Outside the fabric store, the 2 meter pre-cut fabrics on sale. Tempting display and prices for anyone who is crazy about fabrics! (Photo: Sher Ying Wee)

Okadaya Shinjuku

A crafter’s paradise in 2 buildings

Outside the fabric store, the 2 meter pre-cut fabrics on sale. Tempting display and prices for anyone who is crazy about fabrics! (Photo: Sher Ying Wee)
Sher Ying Wee   - 4 min read

Okadaya is a well-known store among online non-Japanese crafters and locals alike for their huge variety of items. Located in Shinjuku, the store has split their wares between 2 buildings – one for fabric (5 floors and 1 basement floor) and one for accessories and clothing (6 floors and 1 basement floor). Coming from a really small country, it was amazing to see 2 whole buildings dedicated to crafts and fabrics. Unfortunately they didn’t allow photography inside the store, which is why only a few photos are posted up.

The first building you will see is the accessories and clothing store of Okadaya. A board out front explains what is sold in each building, and an English translation is provided for the general classification of each floor but not for the specific items that are also listed.

I went to explore the fabric building first, and what I saw satisfied my curiosity. Pre-cut fabrics, discontinued or out-of-season prints sold in 2-meter cuts, samples made for displays in the store, and fabric remnants were all sold outside in front of the store at discounted rates. Inside the store, racks of beautiful fabrics were arrayed all over the 6 floors and were sorted by type (denim, waffle, patterned and so on). Even if you can’t read Japanese, the fabric is pretty self-explanatory. One thing I really liked is the various advice provided by the store, like suggestions on how to use certain fabrics and what could be made from them. Books and magazines on clothes and accessories making are sold here too, and there is at least one browsing copy for most of the books for customers to look through.

With each new monthly theme, offers, advice and displays change accordingly. As this month was about DIY weddings, there were even instructions on how to make different kinds of wedding veils! Along the staircase leading up to each floor, there were small display spaces where they showed examples of handmade wedding items like invitation cards and presents for guests.

Here is a brief outline for each floor in the fabric building:
BF: Interior fabrics & accessories, extra wide fabrics
1F: Cotton fabrics, magazines and books
2F: Stage/Costume fabrics
3F: Dress fabrics, paddings & linings
4F, 5F: Special fabrics & textiles

The accessories and clothing store was equally fantastic. Just looking at the amount of wares they had was mind-boggling. It is hard to describe each floor in detail because there really were too many things to see. The basement floor sold clothing while the rest of the six floors sold accessories. They even sold cosmetic contact lenses off the shelf!

Like in the fabric building, there were suggestions and items made by the staff on display. The monthly theme is also practiced in this building, so there were all kinds of recommendations on things like wedding invitations and wedding-related books.

Here is a brief outline for each floor in the clothing and accessories building:
BF: Women’s brassieres in large sizes, women’s lingerie
1F: Cosmetic goods, fashion accessories, nail goods
2F: Stage make-up & goods
3F: Beads, fashion ornaments, wigs, hair accessories
4F: Garment parts & accessories
5F: Craft materials & tools, books, knitting yarns and machines
6F: Sewing notions, sewing machines, books, threads, buttons, buckles, and more

If you’re looking to buy something Japan-related, there are cotton fabrics with Japanese prints, cloth meant for yukata making, chirimen and others in the fabric building. In the accessories building, there are items like kits to make hanging toy mobiles using chirimen cloth, and bias tapes with Japanese prints. Note that for some of the Japanese material like kimono fabric, prices stated are per 10 cm, so read the price labels carefully.

Sher Ying Wee

Sher Ying Wee @sher.ying.wee

I like taking photographs on travels, but am oddly not good at the traveling bit itself. Please enjoy and view the photos as if it were you with your camera on your own travels.