While you may not be able to afford to wander into any old shop for a fitting, there are some ways to get a nicely fitted suit in Tokyo for less.
What to know before visiting Tokyo suit shops
You may have noticed that a lot of people in Tokyo wear suits. If you’ve had the misfortune of riding a rush-hour train, you will have noticed this very much, and probably had a good chance to study the fabric and patterns in great detail too. Unsurprisingly, while there are many bog-standard black suits available, the Japanese’s love of quality and skill mean you can buy some pretty impressive suits here.
There are three main levels to buying a suit, though they stray further from the cheapo price range with each leap. Off-the-shelf suits can fit well if you’re lucky and for the most part they get the job done. When you’re in a foreign country and maybe don’t fit the average sizes though, this can be tricky; you may find yourself with just-long-enough sleeves but a billowing chest as the price to pay.
Next, you can opt for a made-to-measure suit, where the pattern has still been pre-cut, but will be adapted and modified to fit your frame by a tailor.
Far away, on the other side of the spectrum (and income range) is a bespoke suit—with every part personally measured and handmade to fit you, and only you, with no pattern used. Now, while we can’t offer much advice on cheapo bespoke suits (we are not magicians, after all), there are some affordable spots to get a beautiful made-to-measure suit in the big metropolis.
One thing worth noting: Japan has a somewhat free use of English at the best of times, and the word “tailored” is often thrown around, as well as some confusion between the levels of ‘custom-made’, so try and confirm the actual process is what you require before committing. One way to check this is how many fittings you will be given, and if the cost is too good to be true, it probably is.
Ginza Global Style | ¥
Ginza Global Style have stores throughout the city with prices starting at ¥24,000 per suit—if you buy two suits. The good thing is, you can split the deal with a friend. So if you can find someone to join you, you can each get a fully tailored suit for the more than reasonable price of ¥24,000 + tax.
You need to make an appointment in advance and the measuring and style selection may take up to 90 minutes. The big trade off for Ginza Global Style is that they don’t speak English (as an experienced Japanese speaker with little fashion knowledge, I struggled!) and the suit may take up to 7 or 8 weeks (!) to produce.
Check the Ginza Global Style website for store locations.
Ginza Tailor Fukuoka | ¥
On the very affordable end, Ginza Tailor Fukuoka have full suits starting at ¥30,000 including fabric, tailoring and tax. Located in Shinjuku they have a rather traditional selection as well as ready-made shirts to help keep the costs down. They have an English selection menu and speak basic English too. Check out their website here for more details.
Azabu Tailor | ¥
Azabu Tailor have a dashingly up-to-date website with plenty of information regarding styles available, tailoring options and the three main style choices they offer. You can build around the ‘Classico Italia’, the ‘Continental’ and the ‘Jet Cruise’.
In your initial meeting you can discuss preferences and budget and a starting design will be drawn for discussion. There is little English available, but this is a large chain company so there’s a good chance someone will be able to help you.
The provide a very detailed pricing list on their website for all elements of the tailoring, and have full suits starting from ¥37,000 plus tax and they take approximately 4 weeks.
Isetan Department Store | ¥ ¥
One option for a made-to-order suit is Isetan’s department store. Here you can choose from an impossible amount of fabric selections from across the world, select your preferred cut and finish with piping, lining and buttons. You will be measured and a prototype suit will be pinned and adjusted to ensure everything is perfect.
Your suit will be ready in 3-4 weeks and a final fitting can take place when you collect it. Suits begin at around ¥65,000, and some can be found at a good price if they are off season. Keep an eye out for strong Japanese names like Ring Jacket and Tomorrowland.
Tomorrowland | ¥ ¥
A steady favorite among suitors (see what I did there), Tomorrowland has two different tailor lines: Pilgrim and Blue Work, both established in 1979. Pilgrim focuses on a more classic style with an emphasis on luxury suits. You can choose from three levels of custom-made suits, ranging from fully bespoke to made-to-measure to an alteration service with prices from ¥284,000, ¥125,000 and ¥92,000 respectively for a full suit.
The Blue Work line is a more modern version and while it is described as ‘Exclusively Tailored’, they do not offer a custom service as they do with Pilgrim, so it may just be an altering service to their suit line. It does offer considerations for the working person’s needs and a balance of a good silhouette, robust and a fair price. One particular bonus is that the materials have been developed to deal with the Japanese weather.
They have stores across Tokyo including the main store in Shibuya and many department store locations including Lumine, Isetan and Keio. Check out their website here.
Eikokuya | ¥ ¥ ¥
Focusing on the ideal business suit and with strong feelings about power dressing, Eikokuya follows the English style (as the name would suggest). Focusing on a combination of elegance and robust design, with pride in their ability to create a ‘trustworthy suit’, the company is at the pricier end of the range, with suits costing hundreds of thousands of yen (but good to know if you have a company clothing allowance!)
The main store is in Ginza which tells you everything you need to know about the prices! If you’re still tempted, have a browse here.
Caid Modern Tailoring | ¥ ¥ ¥
One for the more independent shopper, Caid uses an interesting selection of fabrics, including discontinued lines. It’s also the proud work of tailor Yuhei Yamamoto, he favors the American style of the Brooks Brother’s Sack suit with his own personal twists, and offers full 2-piece suits from just under ¥200,000 and 3-piece suits from ¥268,000.
The fabrics are really varied with great names from across the world and a leaning towards British tweed. While this is definitely a special occasion kind of suit (and if it isn’t, I think you’re on the wrong site), it will last and you’ll have a truly personal service from start to finish. Have a look at his site here to be tempted.
Once you’ve got your fancy-schmancy suit, here’s a handy list of good lunch spots for business meetings in Tokyo.
Photograph the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, wander around the curious and quirky love hotel hill, visit Yoyogi park and Meiji shrine...