Fabric Shopping in Japan: Keihoku and Kyoto

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#1 360 Gallery and Cafe
〒601-0276 京都市右京区京北西町5-1

Fabric shopping at Keihoku was not planned at all. While at Keihoku, our airbnb hosts tailor-made a tour for us, according to our interests and preferences. Upon knowing that I make my own clothes, they suggested a visit in the evening to an artisan’s gallery. After a day of visiting a traditional village and trekking, we made our way to the gallery. The gallery is managed by an old couple: the lady makes the clothes, while the gentleman makes wooden furniture. Besides managing the gallery, they also own a cafe which only opens on weekends. We were so lucky to be visiting them on a Saturday.

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So, right at the entrance of the gallery are baskets of discounted fabrics. I picked up three bundles, about 6 meters, for 10,000¥! Imagine my delight!

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Baskets of discounted fabrics for sale

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Keihoku, to me, is a soul town/village because it houses many artisans who are honing their skills in various aesthetic fields. There are furniture makers, potters, designers all living in this quiet village of Keihoku! I would definitely love to spend more time at Keihoku and immerse myself in her soul.

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Shijio Outlet
京都市下京区四条通麩屋町東入ル奈良物町362
1000-1930
Opens everyday

Teramachi Outlet
京都市中京区寺町錦上ル円福寺前町278
1030-1930
Opens everyday

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If you are in Kyoto and are planning to do some fabric shopping, Nomura Tailor is the place to go! There are two shop fronts in Kyoto: one 3-storey high along Shijio, and another smaller one at Teramachi Street. I tried to do a google translation of the address to English but google maps is not able to identify both outlets. For friends who can’t read Japanese or Chinese, I have attached the map above for your reference. The one with the inverted tear pin is the Shijio outlet, while the shop highlighted in red, north east of Shijio, is the Teramachi outlet. I don’t have specific directions on how to get there. Fabric shopping fabric was planned as a part downtown shopping. We took a bus to town and walked everywhere so my direction was all over the place. The nearest subway station would be Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Kyoto line, which links Kyoto and Osaka.

Personally, I was overwhelmed at the Shijio outlet. When I first stepped into the store, gosh they are soooooo many pieces of fabric! So where do I start from? I only had time to shop at the first level which contains most, if not all, the cottons, linens and the Japanese prints. The second level contains the laces, polyesters, wool etc and the last level houses the tools and notions.

First level of Nomura Tailor at Shijio

First level of Nomura Tailor at Shijio

At Nomura, there are pieces of pre-cut fabric hung around the shop for customers to view and feel the fabrics. When you wish to purchase any of them, let the staff know and they will locate the entire bolt, which they will bring to the cutting station.

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Plain cottons and some polka dots

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Nani Iro!

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Checkered and etc

Once you are done selecting the fabrics, proceed to the cutting station/cashier and let them know how much you want for each design. A point to note is that you need to cut and pay for the fabrics at each level before proceeding to the next. While the staff aren’t exactly very fluent in English, they understand basic English and I was able to communicate with them by pointing and hand signals.

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The store at Teramachi Street is more crafty and definitely less overwhelming. It has a variety of cotton, gauze, linen and other notions mainly for craft work and quilting. Fabrics are all displayed in bolts. Similarly, you let the sales assistant know which fabric you want, they will bring the bolt to the cutting station.

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Prior to the trip, I set some targets and boundaries for fabric shopping. I wanted to buy some basic prints such as plaid, checkered and stripes. Fabrics should also be ‘made in Japan’. Altogether I bought a piece of green-blue plaid, black-white checkered, blue-white stripes, white-flowery-lacey print and 3 pieces of Nani Iro fabrics, all made in Japan. They fit my bill and are the perfect souvenir from Kyoto!

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