Friday, February 6

Shopping in Japan: Yuzawaya

Most crafters go to big craft stores like Lincraft in Australia or Hobby Craft in the United Kingdom. In Japan, they have “Yuzawaya”.
You can find a big assortment of things catering to people into handmade and DIY work. This big store stocks any craft supply imaginable; from wool, buttons, fabric and stationery. You can find things you need en masse but like any other big store, anything classified as a ‘find’ or is rare will be rare.
The store opened in 1955 in Kamata. The central Tokyo location offered not just one store but many different stores, each part of “Yuzawaya” but housing its own department. If you visit the place today and just want to buy beads, then you can, in the “beads building”.
If you rather shop in one place, go to Kichijoji, about 15-20 minutes from central Tokyo (accessible from the Inokashira Line which connects Shibuya to Kichijoji).
Yuzawaya’s second biggest store in Tokyo is located here. The area surrounding the shop is worth a visit alone. You’ll find many unique and smaller shops spread out around the station. It is definitely a good hunting ground for finding shops that sell foreign-imported beads and accessories. I will write more about Kichijoji in a future blog.
Once you arrive at the station, don’t exit the building that encompasses the station. “Yuzawaya” is also in the same building. The station layout can be confusing at first but you’ll work out in the end where to go.
When you are inside, get orientated with what’s sold on each floor. Here is a brief break-down of what to find:

7th floor (furthest to the top)
Educational /recreational/seasonal toys and displays
Handmade items from locals (You can rent a small box space to sell)
Classrooms for craft workshops
6th floor
DIY products and supplies
Display Flowers
Wholesale ribbons
Traditional Japanese paper and items
Doll house miniatures
5th floor
Foreign imported material / fancy material
Sewing supplies / yarn / glassmaking supplies / ceramic and resin supplies / craft paints and chemicals / iron-on designs
4th Floor
Stationery / beauty products / office supplies /
Art paints, materials and supplies / manga materials and supplies
Cards and Postcards
Japanese calligraphy materials and supplies
3rd Floor
Traditional Japanese, local Japanese and Kid’s fabrics
Kitchenware / interior goods
Haberdashery / manchester
2nd Floor
Promotional events for new or seasonal goods
Bento supplies
Schooling supplies
Dolls and plush toys
Gatcha gatcha 100-300yen toy machine dispensers
1st Floor
Puzzles and toys
B1 Floor
Japanese character goods
Miyasaki Ghibli character goods
Disney goods
Plush toys
Key chains
Kid’s interior goods
Like most shops in Japan, there are often limited or no English guidelines/ information. My best advice is to have someone Japanese-speaking to accompany you if you need to enquire about a product on detail. If you have luck, there might be an English-speaking staff present, but that is rare too.
There might be a few bumps on your way to find something to make but you’ll probably spend a good 2-3 hours or more enjoying your first visit in Yuzawaya.
Opens 7 days from 10am to 8pm.
The shop displays notices of rest days along the walls of the escalators in Kichijoji.

**If you plan to live in Japan and shop at Yuzawa a lot, ask for a "point car". You can receive 5% off the retail price and get other specials.

2011 Update: The building which housed the giant Yuzawaya Store will be refurbished into a department store. Sadly, the store has downsized and moved to a new area in same part of town.

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