Having always been a big fan on vintage styles, I was delighted to recently stumble across the eccentric and vintage packed Koenji-ku in Tokyo. It is full to the brim of used clothing stores. More than I have ever seen anywhere else in one small area!
For us, the retro delights of Koenji is a mere bike ride away. However, for those touristing around Tokyo it’s an easy journey on the Chou train line.
Where: the 0.5 mile radius around Koenji train station.
How: catch the Chou local line train from Shinjuku station and you’ll be there in 15 minutes. You can also grab a rapid train and be there in ten!
Why: fabulous vintage fashions to drown in, along with some very cool coffee shops and bars. Plus the odd fabulous festival!
Recommended day out: head to Koenji station in the morning and stop off for your first refreshing coffee of the day at Porta Coffee Stand. Take the south exit of the train station and head to the undercover shopping area. Porta’s Coffee Stand is on the right hand side, about 50 metres into the centre. You queue up to order and pay on the outside and can then take a seat in the small but stylish interior. The coffee is great- you can choose your roast, dark or medium.
After suitably relaxing, start your shopping spree. You can’t really escape the vintage shops, they are everywhere, but to be spoilt for choice head straight though the undercover shopping centre until the sky is above you. Look left and right and dive in! For bargains, head further up the hill into local Koenji. If you’re looking for extremely stylish vintage, Small Change Koenji and the shop opposite (awkwardly named SLUT) are a must.
As your stomach rumbles for lunchtime treats, I’d recommend the tasty vegetarian set from Cafe Gallery Momomo. Take a right at Small Change Koenji and it’s 50 metres down the side street on the left hand side. Head up the rickety staircase adorned with unique art pieces and into the cafe area. The set costs ¥1,000 and was full of delicious goodness! The vibe is extremely relaxed and you can enjoy looking and purchasing art should you wish!
After some more afternoon shoppping (head to Titicaca if you want something bright or need a smile) it’s time for another coffee. Perhaps the art from lunchtime has inspired you to check out another art coffee shop. If it has, head over to Clouds Art + Coffee, just north of the train station. It doesn’t exactly what it promises! Original art to be enjoyed and photographed too if you’re so inclined. In this area you can also do some beauty product shopping if you’ve had your fill of vintage fashions. There are several beauty shops to chose from.
To conclude a lovely day shopping and drinking coffee, perhaps it is time for something a little more alcoholic! If you fancy it, dip into Craft Beer Market on the same street as Clouds Coffee + Art. You can pick from a large menu of craft beer and accompanying food. It’s the perfect way to end the perfect day exploring the vintage delights of Koenji.
So, when your time comes traversing Tokyo, be sure to visit Koenji for something a little different!