SOUVENIR SAVVY IN SUGINAMI (Koenji)

10 Various Souvenir Stores in Koenji
[published March 2020]

The bohemian village of Koenji is only about 10 minutes by train from Shinjuku on either of the Chuo or Chuo-Sobu Lines. The area is known for decades of music culture, temples, and used clothing shops but there is a wealth of great finds if you are looking for a few souvenirs or special gifts. This area is actually a long established neighborhood where Japanese people like to live for its convenient location, great cafes and restaurants, music and great shopping. It’s a great place to escape the crowds and congestion of the more typical tourist areas of Tokyo and find unique personal gifts. I have created a short walking tour that will help you explore most of the main areas of Koenji.

-Mark, Experience Suginami Tokyo writer and photographer

 

WALKING MAP

Kadoya

"Dagashi" Japanese Penny Candy

A fun way to explore an often missed aspect of Japanese culture-- Japan is not all cosplay, sushi and samurai. Here you can pick some very interesting and cheap Japanese snacks and candy to pass around at a party showing your photos of your trip to Japan, to give people a small taste of Japan. The colors and concepts of Japanese dagashi were popular during the Showa Era but these shops are disappearing quickly. Enjoy the nostalgic ambience of Kadoya, like a Japanese kid in a candy store.

Price:

Candy from ¥5 to ¥120, Toys from ¥300
Address:
2 Chome-25-5 Koenji-Kita, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
5 minutes from JR Koenji Station, North Exit
Phone:
03-3338-9681 (Japanese only)
Open:
12:00pm – 10:00pm, Closed on Public Holidays
Communication:
Staff speak Japanese only.
  • no-smoking
  • no-credit-card

Hirari

Used Kimono on the Cheap

At Hirari you can rent beautiful retro and antique kimonos for the day for special events or a photo shoot at one of the many charming temples or shrines in the area. You can also buy kimonos and accessories, like kanzashi traditional hair decorations, at very reasonable prices. The mother daughter team is very charming and will give you a taste of Japanese traditional hospitality making your shopping experience that much more special. Why not try one on and continue your shopping tour?

Price:

Day Rental (Open-Close) ¥3,150; Special Occasion Rental ¥15,000; Vintage Kimono from ¥3,000; Accessories from ¥500
Address:
2 Chome-22-21 Koenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
3 minutes from JR Koenji Station, North Exit
Phone:
03-3310-2232 (Japanese only)
Open:
Sunday-Tuesday 11:00am - 7:00pm, Saturday 1:00pm - 8:00pm, Closed Wednesday & Thursday
Website:
http://ameblo.jp/hirari2013/
Communication:
Staff speak Japanese only.
  • no-smoking

Gonnosuke

Nostalgic Collectibles

This is one of my favorite shops to find very unique presents from traditional Japanese household items to more whimsical toys and trinkets. The owner is very generous and although he doesn't speak English you can appreciate his nostalgic love for Japanese collectibles. There are very affordable smalls like colorful marbles, one of a kind sake cups, or tourist items garnered by Japanese tourists visiting onsen hot springs from days gone by. Week by week inventory changes so you never know what experience you’ll have. It’s completely fine to simply browse but with such great prices and finds, surely you will find something you feel you can’t do without.

Price:

from ¥120
Address:
2 Chome−9-8 Kōenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
3 minutes on foot from JR Koenji Station, North Exit
Phone:
03-5373-8355 (Japanese only)
Open:
10:00am - 8:00pm, Closed Wednesdays
Website:
http://gonnosuke.wixsite.com/koenji
Communication:
Staff speak Japanese only.
  • no-smoking

Chadokoro Tsukiji

Friendly Local Tea Shop

The staff at Chadokoro Tsukiji are very welcoming, they speak English, will let you try many samples and even educate you about tea.Their recommended tea, Sencha, a deep steamed green tea from Shizuoka, is one of the best quality Japanese green teas. It’s very delicious both hot and as a cold, refreshing drink on hot and humid summer days. As it is known to have many health benefits, green tea is a great healthy gift to share with friends and family.

Price:

varies by tea; from ¥325, average around ¥1000
Address:
3 Chome-22-9 Koenji-kita, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
2 minutes on foot from JR Koenji Station, North Exit
Phone:
03-3339-7316
Open:
10:00am - 7:00pm, Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Website:
http://chadokoro-tukiji.com/
Communication:
Staff can speak English.
  • no-smoking

Nakaya

Made in Japan Gifts

Nakaya is a traditional Japanese hand-made craft shop. Here you will find Yukata and Kimono and accessories such as bags and hairpins as well as wall hangings, textiles, and many other small gifts, all made in Japan!

Address:
4 Chome-25-12 Koenjiminami, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
1 minute from JR Koenji Station, South Exit
Phone:
03-5307-7333 (Japanese only)
Open:
12:00pm noon - 7:00pm, closed Tuesdays
Website:
http://mynakaya.com
Communication:
English guidance available.
  • no-smoking

Godzilla-ya

Retro Toys

Godzilla-Ya is a toy store specializing in of course Godzillia memorabilia but also has cards, dolls and books. It is visited by enthusiasts from all over the globe. It's really a must-see museum-like experience. After hours why not enjoy a drink at the bar downstairs called Godzilla-ya 2 while being surrounded by more Godzilla related toys and customers who love Godzilla? The bartender will probably play you some old Godzilla trailers and suggest a great sake pairing for watching Mothra.

Address:
3 Chome-67-1 Koenji-minami, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
4 minutes from JR Koenji Station, South Exit
Phone:
03-3336-3178 (Japanese only)
Open:
2:00pm - 9:00pm, Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Website:
http://www1.plala.or.jp/GODZILLAYA/
Communication:
Staff speak Japanese only.
  • no-smoking

Hachimakura

Paper Crafts and More

Essentially a Japanese paper craft store, Hachimakura has some very original items and gifts and will save you some cash on overweight luggage. The paper is a great example of beautiful Japanese design. You could even use the paper to wrap your other gifts but they would also look nice in a frame. There are also other items including Japanese traditional folk toys such as Kokeshi dolls, which are simple painted wooden dolls, Showa Era dead stock labels and vintage stamps. It's a great place to find original one-of-a kind gifts and sure to inspire creativity. If you are in Koenji in summer look out for the annual “Summer Paper Festival”!

Address:
3 Chome-59-4 Koenji-Minami, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
3 minutes from JR Koenji Station, South Exit
Phone:
03-3317-7789 (Japanese only)
Open:
1:00pm - 8:00pm (Closes at 7:00pm on Sundays), Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and occasionally for restocking
Website:
http://hachimakura.com/
Communication:
Staff speak Japanese only.
  • no-smoking

Cotogo

Well Crafted Japanese Kitchenware

Cotogoto has 3 branches in Koenji but this one is devoted mostly to kitchen items handcrafted by Japanese artisans. This would be a great place to shop for a Christmas, wedding or other special occasions or for your own kitchen. There are also seasonal items like bamboo baskets, fireworks, and fans. The design and quality are at an extremely high level and what people around the world associate with Japanese goods, which is why the shop is very popular. They also provide gift wrapping services.

Address:
4 Chome-27-17 Koenjiminami, Suginami, Tokyo (2nd Floor)
Distance from Station:
2 minutes from JR Koenji Station, South Exit
Phone:
03-3318-0313
Open:
11:00am - 8:00pm
Website:
http://www.cotogoto.jp/
Communication:
English Speaking staff available.
  • no-smoking

Village Vanguard

Koenji Branch of the "Exciting Book Store"

Village Vanguard is a chain of book and hobbyist stores. Here you can find relatively inexpensive gifts ranging from books, clothes, gachapon or gacha gacha (vending machine capsule toys) and other toys, novelty goods, food and other random gifts. Although it's a chain store there are some Koenji specific items like gifts that have the Koenji mascot on them, which is a magic mushroom called Psyche Delhi-san, and Koenji related T-shirts. No doubt you will find something interesting here, especially gifts for people who are hard to shop for.

Address:
3 Chome-46-10 Koenjiminami, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
4 minutes from JR Koenji Station, South Exit
Phone:
03-5305-5536 (Japanese only)
Open:
10:00am - 12:00am midnight
Website:
https://www.village-v.co.jp/shop/detail/986
Communication:
Some staff speak a little English.
  • no-smoking

Grandpries

Colorful Koenji Vintage

Our last stop takes you down Koenji Look shopping street toward the Marunouchi subway stop Shin-Koenji Station. Grandpries is a small vintage novelty shop. It sticks out among the other Koenji shops, which says a lot because there are so many. It's very cute and colorful with lots of gadgets, Japanese characters, Japanese folk music records, clothing, and handmade accessories. Take your time because stuff is crammed into every crevice and Miki-san, the friendly owner, is constantly updating stock. It's a great example of Japanese design and a bit of a nostalgic step back in time. Look for the deals at the front of the shop.

Address:
3 Chome-2-13 Koenji-minami, Suginami, Tokyo
Distance from Station:
3 minutes from Tokyo Metro Shin-Koenji Station, 12 minutes from JR Koenji Station, South Exit
Phone:
03-6383-2875 (Japanese only)
Open:
12:00pm - 8:00pm (Closes at 7:00pm on Mondays), Closed Wednesdays
Website:
https://www.facebook.com/grandpries.koenji/
Communication:
Staff speak Japanese only.
  • no-smoking