When I was in Tokyo recently, I took the opportunity to investigate the offering of craft materials and tools, famed their uniqueness and comprehensive range (of things you didn’t know existed and that you needed them). Researching on the internet, I came across Travel Knitter’s website and her recommendations for Tokyo.
Two spots were particularly fruitful for me:
Okadaya, Shinjuku, was not far from where we were staying and I ventured there one afternoon. In a typical Tokyo fashion, the stores occupies two multi-storey buildings, separated by a narrow lane way. One building is devoted to fabrics with each floor dedicating to various types of materials (cotton, knits, synthetic, special purpose such as for cos-play etc.). The other building has 5 to 6 split floors and each area houses equipment, tools, materials and resources for one type of craft (from leather work to making wigs). Knitting has one of these floors with a big collection of knitting books and magazines. It has the full range of Clover bamboo needles. Asides from some ingenious Japanese cloth-making tools, I only bought 1 pair of double-pointed 3.9mm for knitting socks.
Avril in Kichijoji is the Tokyo store of Kyoto-based Avril (the same as the New York based Habu Textiles). Kichijoji is very cute suburb of Tokyo with cute shops that sell cute things. The Avril store was cute too with floor to ceiling yarn made out of all kind of materials. Yarn is sold by 10 grams and it’s not cheap. I ended up with some beautiful soft and light wool and some hand-spun silk!
It seems a pity to have come away with so little, but it is quite overwhelming when one is so spoilt for choice.