Sunday, August 02, 2009

Shimamura the cheaper, more adventurous version of Uniqlo

07.22 Shimamura-Tarumi_2
Shimamura in Kobe's Tarumi ward.

After living in Japan for a while most gaijin eventually will find themselves shopping for clothes in some of Japan’s casual stores like Uniqlo, Muji, or Righton. These shops are somewhat similar to the Old Navy, The Gap, and Tully’s in the USA. One store which recently has gained popularity in Japan, although it’s been around for a long time, is Shimamura. My wife has been shopping there since the family she works for took her to one well before I first met her. It’s so cheap that they will drive an hour across Osaka to go their favorite store.

Shimamura in Tamba, Hyogo

So what do they have? T-shirts with nonsense English, pants with extra pockets and unnecessary chains, normal shirts, dress shirts, dress pants, bras, underwear, socks, towels, bedding, cushions, hats, sunglasses, shoes, slippers a small isle of toys plus some candy and batteries near the register to round it all off.

07.22 Shimamura-Tarumi_3
Chambre and Avail are sister stores in the Shimamura group

The special thing about Shimamura is that everything is different, and finding the same shirt in a different size can be hard. Uniqlo will have 1,000 copies of the same shirt in 5 different colors, Shimamura, on the other hand, will have 1,000 different shirts. When shopping there I first find stuff in my size and then sort out what I want to buy. If you're a 4L or 5L size guy you might be out of luck for pants, but there will be some shirts, socks and underwear that will fit you.

It’s also super cheap and better quality than what you might find in a 100 Yen shop too. Last time I was there I got a nice pair of black dress pants for ¥1,850 and some dress socks 2-pair for ¥200. I buy all my belts and room slippers at Shimamura. As for getting stuff for your apartment Shimamura is great. I get lots of my towels and bedding there. Also, if you’re looking for some cheap Engrish t-shirts to take home for omiyage, this is the place.

07.22 Shimamura-Tarumi_1
Outside Shimamura in Kobe's Tarumi ward

Getting to a store near you might take some work however as many of their stores are best accessed by car. Near Kobe there’s a store in front of Shin-Nagata station on the JR and Kobe Subway lines and a larger store down near the Awajishima bridge in Tarumi-ku. You can find one near you on their homepage (in Japanese).

A store similar to, but not as good as Shimamura in my opinion, is called Itogofuku. I got my mom and sister towels and bedding there when they came to Japan for a few weeks. You can find their stores via their homepage (in Japanese).


Of course if you can't read Japanese feel free to send me an email or comment to this post and I'll help you find a store near you!

This post was in the August Japan Soc Blog Matsuri. You can see other posts about being frugal in Japan at


angryparsnip said...

Good Timed Good Times !...
I had fun shopping at Itogofuku and the card/papergoods section was fabulous just used my last postcard from there this week.
The glasses we bought there are still in use but that happy happy happy summer song they played was in my head for way too long !
Thanks for taking us there and the "Engrish" shirts were a hoot !

gaijinnosekai said...

Seems interesting!! The last time I came to Japan Uniqlo had a great selection but this time around I'm really disappointed with their designs for this season. Might have to check if there's a Shimamura near where I'm staying :)

OSarah Hime said...

i know this article is a bit old but i found it while searching info about cheap shopping in Japan. I leave in Aichi ken, in Kasugai city and was wondering if I could get some help in finding out if there is one in aichi ken? thank you!

David said...

No Problem Sara! There's one near the Metetsu Kasugai station

Try cutting and pasting this address into Google maps:

Or this map in Japanese:

If that one is too far send me an email: [thenameofthisblog] or post another comment.

I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Kindly advise me where can I find the nearer stores of Shimarura, Uniqlo, Shimamura. I will be staying in tokyo, Shinjuku and then to Kanazawa, Takayama and Kawaguchiko. Would appreciate it if you could email to: as I will be leaving this Sunday for 14 days. Thank you so much. Eva

Bayugatry said...

Hai David! I'm Bella. I am new in Japan. This is a nice article from you, really helpful! I live in Osaka, at Suita City. Could you please tell me where is the nearest Shimamura around my city, or maybe around Osaka? Thank you!

David said...

Hi Bella. There is a Shimamura Fashion Mall in Moriguchi city that you should be able to access from Dainichi station from the Osaka Monorail or the Osaka Subway Tanimachi line.

You said Suita, but not what station in Suita. If you're on the Hankyu line you can change to the Monorail at Minami Ibaraki station.

It's a 16 minute walk from Dainichi Station.
You could also take bus number 13 from in front of the station and get off at the fourth traffic light.
Here's a map:

Here's the homepage of the shopping center it's in:

Good luck finding it.

Denille said...

I realize this post is super old but am wondering if it is still a place you would recommend? Then let me know if there is one located near the Ueno Station or Nappori station. Either way, just the closest one to me. Thank you!

David Kawabata said...

There's one at Minami-Senjyu station and one in Odaiba.

Have fun shopping.

Anonymous said...

We live in Ibaraki-shi. Is there one close?

David Kawabata said...

Hello Pat,

Cut and paste this into Google Maps, "しまむら"

There should be a few there. Even one near or in either Hankyu or JR Ibaraki. Shimamura has gotten a bit expensive and much more popular over the years since I posted this. Itogofuku is still cheap. Search: "イトウゴフク”