For enthusiasts, Japanese denim is the most prized, favored for its deep dyes; rough, imperfect hand; and (if you’ve never worn it) startling density. Since the debut of Big John in 1965, the city of Kurashiki has produced the bulk of Japan’s jeans. Perhaps the most comprehensive denim shopping on earth is found in the Jeans Street district (2-2-85 Kojima-Ajino), a five-minute cab ride from Kojima Station. Today, many of the top brands are also found in Tokyo. Try the craft-obsessed, hippie-nomad brand Kapital (Gaia Ebisu Bldg. 1F, 2-20-2 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku; kapital.jp) or the classic, understated Momotaro (Ao Bldg. 2F, 3-11-7 Kita- Aoyama, Minato-ku; momotarojeans.net). For a retro experience, head to the stalls of Ameyoko open-air market in Ueno, where Occupation soldiers once sold off their used pairs. Maruseru (5-20-3 Ueno, Taito-ku; maruseru.com), the very first store in the nation to sell jeans, is still going strong.
Where to Buy Jeans in Japan
The places to find the best denim in the country.