Crochet · Knitting

Yarn Shopping in Tokyo

I never thought that yarn shopping would become a thing for me, but less than a year living in Tokyo and I already know my way to a couple of yarn shops around the corner. I don’t have a favorite yet, but I have probably been to Yuzawaya in Shimokitazawa more than any other place. 

If you’ve been to Daiso or Foodium in Shimokitazawa, you’ll find the store easily. It’s located on the 6th floor of the Recipe Shimokita, right on top of Daiso. It’s a craft sharp, to be precise and they have a larger variety of fabric and haberdashery (to be honest, I never thought I’d be using this term in my life!) than yarn. However, if you’re looking for a quick, no-fuss shopping, they have a decent variety of yarn and I highly recommend you stop there on your way to Shimokitazawa and if you did, you may be stranded on the cozy yarn corner of the store for a good couple of hours 😉  Seriously, the textures and colors are irresistible and I always end up spending way more time than I had initially intended.

Yarn collection at Yauzawaya, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Now let me inform you about the quality of the yarns and pricing. As a person who has lived in other countries prior to Japan, I find the Japanese yarn quite different, rather small in size and by size I mean the weight of the skeins. I used to think a 100-gram ball of yarn was a standard; apparently not in Japan! Like the tiny food portions common in restaurants and grocery stores, the yarns come in rather small skeins of 25 or 30 grams and the most common are 40 and 50-gram skeins, although you may find larger ones occasionally. Compared to the small portions, the prices, in my humble opinion, are high for most varieties. You may end up paying 11000 yen for 500 grams of yarn (read 10 skeins plus), which means a small-size sweater might cost you around 110 dollars. I guess the most t I paid for the equal amount of yarn was 35 Euros and that was high-quality merino wool in Spain.

But do not despair! There are promotions around the corner and you will find cheaper yarn bagged together for sale at the same store. Yesterday, there were sales of up to 40 percent in many brands and I think when you buy ten skeins of the same yarn, you always get a discount of about 10 percent. As for variety, you can find anything from wool and acrylic to cotton, alpaca, or mixed yarns. Personally, I find the wools a bit rough and I usually go for a mix of wool and acrylic unless it’s merino.
Anyway, after spending almost three hours at the store, I ended up buying a discount pack of Italian merino wool for a bargain!! So much for buying Japanese yarn! The label is Japanese though 😉

Black merino wool with subtle silver rays, made in Italy

I paid around 1000 yarn for the whole pack and though I’m not a fan of black or glittery yarn, I found this batch quite beautiful and am already thinking of doing an elegant cardigan, either knit or crochet. I’m yet to decide but I will let you know as soon as I’m done with my current project, which I will be posting about next week. (Spoiler: It’s a crochet summer top with an intricate lacey pattern!) And yes, I’m quite addicted to crochet already.

By the way, if you’re looking into buying crochet hooks or basic needles, get them at Daiso for a tenth of the price at more sophisticated stores. That’s it for today. I will probably write a separate post on hooks and needles in the near future.