The Best Vintage Store in the World | A Continuous Lean.

The Best Vintage Store in the World

Nov 16th, 2010 | Categories: Tokyo, Vintage | by Michael Williams

There’s no denying that I have a love of hyperbole, but J’Antiques in Tokyo is definitely one the of the top vintage stores in the world if not the greatest. Just look at the photos — no exxageration needed. This past summer I met the owners (and took their photos) at Brimfield and later when I was making my travel plans to Tokyo I knew I had to make the trip over to Nakameguro to see the store. Needless to say, It was worth the trip. I even lucked out that co-owner Hitoshi Uchida (the gent pictured below) was around to chat and he was kind enough to let me take photos of the store.

What really impressed me about J’Antiques was the shop’s supremely awesome merchandising. In my mind, I can’t decide if this place inspires Ralph Lauren or vice versa. And don’t get me wrong, that type of confusion is a honor of the highest order, because RL is the gold standard of retail environments. (Proof here.) In addition to the beautiful merchandising, J’Antiques was stocked with great vintage. The shop has everything from paper goods to vintage military clothes to work wear and a shit-ton of antique furniture (a good deal of which is probably from Brimfield).  Granted, a lot of what is for sale there is from the States, but go for the inspiration, go for the wonderful dirty mix of old stuff and go to J’Antiques for that hard to find something that they beat you to.

J’Antiques | #101 2-25-13 Kamimeguro Meguro-Ku Tokyo 153-0051 Japan | (03) 5704-8188

Comments: 50

50 Comments to “The Best Vintage Store in the World”

  1. Enzo
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 7:58 AM

    I couldn’t agree more…these are the guys that do it from the heart as opposed to guys that do it to hype their balance sheet!

  2. Brian Davis
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 8:05 AM

    Officially humbled. These guys are not messing around.

  3. Read
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 8:49 AM

    Yeah…these guys get it.

  4. Christina
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 9:15 AM

    There is something more raw about the “styling” of this store that I like in comparison to RL. Very cool.

  5. Tintin
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 9:52 AM

    I’ve never seen anyone make laundry tags look so good.

  6. Robert@AmericanAntler
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 10:00 AM

    I could stare at the case full of old room numbers and locker numbers all day. Beautiful store. Thanks for the inspiring photos.

  7. Noble County Gold
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 10:37 AM

    Place is a gold mine for true vintage lovers. Those leather animals up on the shelf are vintage ANF. I have never seen more than 2 being sold together at at time, and go for $800+ on eBay or at Rose Bowl.

  8. William
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 11:17 AM

    Love the vintage sign and numbers. I have been slowly resurrecting old number/alphabet fonts into new signs out of reclaimed wood oak and pine. These images are more inspiration – for more check out this great typography website i stumbled across the other week.

  9. OTC
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 11:38 AM

    Simply amazing. My first and best reaction – “whoa.”

  10. Fred Hutchison
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 11:46 AM

    Michael. Thanks for sharing these photos. What an amazing store. I sure wish we put a higher value on heritage items here in the USA. I’d love to see more people mixing, using, and wearing items from past eras. (First comment, but I’ve been a regular visitor to ACL for a LONG time!)

  11. Halberstram
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 12:29 PM

    and masculine, to boot.

  12. Paul
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 12:37 PM

    I’m loving those stuffed leather animals.
    Butt loads of inspiration here.

  13. Halberstram
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 12:41 PM

    Michael – any indication of how much of that stuff came from American servicemen

  14. israel
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 2:27 PM

    that facility is not a store is a dream come true, rail caps unobtainable in Spain and I know the round house but you can not send them to madrid

  15. Kyle
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 2:49 PM

    I was there about three weeks ago, thanks to Mr. Levine. It is like walking into another era, no, another universe. Oh, and I used the pisser. Even that was impressively vintage.

  16. mpr
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 2:55 PM

    So that’s where America went. It was outsourced to Japan.

  17. CSP
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 3:42 PM

    Any idea how far this place is from Nerima-Ku?

  18. Gordon Ye Ole General Store
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 3:53 PM

    I could spend at least one day in that store. Also noticed some American stuff; they love our old stuff. I sent a lot of American made jeans to Japan.

  19. robbie
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 4:02 PM

    I love the old locker safety pins, just seeing them reminds me of summers at my grandmas in Vinita,OK.

    You’d pay to swim, get your tag, and when you brought your tag back you got your stuff AND a piece of candy… best public pool ever.

    Thanks for sharing Michael.

  20. DanielF
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 5:00 PM

    The best of genuine America compressed into a tiny store in Japan.

  21. Max
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 5:17 PM

    KILLER !

  22. bryan
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 5:56 PM

    great post. sorry but what’s ANF stand for in terms of those leather animals? seem a good christmas gift!!

  23. kiya
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 6:08 PM

    I just spent an hour here on monday… been going there for years and it’s still one of my favorite shops in the world.

  24. Tim
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 8:27 PM

    Awesome Pics! Makes me want to travel down south, search for an old abandoned barn, and throw some vintage clothes in there! Now THERE’S a gold mine..mind

  25. Emily
    on Nov 16th, 2010
    @ 9:37 PM

    Meh, I wouldn’t say it’s one of the greatest vintage stores out there in Japan.

  26. TT
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 4:50 AM

    It looks like a suped-up version of 11NYC.

  27. Ramalhoni
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 7:38 AM

    Love the look of the store. I’m kind of tired of those minimal kind of places with one jacket on a hanger placed alone on a white wall… !… Stores need more and more this kind of personal touch, they need to be lived in and felt …
    eheheh .. weel thats my opinion …!!! …
    The U.S.N jackets look very cool …

  28. Berton718
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 10:50 AM

    A wonderful post!! I love everything!!

  29. ScoutOhio
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 3:38 PM

    Just beautifully curated. Funny how easy it looks until you try and do it yourself!

  30. Thom
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 4:58 PM

    When I was in Tokyo this summer I popped into here randomly. Nakameguro is one of those neighbourhood’s you stumble across and wonder why the whole world isn’t talking about it.

  31. Noah
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 6:32 PM

    Looks more like a costume closet than a clothing store to me

  32. Sean
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 7:28 PM


    Thank you for sharing this, but also…torment.

  33. John K.
    on Nov 17th, 2010
    @ 10:10 PM


    Thanks Michael.

  34. CONAN
    on Nov 18th, 2010
    @ 10:18 AM


  35. Small Town Boy
    on Nov 18th, 2010
    @ 3:36 PM

    great looking place. Curious how the prices are. I’d think they’d need to be pretty steep to make up for their travel and shipping costs. Anyone?

  36. eatyourchildren
    on Nov 19th, 2010
    @ 11:37 AM

    Wait, so where is the Japanese vintage stuff?

  37. Jessica
    on Nov 19th, 2010
    @ 3:46 PM

    More American vintage shops should be as enamored with Americana.

  38. loosey
    on Nov 19th, 2010
    @ 6:43 PM

    Bobby’s from Boston on Thayer Street is equally beautiful. Check it out if you’re ever in town.

  39. Emma Howard
    on Nov 20th, 2010
    @ 1:01 AM

    Many Japanese people love American culture:aloha shirts,especially the surf industry.

    GreenRoom Hawaii is a Japanese owned surf art-aloha-shirt gallery in Waikiki that features American artists/designers.

    Muumuu Heaven,reconstructed apparel from old aloha shirts/muumuus, based in Kailua now has an identical shop in Japan. Owner told me that Japanese tourists are lined up outside door waiting for it to open.

    Americans collect vintage Japanese fishing coats,sashiko no donza, made from indigo fabrics that are patched together with hand stitching to hang as wall art.

  40. eatyourchildren
    on Nov 22nd, 2010
    @ 4:17 PM

    Pass. Swahili vintage is the next big thing.

  41. Mustache Cowboy
    on Nov 22nd, 2010
    @ 7:47 PM

    GREAT LOOKING store….has a very RRL look and feel. REALLY love the vintage A&F leather footstool animals…Missed one (the bull!!!) at a vintage show here in Okla for $25.00!!! Woman bought it RIGHT in front of me for her 6 yr. son’s western bedroom!! ALSO….Really enjoyed all the Ralph Lauren store pics posted lately. Great work!! Mustache

  42. Lalphaomega
    on Nov 23rd, 2010
    @ 11:00 AM

    Nice pics.

    This is old and It’s a bit clueless to name it “best vintage store” though.

    It’s among the great vintage stores and I recommend it to everyone. But there are several ones that are on par, if not better than this in Tokyo.

    For clothes, GoGetter an Illminate for instance are 1000X better.

    Prices in Tokyo vintage stores are usually very very high. You pay for the US buyer, shipping costs, rarity, high tokyo loans etc…

  43. Chris
    on Nov 23rd, 2010
    @ 3:28 PM

  44. Chris
    on Nov 23rd, 2010
    @ 3:30 PM

  45. mirko di giovanni
    on Nov 28th, 2010
    @ 9:21 AM

    i found this shopin my last journey in Japan….i agree with the post title…about the price…too much expensive…

  46. Backcountry
    on Dec 2nd, 2010
    @ 5:01 PM

    Nice lookig shop, It just boggles me why we don’t hold on to our own history, The Japanese love the old “western” stuff , and they are willing to pay exuberant amounts for it and then it leave our country for good. Its kind of a pity really, Why can’t they be into historical Japanese workwear?

  47. lilnelie9
    on Dec 4th, 2010
    @ 2:23 PM

    WoW!! I looooove this stuff and thank you for sharing while I’m salivating!

    Man, at least I’m not the only crazy one that collects those laundry pins and tags! Whew!

  48. mike g
    on Dec 9th, 2010
    @ 11:22 AM

    dang i really been diggin some native american-inspired clothing and textiles recently. Where could one acquire some well-made items of this style around NYC or on the internets?

  49. tommy
    on Dec 12th, 2010
    @ 3:28 PM

    J’Antique is great but I have to contest the merchandising bit. BERBERJIN (Lab?) in Harajuku wins that prize. Plus, they switched the look of the entire lower ground floor around within a week (I visited twice)!

  50. miss d
    on Dec 13th, 2010
    @ 11:11 PM

    Bobby from Boston is definitely the best vintage clothing store in the world and chances are the owners of this japanese store know bobby and buy from him. bobby is a legendary and seminal influence on more than one generation of vintage purveyors worldwide, especially those with emphasis on work wear and americana.