The RetailOasis team have just come back from 2 weeks in Japan looking at the latest in retail. We’ve seen some amazing stores in our travels and although it’s a hard task to pick out our favourites, here is our top 5.
Itoya flagship store
The Japanese have some of the best stationery stores in the world; and Itoya is arguably the best-of-the-best.
Each floor has a different concept – a floor dedicated to writing instruments, notebooks (where you can build your own) and even a reservation only business lounge. The store has one of the largest supplies of paper types in Japan, with a whole floor dedicated to different paper thickness, textures and colours.
The store has a calming feeling about it – the sounds of nature and birds chirping are played through speakers as you walk the whole store. There’s even an organic hydroponic farm on one floor (which they use to source ingredients for their in-store café).
Dover Street Market
It’s a big call, but we’d say Dover Street Market might be one of the coolest retail stores we visited in Japan.
Originally founded by Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawbuko from Comme des Garcons fame, this seven-floor fashion store feels more like you’re walking through an art gallery.
The store offers a constantly changing selection of designers, including a range of one-off collaborations with such labels as Gucci and Nike.
A stand-alone store under the Muji brand; Found Muji showcases clean, minimalistic and high quality durable goods sourced throughout the world for the home and everyday living.
Tsutaya is a nationwide bookchain throughout Japan. What’s interesting about it is its partnerships with various food and beverage retailers (predominately Starbucks). Whilst the concept of a bookshop / café isn’t anything new, Tsutaya’s really impressed us with it’s unique design.
The feeling as you go inside is that of an actual library. In one of the stores we visited there was even a full bar upstairs.
A “creative life” department store stocking a massive range of hobby, DIY and lifestyle products. Most floors offer free workshops, demonstrations and dedicated spaces for customers to do their own DIY work in-store.
Similar to Bunnings here in Australia, there’s even handy “hint files” available at the front of each store offering advice on such things as how to fix a bike or create your own scrapbook.