed with nostalgic items. The products on display are mainly European antiques and secondhand articles, with the majority being British products from between the ‘30s and the ‘70s.
Visiting this store and admiring the goods carefully selected by the owner will make you feel as if you were shopping in a European flea market. There are all kinds of secondhand antiquities here, such as daily necessities, kitchen utensils, tableware, coloring books, jewelry and accessories for women, toys, and stationery. After seeing this dazzling array of items, you’ll feel like bringing them all home!
Nowadays, more and more Japanese young people like to browse antique stores for home decorations or everyday items. A great thing about visiting these shops is that it gives people a chance to listen to the globetrotting tales of shop owners and the interesting backstories of their antiques and secondhand goods. So what are you waiting for? Start your treasure hunt in Tokyo today!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.