Fabric Shopping in Osaka, Japan.

We recently holidayed in Japan and stayed briefly in Osaka, where I looked for fabric and craft supplies. I’m on a fabric and pattern diet and wasn’t looking to buy a lot, but it’s always interesting to see what’s available and what the shops are like! Here’s my experience. You can also read about my fabric shopping in Tokyo and Kyoto here.

[Warning: Photo Heavy]

I went to the following shops:

  1. Toraya
  2. Yuzawaya (Osaka branch)
  3. Semba Centre

I didn’t get to go to Otsukaya, which is a 20-minute train ride from where I stayed. You can read about it in Runa, Stacey and Choo‘s posts on their blogs.

I. TORAYA

  • Address: 3 Chome-2-30 Nanba, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0076, Japan
  • Opening hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm, Monday-Sunday

Most frequently visited by international and local sewists, because it’s located in a busy arcade close to the main train station. You can read about Bec and Micki‘s experiences.

It’s close to the Namba and Samsaibashi stations on the Midosuji line (JR). It is inside the long shopping arcade Ebisubashi-suji.

Ebisu Bashi-Suji entrance

 

Toraya on the main street of the arcade, on the corner, and it can’t be missed if you are looking for it.

 

It’s got 3 floors. On the racks and shelves outside are bargain buys and ready-cut pieces.

 

The bottom floor is mostly cottons, chirimen, Japanese prints, party fabrics, Indonesian Batiks and fleece.

 

The floor stock are only samples. You have to ask an attendant if you want to buy any. The minimum cut is 50cm and in 10cm increments. The price does not include the tax (about 8%).

 

Cute Japanese cottons.

 

Japanese print and textured cottons.

 

Chirimen (crepe-like textured weave) in Japanese prints, which was what I was looking for.

 

Indonesian Batiks.

 

The second floor has cottons, and mostly woollens, cashmere, tweeds, brocade and imported European textiles.

 

Yuwa selection.

 

Asking the attendant to order the fabric. Just let them know how much you want.

 

Then they cut a small piece from the sample fabric in front of you, and wait 10mins then pay at the cashier.

 

This is what I bought. Very disciplined to just choose two!

 

Third floor holds haberdashery items – ribbons, tools, iron-on patches, patterns, studs and accessories.

 

Japanese-designed patterns. There are also Big 4 patterns translated into Japanese.

 

I was tempted to get the Japanese version of KAM snaps – but since I probably wouldn’t know how to get replacements online, I didn’t get them. Might just order KAM instead…

 

Tools and other useful stuff.

 

You have to pay for items on the third floor there, not to be mixed with the fabrics downstairs. These are what I bought.

 

II. YUZAWAYA

Having been to the large branch in Tokyo, I was slightly disappointed in the size of the one in Osaka. But it stocks some cute Japanese cottons (mostly cutesy prints), party fabrics, a range of tools and craft materials for beading, knitting, bag-making and resin jewellery.

  • Address: 〒530-0012 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, Shibata, 1 Chome−3−16
  • Opening hours: 10am – 9pm
It’s located within a shopping centre, but it’s not easy to look for. I found it easiest to go to the large department store Takashimaya, go to the basement level (which sells yummy foods, all sorts) and out the exit. Yuzawaya is not far across. This is the entrance to Takashimaya which is at a major cross-road and close to the train station exit.

 

Alternatively, you can entre this shopping centre (Namba CITY Nankai) further down the road from Takashimaya, and Yuzawaya is inside it, on B2/F, same floor as Uniqlo. However it wasn’t easy to find!

 

Yuzawaya, Osaka branch.

 

Mostly wovens, not much apparel fabrics.

 

Mostly cute fabrics, some pre-cut, some pre-quilted, mostly on short bolts.

 

A compact shop within a shopping centre.

 

Some nice Japanese print cottons.

 

Party fabrics, synthetics, polyesters, tulle, sequins etc.

 

They also sell sewing machines, tools, notions etc.

 

I didn’t buy anything here, so disciplined! I was going to get some bag-making accessories, because they are so cute, but realistically I’m not going to make bags anytime soon…

 

III. SEMBA CENTRE

Probably the least frequented by travelling sewists, as I couldn’t find too much information online. So I’m going to talk a bit more about this one. I stayed in the Namba area in Osaka and the Semba Centre is only about 15 minutes’ walk from our Hotel, so I dragged took my husband with me (coffee is a good bribe! And I told him it’s really cool, a highway runs ABOVE the buildings! Which was true) and visited the wholesale/retail buildings.

  • Address: 〒541-0055 Area from 1〜4 chome, Semba-chuo, Chuo-ku, Osaka City
  • Opening hours: 9am – 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Sunday closed

Semba Centre can be accessed directly from Honmachi Station of Midosuji and Chuo lines and Sakaisujihonmachi Station of Sakaisuji and Chuo lines. It is comprised of 10 buildings, with 1-3 selling mostly household items; 4-9 selling textiles (including ready-made clothes and shoes); 10 is mainly retail. Most shops are wholesalers, with some of them offering retail. The Henshin Expressway runs on top of these buildings!

The official English website for Semba Centre is here. However, on the Japanese version of the website, you do run a search on shops, like I did with cloth/fabrics here. From the search, the number of fabric shops in each building is as follows. There are photos of individual shops on the website to give you an idea of what they sell and look like. Remember, some of them are wholesale only (also marked on the website).

  • Building 1: one
  • Building 2: zero
  • Building 3: one
  • Building 4: three
  • Building 5: eleven
  • Building 6: twelve
  • Building 7: six
  • Building 8: four
  • Building 9: two
  • Building 10: one

Given the above numbers, we only went to Buildings 5, 6 and 7 with the most number of fabric shops.

Each building is clearly numbered on the outside and inside.

 

The highway runs on top of the buildings.

 

Each building is clearly marked on the inside, and tells you which direction you’re going. There is free Wifi. On the bottom of the sign it tells you which floors house what types of business – here, B2/F is parking, B1 – 2/F are shops, and 3/F is admin.

 

Floor plan with shop directory on each level. Each floor is basically two parallel corridors with shops on either side, with the elevators/escalators in the middle.

 

As we know from the website search, all the fabric shops aren’t clustered together (that would have made it so much easier!). Here there’s a shoe shop on one side and fabric shop on the other. You kind of have to hunt for the fabric shops among others in each corridor.

 

Each shop is quite small.

 

Many shops categorised as “fabric” shops sell rugs, bedding, upholstery materials. I’d say not many sell apparel fabrics.

 

When fabric shops sell retail, they are mostly pre-cut lengths, and some are on bolts.

 

I do like the pre-quilted Japanese print fabrics.

 

This was probably the best fabric shop, with hundreds of swatches of fabrics for you to order…obviously wholesale. There are a small number of bolts which you may be able to buy retail, but the selection is seriouosly dwindled.

 

Not all shops look enticing.

 

Some I didn’t even go in (also a bit tired from walking, and I was hungry).

 

I’m so, so guilty of letting prints catch my eye. It’s normal for me to walk straight past plain fabrics…

 

I don’t regret coming to Semba Centre, it’s interesting even just for (fabric shopping) research purposes. But to be honest, if I was tight on time as a tourist in Osaka, I might not have come. Not that the Centre is not great, but it’s not what I was looking for personally.

 

I didn’t buy anything at Semba Centre, but am still glad to have seen this place.

 

Bonus! Walking from Semba Centre back to our hotel, we came across another fabric shop.

 

And that’s my fabric shopping experience in Osaka :)

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12 thoughts on “Fabric Shopping in Osaka, Japan.

    1. So much, so tempting, so much self discipline! Tho I still bought some, that’s a suitcase less than last time I was in Japan. I decide to inspire myself to see with what I already have, rather than acquiring more! 😁😃

  1. How much fabric did you buy? ;) I used to sew my wardrobe before cycling passion bit me. I can appreciate the inspiration. Yes, I can see some fabric patterns that are seldom found in big North American cities.

    1. I didn’t buy a lot of fabric during this trip in Japan – I’m much more disciplined now!
      It’s also great to have multiple passions :)

  2. Thanks so much for posting such detailed information and photos here!! I’m off to Japan in 10 days and I love to shop for fabrics on every trip I take, there’s so much variety! Even better is the huge selection of notions and sewing supplies that seem to be available! I’m living in Vietnam, with a long tradition of tailoring. Most of the tools I’m accustomed to are unavailable here, which is slowing me down as I try to work my way through my stash.

    1. I hope you find useful sewing tools in Japan when you visit, Ellen! I’d love to visit sewing/fabric shops and markets in Vietnam one day. Many amazing seamstresses, tailors, fabric shop owners, sewing teachers and bridal dressmakers I know have Vietnamese origins. Thanks for commenting too! Have a fun trip (and stay warm!).

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