May 6, 2017
Newcomers with families to Japan will have a bunch of baby steps to do to settle down. To start with, you will need to set up a house and find out where to shop to get the starting tools for it. Your Japanese friends and coworkers will get tired of your hundreds of questions, so figuring out on your own is a ‘must’. With a help of a friend, you can buy a phone or set up your computer with wifi and then have fun discovering stores in your area via Google maps. If you are going to live in northern Honshu, there are some stores that can be very helpful for furnishings when you are first settling down. In Kanto area, (Gunma/Gumma) these are:
Cainz Home: This chain of retail stores is similar to American stores like as Bi-Mart, Wal-mart or Bed, Bath & Beyond, and carries items for kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and garden. They also have supplies for pets, bug repellents, small tools for maintenance and building. Foreign mothers of school-aged children may find no one can tell you where to get name tags to be attached to all your child’s belongings (though they will tell you these are required!). If this store is close to you it can be a useful source of name tags and stationary items for home and school.
Sanki stores: Sanki is another retail store for home improvement, which also sells auto parts. All of the above products mentioned as sold at Cainz can be easily purchased here, and they have craft supplies for jewelry making and sewing and knitting. If your hobby is sewing and you are too far away from Dream or Nippori fabric town, Sanki has a selection of textiles.
People who love DIY crafting with luxury yarns and jewelry beads can also find a privately owned store around Shibukawa station in Gunma prefecture for these items.
Recycle stores: Check out your local area recycle stores where you can buy used items such as sewing machines, furniture, heaters, and kitchen utensils to make life affordable in Japan.
Nippori Disrict: Once you and your family get settled and you want to think about occupying your free time, there are plenty of places in Tokyo’s Nippori District for crafters. Materials for new curtains or couch covers and leathers are available here. Nippori textile town is a paradise for fashion designers and businesses. Japan's enormous Fabric and Textile town is in Nippori District. Nippori station is only 2 minutes via subway from Tokyo station. If you are coming from Gunma or Niigata, the easiest way to reach Nippori from Gunma is by train:
• to take train from Takasaki station to Tokyo station (about 3 hours)
• from Tokyo station to Nippori station. (2 min) Here you can buy fabrics suitable for any specific purpose.
Nishimatsuya: When you are expecting a child, this store is great for mother and baby necessities. You can purchase kids clothes and shoes that are affordable from Nishimatsuya for ages 0-12 years old. Kids bags and slippers are available here, too.
Shimamura: Affordable formal and casual clothes, convenient life supplies such as slippers and towels, bed sheets, and cushions. In summer, if you are searching for where to buy Yukata this is the shop to navigate.
Amazon.co.jp has wide selection of products and online shopping here is easily set for you even the delivery time. Japan’s postal service is fast, reliable and flexible. Returning or changing your products may be tricky when you do not speak Japanese.
Rakuten: Rakuten is an e-commerce site with online stores selling almost everything. Setting up an account when you have limited Japanese may be hard.
A mother who is interested in taking photos, hiking, and traveling. Favorites are sewing, knitting, sipping coffee. I am very happy to be found city-cost expat community in Japan, to dedicate it to improve writing skill.