After every visit to Daikanyama, I leave thinking it is the neighborhood I would most like to inhabit should I ever move to Tokyo. It is never really crowded, there’s an Eataly (which pre-dates and surpasses NYC’s consistently chaotic eye-talyon outpost), really delicious coffee, leafy streets and of course good shopping. It sort of reminds me of TriBeCa in a lot of ways. That’s to say it is probably very expensive to live there, which likely means I would not ever be able to call it home, but it’s fun to imagine. Anyway, back to the point at hand: the importance of quality menswear retail. Tokyo has it in spades, much more than any city anywhere in the world. Having been all over the place, I am comfortable saying this rather bold statement because it is undeniable. The consumer culture is borderline insane and that is what makes it so much fun to visit.
In a way, shopping Tokyo is like going to Pitti Uomo; if you go every year, you see a lot of the same thing (or similar things). You really could go once every few years and not miss much. This rang true on my most recent trip to Japan with the exception of a few different places, one being Daikanyama’s newish menswear shop Journey.
The store sort of seems to be based on the theme of the outdoors look, but only really in aesthetic ways. Kind of like those key chain carabineers, that if ever actually used for anything more than keeping your keys together, would mean certain death. So probably best not to actually head to the wilderness in any of this stuff. Better to just stick to the tree-lined parts of Tokyo. All that said, real deal or not, Journey sells a lot of great stuff, including a comprehensive selection of Mt. Rainier Design, a collection which I happen to really like.
Journey is the sibling to the store next door called OKURA (which has been around for some time and is well-regarded) and also to the Americana heavy (and tiny) shop across the street called High! Standard. I didn’t realize the connection at first, but all three stores including another around the corner are owned by the same parent company. All of these stores represent a different type of look, but collectively they each do their part to manifest interesting menswear retail.