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I was a Kimono2/2

Best kimono souvenirs in Tokyo

Love kimono but don't want the whole outfit? Here are some unique Japanese souvenirs made from kimono fabric and accessories

By Time Out Tokyo Editors

Owning a kimono is a big commitment as it requires very specific care and cleaning methods. However, you don't have to wear a traditional kimono to appreciate its intricate beauty. There are a variety of unique souvenirs and items that are made from re-purposed kimono fabric or accessories – and they are available at a fraction of the cost of a full kimono attire. You can get a practical tumbler adorned with 'gilded' kimono fabric, a cool cap upcycled from obi sash, and jewellery fashioned out of vintage kimono. But of course, if you love to get your hands on a kimono, look to these secondhand kimono stores for a good buy. 

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Kimono souvenirs

Edo Kimekomi Ningyo Pikachu
Edo Kimekomi Ningyo Pikachu
Photo: mataro-doll.com

Edo Kimekomi Ningyo Pikachu

Originating in Kyoto, kimekomi dolls were traditionally dressed in exquisite embroidered cloths (such as kimono fabric) to imitate the aristocratic fashion worn by court nobles in the olden days. Tokyo-based doll-maker Mataro is now giving this age-old technique a modern-day relevance by crafting a Pikachu doll from an opulent floral fabric in the Pokémon’s signature cheery yellow. This elegant 15cm-tall Pikachu goes for a ¥13,200 and can be ordered online here

Asakusa Tatsumiya

Shopping Gifts and souvenirs Asakusa

Currently run by the third-generation owner Norikazu Shibukawa, Asakusa Tatsumiya was first established as a kimono retailer more than 80 years ago. However, Shibukawa decided to revamp the old business after finding a way to connect Japan’s traditional elements with Tokyoites’ modern lifestyles.

The shop features a gorgeous array of handmade kimono tumblers, each unique in design and therefore a real piece of art. They are adorned with the most elegant and intricate parts of the obi sashes made from exquisite Nishijin-ori silk fabrics produced in Kyoto...

I was a Kimono
I was a Kimono
Photo: I was a Kimono

I was a Kimono

Shopping Shibuya

Founded by Cristina Morini Sumi, who has a passion for antiques and Japanese culture, I was a Kimono upcycles used kimono into gorgeous fashion accessories and home decorations. Think Christmas baubles draped with beautiful fabrics as well as earrings and necklaces fashioned from kimono-covered beads. The kimono are sourced from various antique markets around Tokyo and are reinvented into new, modern forms in hopes of giving a new lease of life to items that were clearly originally created with much care.

Available through iwasakimono.com, and at the monthly Tokyo Romantic Market.

Kimono Arts Sunaga

Shopping Azabu-Juban

Kimonos are available both tailor-made or ready-to-wear at this friendly store, alongside a range of crafts and ornaments fashioned from recycled kimono material. Think adorable coin pouches and eyeglass holders made from kimono fabric to colourful handbags and cardholders. It's like carrying a little kimono with you everywhere you go. 

Kimono cap by Wonder Fabric
Kimono cap by Wonder Fabric

Kimono caps by Wonder Fabric

Truth is, most of us don’t get to wear kimono in our daily lives, but Wonder Fabric has a genius solution to help foster our love for the traditional garment. The brand is breathing new life into vintage kimono and obi-sashes by upcycling the fabric into a modern fashion staple – the cap. The best part is, every cap is unique since there’s limited amount of fabric in each piece of kimono.

Tokyo135° Shinjuku Alta

Shopping Shinjuku

An offshoot of the nationwide Tansuya chain, Tokyo135's Shinjuku Alta branch attracts a diverse crowd looking for slightly funkier kimono for all occasions. Their colour scheme and style is decidedly more pop art-y and modern than traditional, and they also sell a large selection of vibrant hair adornments and other accessories, alongside some cool remade items. Not all pieces for sale are secondhand, but they have a good mix of new and old. Be sure to browse their offerings of obi, which have some pretty interesting prints as well. Considering some kimono sets go for ¥10,000, your wallet is unlikely to bleed profusely, and with literally everything you'd need to dress yourself on offer, it's a good place to pick up a full kit.


Gallery Kawano

Shopping Harajuku

Set in the backstreets of Omotesando, Gallery Kawano have a particularly dazzling collection of obi, some of which are almost a century old. Their kimono and haori selection is a bit more traditional in terms of patterns and colours, but they do carry larger sizes as well, making the place perfect for taller women. Check out their range of kimono fabrics too: they have anything from simple-patterned silks to elaborately printed ones, and the bags with different fabrics bunched together make great gifts. Unlike many other kimono shops, Kawano have English signage to help you distinguish what's what.

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