Japanese goods are hard to find in the US, though they are increasingly becoming more available. When I was starting my kit, I had no idea where to purchase many items I needed. I set up a forwarding service and used my meager command of the japanese language, along with google translate, to get started.
I have personally purchased from most of these stores, so I can recommend them with confidence. However, not all of these stores sell exclusively pre-1600 items, so do your research before buying.
What I learned, bought, and used started a practice of integrating traditional tools and garments into my everyday life. While not all of these items are useful to the re-enactor, most are of at least passing interest.
I have found many traditional items are wonderful in daily living, such as the brooms, futons, and tabi shoes. Many are a great compromise for camping, with modern materials and a traditional design. And some haven’t changed a bit in over 400 years. So many things just make sense, and are more durable and easy to use than their modern counterparts.
- Kimonomachi – Mostly modern stuff, but I really like this store. They have plus size yukata, and good sales, and good customer service.
- Tayu Tafu – Features a lot of Japanese fabrics, and made in Japan traditional clothing. My jinbei are from here. I buy from the “Rocca” section. Also has fabric scraps!
- Samue Co – Bespoke kimono tailoring. They will make period clothing. They speak english and have great customer service. Prices are fair and reasonable for the high quality.
- Miyata Orimono – Samue, beautiful hanten, and fabrics. They sell scrap fabric bundles too which are awesome!
- Sumitaya – Festival Shop. Lots of garb, including underwear and waraji.
- Linen Hakama – The only linen hakama I’ve ever found (correction: Miyako from samue will now make them too). When I was starting out and needed more hakama for pennsic fast I bought these, ripped out the backplate and resewed the back pleats. Took all of an hour, and they’re lovely breezy in the summer.
- Sou-sou – Modern “anachronistic” japanese clothing made in japan. I love their tabi for everyday wear. Their obi are out of this world beautiful, and I use their zori and geta at pennsic. Have a fun riff on muromachi jackets as well.
Kimono Bolts & Period Textiles
- Tosen – Kimono Bolt Outlet, Some Unfinished Kimono too!
- Wahukuyatoku – Recycled Kimono Bolts.
- Traditional Fabric Mill – Cotton and Hemp.
- Tokuan – Silk Brocade. Probably the only place to find japan-made period, true silk brocade for those heian gowns.
- Bansyo – Akane and Indigo dyeing. Yes, it’s cotton, but so many people have asked where I have gotten such lovely linen….
- TakeTora – Bamboo Everything
- FujiTaka – They have backpack baskets, and the drinking gourds too.
- Kagoya – Lots of baskets, made in China with japanese supervision, so more affordable. I love my green bamboo basket from here.
Furniture & Housewares
- Futons & Bedding – Made in Japan. Bought my kotatsu futon here. It’s amazing. They will make custom for you.
- Kiri Wood Furniture – I got my rice storage box from here :3
- Wazakkaya – Tenugui and Scrolls, Scrollweights. Actually there’s a lot more here, including leopard print yukata (yikes). Their tenugui are beautiful and I have several hanging in my house.
- Sakura Pottery – Traditional pottery for restaurants. Prices are very reasonable, pottery is made in japan.
- TureDure – More pottery for restaurant supply.
- Carolina Morning Furniture – The best futons & zafu, and the best people
- Real Japan Project – Made in Japan Objects, mostly tableware and tools.
- Iwachu – Not just this one store, but the brand Iwachu in general makes amazing teapots and cast iron pots. I personally own the wok, a teapot, the bean pot, the omelette pan, and the sukiyaki pan, and the rice cooker… I might have an addiction. It’s so light and smooth compared to western cast iron! And the designs are very well thought out!
- Hachikudo Fans – There are some nice ones here, like persimmon dyed ones and tea ceremony ones as well. You can find traditional ones, just have to pick through.
- Kumihimo – Any sort of silk cord you would like; I have personally gotten sageo here and they were lovely.
- Inden-Ya – Leather accessories dating back centuries.
- SugiSaki – Umbrellas and Hats.
- Sanada Himo – Flat-woven cord dating back to the late sengoku period.
- Sugegasa – Traditional palm rush hats made in fukuoka
Art & Craft Supplies
- Shoyu – Calligraphy and painting supplies. They have the gold paint and indigo paper for copying sutras, among other rare finds.
- Kurashige Tools – deadstock and hard to find japanese woodworking tools
- Mori Kuni Cabinet Hardware – Cabinet hardware for tansu. They also sell architectural fittings.
- Muro Kanamono – Tansu and Teahouse hardware. Forewarning, some items need to be ordered through email communications. I used white rabbit express.
- Shrine Store – I haven’t ordered anything from here yet, but there’s some wildly antique things (stone belts!) I came across it when looking for kamidana supplies for the dojo.