Modern Kimono at Tokyo 135˚


The Tokyo 135˚ shop is hidden away on the second floor in a small building on a back street of Harajuku. If you don’t know it is there, you’ll most probably never find it. You’d miss out on Harajuku’s best modern kimono shop.

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Tokyo 135˚ doesn’t look like your average kimono shop. For one thing, there is not a single tatami mat in the whole store. It is modern, fun and the music is J-Pop. “We want to appeal to young people,” says shop assistant Yuki Inoue (23).

Tokyo 135˚ Kimono Shop
Yuki Inoue at the Tokyo 135˚ Harajuku store

Tokyo 135˚ was started in October, 2005, as a project of students of Chuo University. They thought up the concept, found the location and ran the store. Financial and practical support was given by Tokyo Yamaki K.K., a company with many years of experience in the fashion market. When the students’ project ended in October 2007, Tokyo Yamaki took over the shop. Last September it added a new one at another location.

“We sell everything that has to do with Kimono,” explains Inoue, “kimono, obi (sash around middle), obijime (belt around obi), zori (traditional footwear) and so on.” Tokyo 135˚‘s selection consists of both new and used kimono. “Most of the used kimono are from the Showa Period (1924-1989),” says Inoue.

Kimono Textile
Vintage kimono

Although the shop looks like it caters exclusively to women, some 20% of the stock is actually men’s wear.

“Kimono are becoming more and more popular again among young people,” explains Inoue. “Even people who have never worn kimono before want to wear one. Usually they have worn yukata (cotton summer kimono) before and that makes them want to try on kimono.”

The Gothic Lolita boom of the past few years has also re-ignited interest in this centuries old clothing, explains Inoue. “Many young people experience kimono the way you enjoy a masquerade party. You see that especially people wearing Gothic Lolita love kimono.”

Inoue herself wears kimono daily for her work. “Without kimono, I feel like something is missing. Kimono have become an indispensable part of my life.”

Kimono with Lace Collar
The latest trend, a lace overlay on the collar

Kazari Heko Obi
Making kimono playful: a chiffon ribbon

This year saw many women wear a chiffon ribbon, called kazari heko obi over their usual obi. It makes the kimono look far more playful and removes the very formal image that most kimono hold in Japan.

To cater to this playfulness, Tokyo 135˚ has a large selection of kazari heko obi and also all kinds of fun accessories. Many surprise you, or make you smile. Like a skull obi pin for example (see photo below). Kimono are the last place where you’d expect a skull. It looks really cute, though. Another surprising accessory that has become extremely popular recently, is a lace overlay for the collar (see photo above).

For years, kimono rules felt like they were written in stone, but today’s youth loves to experiment and the result is the resurgence of a clothing item that many had about written off just a few years ago. Thanks to shops like Tokyo 135˚, there is a future for kimono again outside official ceremonies.

See all photos of Tokyo 135˚.

Location: Tokyo 135˚ is a short walk from Harajuku station. See map below.

Skull Obi Pin
Skull obi pin

Harajuku Store
Address: Maple Square 2F, 4-25-35 Jinguumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
Phone: 03-3479-2767
Hours: 12:00-20:00
Closed: Second Tuesday Every Month

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Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

This is one of my favorite stores in Harajuku! Do go and check it out.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 2, 2008 (4914 days ago)

traditional & new. ecletick, but good. i like it!

Dec 10, 2008 (4906 days ago)

Thanks, Mirjam. The best of the old with the best of the new. I like that a lot. Expect more cool finds like this over the next few months.

Kjeld Duits (author)
Dec 10, 2008 (4906 days ago)

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