Besides eating, one of the things I was really keen to experience in Tokyo was shopping for fabric in Nippori "Sen-I Gai" or Fabric Town.
This area has over 80 shops selling all manner of fabrics, buttons, trims, clothes, leathers (and furs - yuck), lace, ribbons and kimono fabrics. If you can't find what you're looking for in fabric town, then you're not looking!
As I'm only new to sewing I decided to only buy fabrics that I know how to sew with - so that pretty much means cottons. This also helped to expedite the shopping processes which my husband was thankful for as he was tagging along behind me.
I'm now KICKING myself that I wasn't looking for knits as Tilly and the Buttons has just released her new pattern, Coco - a perfect beginners knit dress. D'oh, d'oh d'oh! There were some FANTASTIC printed knits in the stores I went into but I hardly gave them a second glance.
For a new sewist an experience like Nippori "Sen-I Gai" is totally fascinating, and totally overwhelming. In order to minimize the chance of me having a total fabric flip-out on the streets of Tokyo I decided to just visit a few stores...and get in, look around and get out. You could literally spend DAYS in this area. DAYS I didn't have!
The main store I visited was called Tomato (oh, LOL Japan you are so funny)! Tomato has a few stores along the main "fabric town" strip - some selling notions, some selling fabrics and some selling outlet fabrics and clothes. One of the stores had about EIGHT FLOORS of fabric...holy moly. There was about two floors just of knits (again, kicking myself)!
After our stint of fabric shopping we headed back towards Nippori JR station. It was about 3 degrees outside yet we saw this poor old guy set up outside his shop, sewing away on the street. He must have been freezing, it was SO cold!
You know what's good for fighting of cold weather? A steaming hot bowl of ramen. We found this totally dodgy looking place right near Nippori JR station and wandered in when the waiter came out to confirm they did indeed serve ramen. Boy, it was good - some of the best ramen I've never had!
How to get there: take the JR Yamanote line to Nippori Station. From the South Exit turn right, and head towards Nippori Chuo Dori (that's a street name). Hopefully this (badly scanned) map will help you out.
Oh, and stay tuned for my next blog post - a show and tell of my Japanese fabric purchases!