Tokyo July 2011 Day 1: Koenji

I am a huge fan of Japanese culture and I have wanted to visit Japan for many years now. I finally got the chance to travel to Tokyo this July. I had the time of my life and Japan was even more magical than I had imagined. I took SO MANY photos, it will take me a while to edit them all! So I’ve decided to share a day by day account of our adventure in this blog.

The flight was long but the view was beautiful, especially as we flew over the Alps! We landed in Tokyo on Wednesday 13th July. My brother Aleister lives in Tokyo and he met us at the airport and took us to our guest house in Koenji.

First things first, we went to a Kaitenzushi place (Sushi-go-round) a had a cold nama biru.

We walked around Koenji and looked at all the awesome shops, bars & arcades. Jutt won me a pink Gloomy Bear from this UFO machine! ❤ We got Purikura photos here too!

Tattooed Kewpie dolls in Village Vanguard. The sign outside Village Vanguard says ‘exciting bookshop’ and it truly is exciting – they have wonderful craft & hobby books and mooks but it is also jammed full of cool stuff, from beautiful washi tape to panda shaped nihonshu flasks. I was totally overwhelmed by the awesomeness and had a total ‘OMG I’m in Tokyo’ moment in this shop!

Koenji is known as the ‘birthplace of Japanese punk’ and there are many cool bars, record shops, hairdressers & tattoo parlours there.

This place was possibly the coolest record shop in the world. This sign on the street pointed you down an alleyway that led to the front room of a guy’s apartment that he had turned in to a record shop. We didn’t get to visit it on the first day as it was closed, but we went back another day and discovered some serious treasure. More original Jamaican ska & rocksteady records than I’ve ever seen in one place! Interestingly this shop also sold an amazing range of vintage pyrex.

Koenji also has some of the best vintage clothes shops I have ever seen, packed full of treasure and beautifully displayed. I saw so many beautiful vintage Enid Collins bags! As a fan/collector of her stuff that was really exciting.

Cool yakitori place where you sit outside on crates. We enjoyed some more nama biru here. ^_^

For our first evening meal in Tokyo we went to a yakiniku place where we cooked our own meat on a table top bbq. I liked the cute pig bowls and illustrations on the menu and as a former vegetarian I felt a little bad for eating them. >_<

After dinner we stumbled into Bar Rumholic. This small bar is run by a rockabilly musician who makes his own guitars! We knew from the double bass in the corner and the Rubik’s cubes on the bar that we had found a cool place. After chatting to the barman and his two customers about music, we asked if they knew of any cool Rockabilly bands in Tokyo. It turned out that they were a band, and they picked up their instruments and played an impromptu set. After I told them I loved Johnny Cash, Aleister joined in on guitar and they played Folsom Prison Blues. Jutt also impressed them by solving their Rubik’s cubes! What an amazing night!

We spotted these flags which looked quite a lot like my Tokyo Textiles bunting.

It was an amazing first day in Tokyo, what a great start to our trip. ^_^


12 thoughts on “Tokyo July 2011 Day 1: Koenji

  1. Paula

    The photo of you in Koenji! ♥♥♥ You look so happy, I love it!

    I’m so looking forward to seeing more photos & hearing all about your trip, Koenji sounds brilliant, tattooed kewpies, bunting, pig plate! cuuute! The record shop & other vintage stores there sound AMAZING!

    1. Bethany Post author

      Thanks Paula!! I was *so* happy, that first day in Japan was really incredible! ♥

      Koenji was awesome, I think it was probably my favourite part of Tokyo, and it’s very near on the train to all the other cool places like Nakano and Shinjuku. The vintage & second hand shops there were AMAZING. Seriously, I thought of you because there were so many gorgeous Enid Collins bags there. They were very expensive though! I did get you a little vintage something from one of the Koenji shops but it’s not an EC bag unfortunately hahah! I would have loved to take more photos of the shops but they mostly didn’t allow photos inside.

      Isn’t that pig plate cool?! They actually had them in the ¥100 shop but I didn’t think they’d survive in my suitcase.

      1. Paula

        Aw, thank you again for thinking of me! It sounds like the perfect place for you & Jutt to have stayed. I can imagine the Enids there aren’t cheap! I bet it was really cool to see lots in shops there though even if they were too expensive to buy for yourself! 🙂

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