Moving to Tokyo and need to furnish your house, or just bored with the stuff you’ve got and are looking for a bit of an upgrade? Tokyo has a huge selection of furniture and homewares stores to cover all needs and satisfy all styles. From the big-name mainstream players to niche design boutiques and practical rental options too, here’s where to start.
Furniture stores in Tokyo
The big two: Ikea and Nitori
When it comes to furniture and household goods, there are two big players who take up most of the attention so we won’t spend too much time on them.
First, there’s Ikea, the Swedish cultural phenomenon and the reason so many peoples’ apartments look like carbon copies. That said, it’s cheap, accessible, relatively easy to assemble, and familiar. Ikea has a few outlets in Tokyo (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Minami-Funabashi, Tachikawa), but not all offer the same thing, so do a little research to make sure the store you visit stocks what you need. As a general rule, the inner city options are more lifestyle focused, while out in Tachikawa, they’re all about the big stuff (i.e., furniture heavy).
Nitori is essentially the Japanese incarnation of Ikea. With a big outlet in Harajuku and plenty of other stores across the city (and country), it’s incredibly accessible. Like Ikea, it’s affordable, straightforward furniture that does the job. Being a Japanese brand, Nitori knows the intimate design needs of Japanese apartments, so there’s a chance their offerings are more suited to teeny Tokyo apartments. In the end, whether you’re team Nitori or team Ikea is more a matter of taste, and when we say taste, we mean how far you’ll go for those Swedish meatballs.
Another excellent option worth putting aside some time to explore is Meguro-dori, a large boulevard near Meguro Station and home to vintage and contemporary furniture stores and stylish boutiques. It’s little furniture town and a lovely place to spend a domestic afternoon. There’s a lot to take in here, enough even to dedicate an entire Tokyo Cheapo article about it.
Born in 1990, Francfrac sounds European, but it’s actually a Japanese brand, with over 140 stores (here and in Hong Kong). The store sells mid-range and mid-price furniture that’s both simple but also has a little personality. If you’re looking for a diverse selection of pieces that don’t look like Nitori or Ikea, it’s a great option. Their home accessories, like cutlery, vases, and the like, are also one of the strongest points, making it the perfect place for those who want to add a few extra touches to their home.
Wood You Like
As the admittedly clever name hints at, Wood You Like is a company specializing in wooden furniture. Desks, tables, chairs and bed frames, all your essential furniture needs are covered and carved in high-quality, personality-filled organic woods like maple, cherry, and walnut. Price-wise it’s a bit more expensive than your typical furniture store, so the pieces you find here should probably be considered investment pieces. That said, you can always just pop by their Jingumae (Shibuya) store to browse the selection and find a little interior inspiration.
Wood You Like
A little more, dare we say, stylish than Ikea and Nitori, Muji is Japan’s iconic non-label lifestyle brand that sells everything from clothing and skincare to homeware and furniture (in some stores, like the Shibuya outlet). Like all Muji products, the furniture you’ll find here is elegantly pared back, simple and organic feeling. It’s more expensive than say Ikea and Nittori, however, if you’re looking for a more price-friendly option, the brand has also launched a furniture rental service, which is perfect for those planning to stay in Japan for just a short time.
Obviously not a brand in any way exclusive to Japan, Zara Home is the homewares offshoot of the Spanish-born mega fashion retailer. While their selection of furniture is a little less expensive than other outlets, many of the pieces are rustic and stylish and come in at a pretty good price point. If you’re looking for linen, crockery, and other bits and bobs that look more expensive than they actually are, this is the place to go.
For beauty over budget, try ACME, the effortlessly cool Japanese furniture brand making unique pieces inspired by American vintage and mid-century design. The company has been in business for over 30 years now, and their incredible selection of found and updated vintage pieces and original creations has garnered them a strong social media following. They also have another brand, Journal Standard, which is still vintage but less Americana. Both are well worth exploring, even if just for some design inspiration.
Another store with several branches that gives old furniture a new lease on life, though a little differently, is Tokyo Recycle. This store sells pre-loved products which are in mint condition. From looking at their wares, it seems many of the offerings here are display pieces with a few vintage treats thrown in. If you’re looking for Scandinavian design, arguably one of the finest types of furniture design, they also have a pretty excellent selection of pieces available. Prices do vary depending on the piece, but as a general rule, they’re still cheaper than brand new.
Concept Design is a cover-all store. The online shop sells furniture brands from all over the globe and pieces that encompass all styles. Their specialty, though, would have to be more high-end pieces, like Herman Miller coffee tables, Rolf Benz sofas and the like.
Drawing inspiration from Italian-style living, arflex is a stylish furniture boutique that blends European style with a Japanese eye for detail. The company was born after its founder, Tadashi Hoshina, studied furniture making at arflex in Italy and brought what he learned back to his home country. arflex sells all types of stylish, luxurious-looking furniture, from sofas to outdoor sets. But it is worth noting that these pieces are longer-term investment pieces, not room fillers to discard after a few years. They offer ongoing maintenance for older pieces too, so if you’re here for the long haul and you want furniture that is too, be sure to pay arflex a visit.
Furniture rental options in Tokyo
Amms Nandemo Lease
While information is only available in Japanese, Amms Lease is worth checking out if you’re looking for an easy company that can offer furniture and appliance package deals at a competitive price. For example, if you’re looking to furnish your apartment and don’t want to overthink it, the company offers starting packages like their Standard set, which includes a TV, washing machine, microwave, fridge, and vacuum cleaner for a monthly rate that starts at ¥3,300 for everything. That said, the shorter your rental term, the more expensive the monthly fee, so explore the website to see what they can offer you. They rent furniture like bed frames and homeware like futon sets too.
Azabu Interior by Tokyo Lease Corporation
A furniture rental company clearly marketed to expats here for a good time, not a long time, Azabu Interior by Tokyo Lease Corporation is a rental company offering easy English service and various furniture styles. Can’t be bothered filling out a room piece by piece? The company also offers rental packages by the room (both new and used furniture options available) making it an accessible, hassle-free way to turn your house into a home in no time.
Smart Furniture Rental
Smart Furniture Rental is another expat-centric service renting out both new and used furniture for all needs and styles. The company separated its offering into color schemes rather than rooms (e.g., white package, natural package, etc.). If you’re looking for interior design unity, it’s a good place to start. It is worth noting they don’t offer single-item rental. Everything here comes as a coordinated furniture and home appliances package.
Buying used online
Jimoty and Mericari
There are a few online options for those who will dig through the trash to find some bargain treasures.
Jimoty is a popular resale site used by Japanese locals. You can filter available items by location, which is useful as most things here are pick-up only. Often you’ll find a lot of free stuff too as it’s often easier for folks to give away items than sort them out for trash collection.
Mercari is another option that is a cross between Jimoty and ebay. Like Jimoty it’s all in Japanese but worth the work if you’re looking for a deal.
Tokyo Sayonara Sale
This is a Facebook group of 43K+ people looking to buy, sell and give away furniture and household items. As the name suggests, it’s a popular dumping ground for those who need to get rid of stuff quickly (before leaving the country and the like), so you’ll find lots here for free and cheap. Pick-up/delivery options vary depending on the seller. It’s worth noting too this is just a group, not a business, so be smart when interacting with folk, and don’t go transferring any cash to strangers unless you’re 100% sure it’s all legit.