Broke in the Toke: 100 yen fabric!

This is part of a series of posts designed for those who are in wonderful places with not much cashola but still want to see and enjoy as much as they can.

If the truth be told, I should not be allowed anywhere near a fabric store...or at least stripped of all my cash before I can enter.  Especially when it is a Japanese fabric store.  When I first came across one in Kyoto many moons ago, tears came to my eyes, people.  I kid you not.  I almost broke down and wept like a baby at the sight of all the glorious fabrics laid before me.

Thus..if you are a fabric junkie and you are broke in the Toke, I give you Tomato.  

The leanest prices and the meanest staff (really, some of them are really meeeeeeeean, but um, I love the man who cuts the fabric in the basement of the cheapie section).  For those who are really low on cash, check out the 100 yen (108 yen) section.  Prices start at....unsurprisingly, 108 yen.  There are some highly dodgy fabrics, but great things I have managed to pick up are chambray, red and white stripe, some cute boat fabric, fabric with some weird dancing folk people, fabric for making a pirate costume and a full rainbow of tulle between 100 and 200 yen a metre (plus sales tax).  Be warned that the Tomato labels have the pre-tax price on them, so add 8% as of April 1st, 2014.  The second floor of the bargain shop (first floor depending on where you come from) has dancey and evening fabrics, lovely soft voile and Indian cotton type fabrics and some wild African prints - up to about 780 yen per metre (plus tax).

In the main building, prices are still generally reasonable.  Today, I got some cute cottons at between 200 - 580 yen per metre (plus tax)

Also be warned that it is a shitfight in there.  Try not to bring small children as they might get swept away in the rush and try not to go on the weekend.  Today, the queue for cutting went around the store floor twice and no-one could get near the fabrics.  In addition,  quite a few stores in the 'hood that Tomato is in are closed on Sundays.  Keep in mind that the bargain store also only cuts from a metre up, but I think different rules apply according to the fabric in the regular main Tomato store next door.  AND...very important - they only take cash.

Be nice to the environment and bring your own (sturdy) bag.  Wear comfy shoes as there are stairs to negotiate in both the bargain and the main store and so as not to stomp all over your fellow shoppers. 

And if you weren't broke in the Toke when you got there, you will be soon.


Tokyo, Arakawa-ku, Nippori East 6-44-6
Get the train to Nippori Station and follow the signs to Nippori Fabric Town.


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