Motomachi Shopping Street is a long street of boutiques, stores, cafes and restaurants stretching for about five blocks in an area between Yokohama Chinatown and the historic Yamate neighborhood.
One of Yokohama’s most popular shopping districts, Motomachi Shopping Street is lined with over 230 stores which include some famous local and international brands. The street gets especially busy when the one-week Motomachi Charming Sale is held at the end of February and September. At this time Motomachi is crowded with shoppers looking for the best discounts on the high-end products in the street’s many stores.
The History of Motomachi
The Motomachi area was originally a small village where farmers and fishermen lived. After the Port of Yokohama opened in 1859, the Yamate area became a residential area for foreigners and the Kannai area became a business district. As foreign residents went through the Motomachi area to travel between their homes in Yamate and work in Kannai, shops began to open along Motomachi Street to serve their needs. And as the number of foreign residents increased, more Western style clothing boutiques, furniture stores, cafes and bakeries opened there.
Much later, in the 1970s and 1980s, Motomachi became the center of a fashion trend among young women called “Hama Tora,” which is short for “Yokohama Traditional.” The three stores that were most famous for this trend were Fukuzo for clothes, Mihama for shoes and Kitamura for handbags. These stores are still operating on Motomachi today.
Below are some stores to look out for on your visit to Motomachi Shopping Street.
Fukuzo, with its well-known seahorse logo, is probably the most famous clothing store on Motomachi. This store, which was founded in 1946, sells original high quality clothing which is made in-house. Here you can find smart-casual clothes for men, women and children as well as towels and original accessories. Its opening hours are from 10.30 to 18.30 on weekdays and until 19.30 on weekends and holidays. Here is a map showing its location.
Mihama has been selling high-quality, stylish but comfortable ladies’ shoes since 1923. Its opening hours are 10.00 to 19.00 and it is sometimes closed on Mondays. Here is a map showing its location.
Kitamura, which first opened here on Motomachi in 1882, sells clothes, accessories and other goods but is most famous for its wide range of formal and casual bags for both men and women. There are several branches of the Kitamura store on Motomachi, but the main store is open from 10.00 to 18.00 on weekdays and until 19.00 on weekends and holidays. It is closed on January 1st. Here is a map showing its location.
Star Jewelry, which first opened in 1946, is another store that became famous during the Hama Tora fashion boom of the 1970s. All the jewelry in this store is handcrafted by Star Jewelry’s own team of designers and craftsmen. Here you can find a variety of original and unique rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches and other accessories. Star Jewelry is open from 11.00 to 19.30 and closed on January 1st. Here is a map showing its location.
Boutique Minato sells a selection of original clothes and brand products which includes casual menswear and womenswear and bags. This store is open from 10.30 to 19.00 and closed on Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a holiday). Here is a map showing its location.
The Poppy may look like a British old country pub from the outside, but inside it is a formal menswear store. With a focus on classic, traditional styles about 70% of the clothes and accessories in this store are made in Japan, while the rest are brands from Italy, the UK and other countries. The Poppy is open from 10.00 to 19.00 and closed on some Mondays. Here is a map showing its location.
Takarada is a western tableware store which first opened in 1882. Inside the store are high-quality ceramics, glassware, cutlery and antique tableware.
Takarada also has its own kiln and workshop and can make custom products to order. This store is open from 10.00 to 19.30 and closed on some Mondays. Here is a map of the store’s location.
Chikazawa is a linen store, founded in 1909, which sells finely crafted hand-woven lace products such as bags, handkerchiefs, clothes, tablecloths and other interior goods. This store is open from 10.30 to 20.30 with irregular holidays. Here is a map of the store’s location.
Pompadour is a bakery chain which now has outlets across the nation, but the Motomachi branch is the original.
First opened in 1969, this store offers a huge variety of freshly baked French bread, Danish pastries, cakes, buns, sandwiches and pies. Pompadour is open from 9.00 to 20.00 and has irregular holidays. Here is a map showing its location.
M’s Table is a vegan café on the 2nd floor above the Pompadour bakery. On the menu are lasagna, hamburger steak, and a variety of curry, pasta and noodle dishes. These can be followed with one of the many delicious desserts on offer. And of course, everything is completely meat and dairy-free.
M’s Table is open from 11.00 to 22.00 and closed on Mondays. Here is map showing its location.
Motomachinaka Street, just one block south of Motomachi Shopping Street, is a narrower street that is also worth exploring for its many shops and international restaurants.
No trip to Motomachi would be complete without paying your respects at Motomachi Itsukushima Shrine. This is the guardian shrine of the Motomachi area and people pray here for good fortune and success in both business and marriage. This small shrine is located two blocks to the south of Motomachi Shopping Street. Here is a map showing its location.
The eastern end of Motomachi Shopping Street is 2 minutes on foot from Motomachi-Chukagai Station on the Minatomirai Line. The western end of the street is 3 minutes from Ishikawacho Station on the JR Negishi Line. Here is map showing the street’s location. Please note that many stores are closed on Mondays.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by Michael Lambe, t.sakai/pixta (1). All rights reserved.