With summer festival season already upon us and the city quickly getting too hot for comfort, it’s time to head out into the great outdoors. But hiking in sneakers or trying to desperately pitch your parents’ old tent when the rain is already pouring down can make anyone want to turn into a couch potato. Avoid equipment mishaps and get geared up the right way at these four Tokyo shops, which will have you looking the part in no time. And for those who’d rather rent than buy, we’ve included a one-stop hire outlet as well.
Our five top picks
For more variety than you could ever ask for, make for this cluster of 14 outdoor-focused stores way out in Tokyo’s western suburbs. The shop selection at Moripark Outdoor Village includes clothing, bag and tent specialists, plus big-name brand outlets such as Coleman and The North Face. There’s also an insole processing service that’ll help you attain the perfect fit for your walking or hiking boots. Our favourite is the bouldering and yoga gym, which can be used by anyone who completes the registration process. And when you tire of all the shopping, head for the central plaza and its three restaurants and cafés.
In addition to an enviable location – just two minutes’ walk from Shinjuku Station’s southeast exit – this urban megastore stands out with its unparalleled lineup of camping gear, sportswear, hiking boots and cycling gear. The ten-storey complex is almost too large to take on in one go, so you might want to check out only a few floors at first. The standout section is on the third floor, where more than 500 backpacks of all shapes and sizes line the walls. You’ll find everything from serious hiking packs to kids’ versions, with even more stock hidden away in the back. Detailed explanations for each backpack are written in Japanese on labels near each bag, while English-speakers will find the expert staff more helpful.
A Japanese outdoor brand founded by mountaineer Isamu Tatsuno in 1975, Montbell set up its latest Tokyo outpost in Futako-Tamagawa in April this year. Specialising in items that are light and easy to carry, they currently operate 13 outlets across the city, with this two-storey one being one of the largest. On the ground floor you’ll find the Stretch Wind Parka, a supremely flexible jacket that, although not 100 percent waterproof, can handle light rain and makes for the perfect emergency solution when the weather turns sour up in the mountains.
Both a buyer and seller of outdoor clothing and camping equipment, Maunga is a superb destination for those on the lookout for secondhand gear at reasonable prices. Cleaned and repaired, the items are ranked by condition – A to D – and priced accordingly. Most of the stuff on display is graded B or C, and are about half the price they’d be new. You’ll find shoes, clothing, backpacks, hats, cooking utensils, lamps and tents, with available brands including local stalwarts Montbell, Keen and Gregory.
If you’re a less committed camper, stop by this Shinjuku dealer for a quick rental. They allow you to bring the gear back straight after use, without worrying about cleaning or carrying it all the way back to Tokyo – use the COD slip provided to drop your item off for return shipping at the nearest convenience store. Two days with a seven-piece hiking set, which includes rainwear, trekking poles, a backpack and shoes, can be had for ¥13,000, while more expensive packages also come with helmets. Individual pieces of clothing are also available, so music festival-goers can easily pick up an extra layer of wear in advance just to be on the safe side. See their English-language website for a full list of items and reservations.