In Jimbocho, where various cultures intersect, we visit famous stores. [Kai Sanpo-Visit Tokyo’s famous stores-]

3 years ago

We take a walk around the famous stores with the American casual master in Jimbocho.

Already very familiar with GO OUT magazine, Mr. Kai of Bamboo Shoot is joining us for a shop tour series “Kai Sanpo” that goes around famous stores in Tokyo with guests from various fashion industries that change each time. The third walking spot is Kanda Jimbocho, which is lined with a variety of long-established second-hand bookstores, musical instrument stores, and sporting goods stores.

Mr. Kai introduced me to today’s guest, “Today, I wanted to call on someone who is rooted in this town”. Hiromitsu Shimakura, who has worked at American casual shop MAINE, and has been in Jimbocho for over 30 years. He has been acquainted with Kai since before Bamboo Shoot (more than 20 years ago), and he is still in regular contact with him.

Right / Kazuhiko Kai (Director of BAMBOO SHOOTS) Works as director of bamboo shoots. Left / Hiromitsu Shimakura (MAINE buyer) While involved in buying as the main staff, he is also in charge of planning the original brands Camco and Mayo Spruce.

So, the two gathered at Jimbocho Station. It’s an area familiar to Mr. Shimakura, but Mr. Kai visited for the first time in a while.

Shimakura “It’s been a long time !!”

Kai “It’s been a long time. When I think of Jimbocho you’re the first person I think of.”

Shimakura: “No, that’s got to be better things than me (laughs). I’m still studying the area a lot. There are many second-hand bookstores and musical instrument stores in this area, and it’s a city that has been transmitting various cultures from a long time ago.”

Kai “That’s right. This time, I’m thinking of visiting one of my favorite stores.”

Shimakura “Sounds great, let’s do it.”

Kai “When we’re done, let’s go get some good food.”

Shimakura “It’s also famous as a B-class gourmet town. There is a good pork cutlet shop so let’s check it out!”

This time we will visit three famous stores, but each shop is about a 5-minute walk from Jimbocho Station where the two of them gathered. One of the attractions of the Jimbocho area is that you can easily visit famous stores by train.



First of all, the two of them came to the long-established select shop “Maine” where Mr. Shimakura also works. Since its founding in 1988, it has carefully selected high-quality American casual items that are timeless. By the way, the shop name is from the state of Maine, an outdoor sanctuary that is also known as the home of L.L.Bean.

Mr. Shimakura is home, so we decided to have him choose his recommended items for this summer. Kai has been a regular customer for a long time, ever since he was 19 years old.

Kai “I really love the atmosphere of the display here. The shirts are neatly folded and arranged in gradations, so it feels careful and deliberate”

Shimakura “Thank you. I’ve been focusing on shirts for a long time, and I think there are more than 50 types.”

Mr. Kai carefully checks the racks piled up with a large number of folded shirts. “It’s okay to ask the clerk,’Can I open this up?'”, Says Kai, who has been involved in the hospitality business for a long time while attending as a regular customer.

CAMCO Chambray shirt ¥9350

Among the wide variety of shirts, here is one that Mr. Shimakura recommends. The chambray shirt is woven from the fabric similar to those used in the 70’s and 80’s, and boasts sustained sales for more than 10 years.

Shimakura: “This is my standard item. Camco has more than 10 types of shirts, but I personally this the most. It’s like a uniform that I wear all year round. It can also be worn outdoors.”

The original brand Camco is available in a wide range of styles, from pullovers to open collars. Both of them like shirts, so they can’t stop talking about them.

Bills Khakis M2 Chino pants ¥26180

However, of course, Maine has a wide variety of masterpieces other than shirts. That’s why Kai chose some basic chinos while in the middle of saying, “I’m curious about the shirt …”.

Speaking of chinos, Kai said “When I was young I learned about chino pants in Ame-Yoko in Osaka(laughs). Actually, I think it’s a symbol of a preppy style. It’s the king of chinos. ”

And the two move to the next destination. However, the second store, “Sakaiya Sports Echo Plaza,” is a 1-minute walk from the Maine store. I arrived shortly after having a talk with the locals in Jimbocho.


[SHOP 2] Sakaiya Sports Echo Plaza

Among “Sakaiya Sports”, which has 5 stores in Jimbocho, “Echo Plaza” is a shop centered on mountaineering, trail running, and camping gear. Reflecting the social situation this summer, he is focusing on outdoor gear that can be used at solo camps and at home.

In fact, both of them have been regulars for 20 years. Kai has a connection at work, and he seems to stop by whenever he comes to Jimbocho. Mr. Shimakura sometimes comes to hang out during work breaks. We decided to take a walk while relaxing in the large store.

Kai “This is a long-established mountaineering store that represents Tokyo. In the past, there were many shops with untidy interiors, but from early on, the products were lined up neatly.”

The bag corner that covers the entire wall is a masterpiece. There are various models from small to large, and Mr. Takahashi, a staff member, says, “Almost all outdoor brand backpacks are available here.”

Shimakura “This feeling is similar to the atmosphere of an American outdoor shop. If you line up this many items, you will find not only the model you want but also the bargains.”


Among the large number of backpacks lined up, Kai pays attention to the backpack carrier of the domestic brand Evernew. Although it weighs 1800g, it is a great piece that boasts a static load of 60kg, and is handmade by craftsmen

Kai “It’s been around for a long time, but the design hasn’t changed. It’s an item I’d like to have someday. With this type of heavy duty bag you feel like a man among men.”

Mr. Shimakura checked the camp gear corner. Recently, I’ve been invited by friends to go camping, and I’m curious about various items. And while holding a Coleman lantern, he listens carefully to the staff’s explanation.

Coleman  power with 2 mantle   ¥21800

A classic large white gas lantern that boasts a brightness of 300 candle power with 2 mantle specifications. A special hard case is also included in the set.

Shimakura: “I’m aiming for a vintage model, but it’s getting more and more expensive. Then I wonder if the current model is fine. Above all, it’s still better to make it in the United States. The rugged feeling is the best.”

The two who enjoyed a large amount of outdoor items at “Sakaiya Sports Echo Plaza” walked to the next destination. However, on the way they found a shop they were interested in. Such a small detour is one of the best parts of going shopping in person!

Kai “Oh, what’s here? It looks like a coffee bean specialty store. It looks delicious !!”

Shimakura “It’s” Kuraki Coffee Shop “. It’s a long-established store that has been running for about 50 years. Jimbocho has quite a lot of old shops like this in the alley that is one off from the main street.”

Kai “Checking out small alleyways often leads to great finds like this doesn’t it!”

Then we cross the intersection of Jimbocho and head towards Kanda Station. It is only a 7-minute walk from “Sakaiya Sports Echo Plaza” to the next shop “Magnif”. The two of them enjoy walking under the early summer sunshine.


【SHOP 3】magnif

Among the various antiquarian bookstores in Jimbocho, the magazine-themed “Magnif” stands out. Back numbers of domestic and foreign fashion magazines from the 1950s to the 90s are available, and many people from the fashion industry and publishing visit.

For two people who have been in the fashion industry for a long time, this is a valuable shop where you can study their roots in culture and archival materials.

Kai “I used to read magazines when I was young, and when I want to read them again, this is the place. I miss the old magazines that I used to read when I was young and serialized (laughs).”

Shimakura “I often dig up” POPEYE “and” Hot-Dog PRESS “from the 1980s that I read when I was little. Of course, I also study catalogs from the 1960s too.”

The nostalgic books lined up here are not limited to Japanese fashion magazines. The two of them are paying close attention to Tim Walker’s photo book “I LOVE PICTURES!” Published in 2007. International books are also in abundance.

Left/『POPEYE』1991,March  ¥2000  Right/『AllRight』1984,February   ¥800

Under such circumstances, here is what the two actually purchased. After checking several 90’s “POPEYE” books, Kai picked up one that interests him. Mr. Shimakura discovered “AllRight”, which is said to be a legendary American casual magazine.

Kai “At that time,” POPEYE “was doing interesting projects such as overseas street snapshots. The magazine has changed and the amount of information is large, but the advertisements from that time are actually pretty cool.”

Shimakura “‘AllRight’ is a magazine that was published only for one year from 1983 to 1984, but I remember having my seniors show me the first issue. It was rumored that the content was very good. Of course I’m a follower, but I can still feel its relevance now.”


A city full of charm that could not be fully explored up in one go.

The two guys really enjoyed the shop tour unique to Jimbocho where various cultures intersect. Although it is a local area familiar to Mr. Shimakura, he said that he was able to see some new places and rediscover his love for the town. On the other hand, Mr. Kai seems to be left wanting more.

Shimakura: “I usually come here because of my workplace, but it was fun because I rarely go out slowly like this. It made me realize how much I like it here again (laughs).”

Kai “It’s a good city. I love it. I want to do this project again around here.”

Shimakura “Then, let’s do it with some good food as well next time!”

Photo/Sousuke Shimizu