This rather unassuming antique and secondhand kimono shop on a quiet shopping street in Shirokane is actually a goldmine when it comes to the good stuff. If you speak Japanese, be sure to talk to the owner, Kawauchi-san – he used to be a kabuki actor, then modelled for SOS (Society of Style, a modelling agency), dabbled in some TV work and subsequently set up shop in Ebisu 15 years ago, finally moving to the current location a few years ago. He also discarded his Western clothes and has exclusively worn kimono for almost two decades now; his ultimate goal is for more people to wear kimono (properly) again. Who better to offer advice on different styles and degrees of formality of kimono? His sidekick likes to add a running commentary when she feels the story is lacking in depth, and all in all, we ended up spending a lot more time here than we expected.
In terms of selection, browsing is perhaps a bit more difficult than in other shops, as most items are plastic-wrapped rather than hanging on rails or simply folded - that being said, you're free to try on everything, just ask. The kimono are normally priced for their class and quality, meaning that you could be looking at anywhere from ¥6,000 to ¥40,000 and above for a proper antique one – this ain't a place for cheapskates per se. However, the rail with haori outside is where bargains are to be had, as most items go for an unbelievable ¥500 (most of them contain polyester and are therefore not regarded as high-quality – we'd argue it doesn't take away from their beauty). They also have a great selection of male kimono, and Kawauchi-san is more than happy to go in depth on how exactly you should tie your obi and walk with poise. If you're looking for even more information or something with a twist, they can also arrange kimono lessons, alterations (including changing female kimono to male and vice versa) and kimono cleaning services. A one-stop kimono shop worth the name.
|Venue name:||Kimonoya Rofutei||Contact:|
Residence Shirokane 103, 1-25-31 Shirokane, Minato-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat, Sun 12noon-7pm / closed Tue|
|Transport:||Shirokane-Takanawa Station (Mita, Namboku lines)|