I love to shop in Tokyo. Especially for everyday things: housewares, stationary supplies, useful stuff. I always visit Loft (loft.co.jp), for example, in Shibuya, even if I don’t need anything, just to wander the seven floors of art supplies and hobby and craft materials and the vast—vast—selection of pens and notebooks.
And of course there’s Muji (multiple locations), familiar to New Yorkers from the MoMA design stores and the new flagship in the New York Times building, but Muji in its native Japan is another story, selling everything from cashmere sweaters, nailclippers and nonstick frying pans to bicycles, beds, and packaged food. And it’s all designed in the same brilliantly low-key manner, the epitome of cool, no-frills Japanese modernism.
In Jiyugaoka, Cibone is a design-ier sort of design shop, an eclectic initernational collection of housewares, furniture, stationary, hipster-limited edition sneakers and CDs and all kinds of high concept gifts. The top floor is a casual restaurant/café. A few blocks away is J., (multiple locations) a more traditional Japanese crafts and housewares store, but with a modern sensibility: dishes, lacquerware, decorative charcoal, and other quietly beautiful things.
Finally, I always stop at Kagura (multiple locations), a furniture shop with simple, smooth, hand-made wooden chairs (above), and superb dining tables with slightly unfinished edges—the shape of the tree echoed in its lines. The prices are absolutely reasonable, the prospect of shipping these things home to New York less so, and so we’re off to lunch…
Luke Barr is the the news director for Travel + Leisure.