To describe what kind of town Koenji is, I would say it's the more laidback cousin of Shimokitazawa as it is becoming more mainstream in recent times. But in all, it's restful compared to the crowds that Harajuku amasses and endearingly quaint. For the purpose of this trip, I had cleaved Japan into two, a week to bask in the culture down in the Osaka prefecture (which I failed in that regard) and a week in dumbstruck awe at the fashion that Tokyo had to offer. Research (hah, simple googling) has shown me that Shimokitazawa and Koenji are the places to hit for secondhand/thrift and vintage styles. So come with me, as I traipse through these timewarped towns before I end up at the sensor overload that is Harajuku. You can not imagine how pleased I was when I learnt of the existence of these towns, of pure, unedited thrift. Osaka had only a pure shopping street.. but this.. oh lord. Entire. Town.
However, unlike how it is portrayed, I wouldn't say the shopping scene in Koenji is very concentrated, however, that should not deter you in the least to don your Dora the Explorer caps and excavate every millimetre with a fine tooth comb and magnifying glass. A very important note, most shops and cafes open from around 11am-1pm, so plan accordingly! Otherwise, you may find yourself wandering through a ghost town.
I would say that this would be labelled as a consignment store as it houses a lot of designer brands.
There is a covered shopping street right by Koenji station so it was nice to alternate between here and the town itself haha. Towards the later end of January, is when the prices in Japan become something of a fantasy, 70% sales. And in Sydney, 40% is considered a miracle... on such typical styles as well.
I loved this place! It's essentially the epitome of perceived Japanese fashion, bold, eclectic and daring. And there was a lot of Dangan Ronpa memorabilia too! There's a very punkish vibe but in a very wearable manner due to the incorporation of soft pastel tones.
An extremely narrow storefront so I was expecting verryyy confined spaces.
I get it, this was the concealed entrance to Wonderland wasn't it?
My favourite thrift store in Japan! There are quite a few branches including Harajuku and Shimokitazawa. And like the name suggests, they lower their prices on Wednesday.
I know what you're thinking. This is a Japanese secondstore. Much like Hello Kitty cafes, they're ludicrously expensive and only act as aesthetically pleasing views and I should just cradle my wallet in my arms right? Right? Wrong.
So each article of clothing is labelled with a kind of fruit, and these are their prices. No joke, I found a pair of leather shorts for, *pauses for dramatic effect, 300yen. What. On. Earth. Everyone has been telling me that Japan is such an expensive place to visit, please, you don't even want to think about what we're subjected to in Sydney. As is the case with all Japanese thrift stores, you'd wander into one believing that they are a regular store given how organised and well cared for each item is that it looks essentially new. I found stuff from Emoda here for 900yen. Oh god. Why did I leave those pair of jeans behind again?? I am crying, next time, I am going to Japan with an empty suitcase!!
Koenji is abundant with adorable
Mode Off is another thrifting chain and one that I feel resonates more with those found in Sydney. In order to find the gems, you must become one with the rack, allow yourself to be absorbed and you may possibly find yourself with a few jewels.
A second floor!
Prices beginning at 300yen!
And the shoes!
G clef cafe where they sell a variety of teas that lend itself to the most aromatic royal milk tea that you have ever had the fortune of inhaling. At the back is an European style cafe.
The sky was beginning to darken menacingly.
Who is that godlike creature? Oh, it's just my reflection. AHAHAHA.
Koenji looks like a town plucked directly out of a storybook doesn't it?
Spank! It opened at 1pm so I wandered for a while (not like it was hard with how charming Koenji was).
I had been greatly anticipating visiting a Spank! Not to adopt the fairy kei style as my own, but to be inspired by the sweet, pastel and wild elements of the style. Because additional spice is what makes anything in life that much more intriguing.
I was not disappointed.
Spank! was glorious and wonderful and gorgeous and if I had a room in my house, this would encompass the secret wild ravine of my mind.
Another store dedicated to a similar style as Spank! I think it was Cult Party kei? Not entirely sure, but looking at each garment is enough to induce instantaneous diabetes. And it was glorious. Next up.. Shimokitazawa!