Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My Guide to Fabric Shopping In Japan

I thought I'd write a little guide to my experiences of fabric shopping in Japan. It's actually very easy to find fabric as sewing and quilting seem to be very popular over there. You will just stumble across a number of stores without really having to plan ahead. If you are into quilting, most of the stores I describe have LOADS of pre-cut fat quarters available which is fab. This is also useful if you don't speak Japanese as it avoids the need to ask for specific fabric measurements. I visited a number of cities during my travels, so I will describe my fabric finds in each. All the fabrics I bought are 100% cotton and the designs are all 'low volume' as that's the style of quilt I want to make next.

Wandering around Osaka I found a number of fabric stores, though I only ended up buying fabric from one -  the Hankyu Department Store in Umeda, Osaka. Hankyu Department Store is easy to find, as it's centrally located adjacent to both JR Osaka station and the Hankyu Umeda railway station. This shop is massive, covering 15 floors, but the crafting equipment can be found on the tenth floor. There was a large selection of fabrics, including a number of fat quarters at reasonable prices. I bought a couple of fat quarters for approx £2 each (263 yen), cheap compared to the UK.

Here are the two fabrics I bought for myself, both are Yuwa Live Life Collection. The first is from the 30's Collection by Atsuko Matsuyama. I'm unsure of the name of the second.

Also in Osaka, and ideally placed for those people travelling to Japan via Kansai International Airport, is a decent fabric shop in Rinku Pleasure Town Seacle shopping centre. If you are travelling on the Airport Express train between JR Osaka Station and the airport, get off at Rinku Town Station (it's the final stop before the airport). Rinku Pleasure Town Seacle contains a number of shops, but also an onsen and a large ferris wheel with lovely night views. The fabric shop's name (minus the Japanese I can't read - ha!) is ???? senta dorimu (???? Centre Dream), located on the second floor. The prices were good, but none of the material really fulfilled my low volume criteria so I didn't end up buying anything.
Finally in Osaka, I spotted another fabric shop wandering in the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade, but unfortunately didn't have the opportunity for a proper investigation. Boo! You'll spot it though if you find yourself wandering this lovely old 'shotengai' so I thought it was worth a mention.
I stumbled across a couple of fabric shops whilst wandering around Kyoto, both are branches of Nomura Tailor. The first, and larger of the two, is located on Shijo dori, between Kawaramachi Station and Karasuma Station. As you can see from this photo, it stocks a wide range of fabrics, including some gorgeous traditional Japanese style cottons. There are two floors!
The second branch is really close by in the nearby shopping arcade of Teramachi. It is much smaller but does have a good selection of fat quarters.
During my Kyoto visit the two main department stores of Takashimaya located next to Kawaramachi Station and Daimaru located next to Karasuma Station weren't selling fabric, but they both stock plenty of other crafting products and are well worth a browse anyway.
Takatsuki shi
Located between the cities of Osaka and Kyoto on the JR and Hankyu railway lines, is the smaller city of Takatsuki shi. I really enjoyed buying fabric here in the Yuzawaya department store and spent ages mooching. Yuzawaya is located just outside JR Takatsuki Station and the fabric (and crafts) department is on the top floor. They stock a wide variety of fabric, including a large selection of 100% cotton fat quarters. I bought a number of fabrics here (and actually on closer inspection they're the equivalent of two fat quarters - yay!) for about £4 (580 yen) each. Let's have a look at them shall we? The first is by Belleboo featuring a mix of fruits, flowers and bees. Too sweet.
The next is a really twee (in a good way) Japanese print by Cosmo Textile Company, it's got little pink rabbits and hearts.

The next is another Japanese print by Sevenberry, featuring small floral in blues, greens and yellows on a cream background.

I can never resist a spotty fabric and this shopping excursion was no different. I'm not sure who this fabric is by, but it has small blue, pink, brown and yellow polka dots.

This final fabric is my favourite. I also don't know who this is by though it does say 'Made in Japan'. It features little deer (shika chan!), flowers and toadstools. Love it.

Well, that's it. I wish I could have bought more Japanese fabrics but I was trying not to go too mad. I hope you found this guide useful and if you are heading to Japan I'd love to hear your fabric shopping experiences.


  1. I love the fabric you bought! Can't wait to see what you make with them :D

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  3. I can I bought one like this fabric