My main means of buying clothes has always been thrifting. It’s honestly one of my most favorite activities. Inexpensive, sustainable for the planet, and a great way to find the most unique clothing. One of my favorite things to do in any city is to check out what their thrift stores have to offer.
So far I’ve done my fair share of thrifting in Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto and want to share some of my favorite thrift stores so far and some tips. I have a few in varying levels and styles. Let’s start!
Book Off Super Bazaar
Book Off is mainly known as a chain that sells used books and music equipment, however, if you find a Book Off Super Bazaar, you have hit the jackpot. There’s a few scattered around in Osaka and Kobe. I actually only recently found out about Book Off like last week on a whim. The vibe is very similar to Saver’s/Value Village/basically any big thrift store in America. I’m talking rows and rows of a bunch of clothing. So much to dig through but so much gold! Very cheap, things typically range from ¥500-¥1200 ($5-12).
Okay so Second Street is probably my favorite chain. It has a Buffalo Exchange type of system where people bring their clothes to sell and then the store resells the clothing. There’s pretty much a Second Street in like every neighborhood. The selection is great because the items go through this vetting process. But they typically don’t try to stick to a style in particular, there’s still variety within the selections. The racks are also organized extremely well. The prices vary from really nice brand name items going for ~¥4000 to being able to find marked down things for ¥300.
My favorite ones are the ones in Kishibe and Kamishinjo, these are closest to the neighborhood I live in. I find that the stores that are in smaller residential neighborhoods have better prices and more variety, as opposed to the ones in city centers like Kyoto Kawaramachi or Umeda. In those city centers, the clothing tends to be more higher end and expensive.
Kinji Used Clothing
So Kinji has a similar setup, where people sell their clothing, however, the style is definitely much more curated. The overall vibe is “vintage”, kind of like “American” casual clothes. Very decade based selections ranging from the 90s, 80s, 60s, etc and also some sections catered towards other styles like Rococo and Gothic. A bit more expensive than aforementioned shops but still not too bad. Prices ranging from ¥1000-3000. A great place to go to if you have something very specific you are looking for, especially jeans and shorts. My favorite one is in Namba.
In Japan, they are also called Recycle Shops (リサイクルショップ) or Secondhand stores (中古品店) rather than thrift stores.
Some shops may come up on Google Maps in kanji, but don’t let that deter you, check out the photos in the google maps search!
A general thrifting tip: take your time and also have something in mind what you are looking for! Like a particular wash and style of jeans or color shirt.
Train your eye to sift through all of the racks to find the certain clothing materials and styles that you gravitate towards or are looking for, especially at stores like Book Off and Second Street. Its such a massive selection, and in the midst it can be overwhelming and all of the clothes blend together, but be patient!