With Tokyo hosting the very first Olympic Games to have skateboarding included in 2020 many skateboarders may be interested to know exactly what the scene is like in one of the largest cities in the world. After my most recent trip there in July 2018 I visited a few shops and have compiled a list of where to go to at least get your skateboard gear sorted if you are planning a trip there.
I travel over to Tokyo once a year. If you have never been, go! It’s one of the worlds most unique and iconic cities that has a huge influence on the rest of the world. If you visited a thousand times, you would still never see everything. Every time you visit you are guaranteed to find something fresh and amazing you have never seen or heard of before.
Tokyo itself has a population of well over 9 million people and the the greater surrounding area has over 30 million people. Think about that, Australia’s total population is just about to hit 25 million, and that’s for the entire country! With so much to see and do finding something specific can be a challenge. So, where to start?
MURASAKI SPORTS & ABC MART IN UENO © 📷 AHA
There are the chain stores like Murasaki Sports which are similar to big surf chains like Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski and Zumiez where you can get the standard skate fare. For kicks there is ABC Mart that has more Vans shoes that you can poke a stick at. They are easy to find, but the smaller core skate shops are a little more tricky, they are often tucked away upstairs in side streets and small back lanes.
Half the fun of a big city like Tokyo is trying to find stuff, getting lost and discovering a whole bunch of unique local stuff on your way. But if you visit and need a new set of bearings, a replacement for a busted deck or just want to find a unique ‘Japan exclusive’ skate item, here are 5 of the best skate shops I visited in Tokyo on my last trip.
The 5 Best Skateboard Shops in Tokyo
Stormy Skateshop – Shibuya
Stormy Skateshop – Shibuya © 📷 AHALocated just a few blocks from Shibuya’s famous scramble intersection is Stormy Skateboards. They have a huge range of gear and you can find cool exclusive Stormy collaboration items from brands like Toy Machine, Anti Hero and Spitfire.
This is one of the larger skate shops in Tokyo and stocks all the major brands as well as a good selection of smaller labels. They have one of the largest ranges of Thrasher T-Shirts I have ever seen in one place. This store is on street level and pretty easy to spot.
Arktz Skateshop – Jingumae
Arktz Skateshop – Jingumae © 📷 AHAIf you head under the rail bridge from Stormy and head towards Harajuku you will find ARKTZ Skateshop tucked away just off the main drag.
These guys stock a big range of all the main brands. You’ll also find harder to get brands like Lurkville and Premium skateboards (spotted a Blake Harris Premium Pro model on the shelf here).
Apart from skate gear this store also caters to the core end of the 20″ BMX market with a good range of spares to keep our friends from Shelbyville rolling.
Oh, for the BMXicans – check out W-Base just around the corner who have an amazing collection of vintage BMX and track gear. If you are a serious BMX retro freak head out to Screamin’ Wheels in Meguro-ku – it will blow your mind!
High-Sox Skateshop – Ikebukuro
HIGH-SOX IKEBUKERO © 📷 AHAThis ones a little more tricky to find. There is a Ramen joint that always has a line around the block, head there from the station and turn right. Go a couple of blocks past that shop with the facade covered in sunglasses and High-Sox Skateshop is tucked away in one of the back streets to the left.
Spectacles Museum IKEBUKURO © 📷 AHAWhen you go to Japan and ask directions, this is typical of the response you will get, in Japan you tend to navigate by landmarks rather than addresses. You’ll get used to it.
It’s upstairs and there is a little sock sign on the side of the building, so look up when trying to locate this place. These guys focus on the smaller brands like Polar, Traffic, Doomsayers and have a line of their own decks and apparel. Nice to see some bearings and accessories from Australian hardware force Modus on the shelf here.
Fat Bros Skateshop – Nakano
FAT BROS – NAKANO © 📷 AHAI always make a trip out to Nakano to visit Nakano Broadway to scour the 3 floors of toy shops for rare and the latest Godzilla figures I collect. Just off the arcade to the right if you are heading there from the station in the back streets is Fat Bros Skateshop.
It’s on street level and kind of almost easy to find. A really cool little store that has all the basics covered and you will find brands like Northern Co., The Killing Floor and colloquial classics like Japan’s Evisen Skateboards and Australia’s Pass-Port Skateboards.
They stock some of their own branded gear and local apparel brand Libe Brand Univs.
FESN Skateshop – Nakano
FESN Skateshop – Nakano © 📷 AHAIf you head over the tracks on the other side of Nakano station you will find FESN or the Far East Skate Network store. It’s on the main drag, look out for a A-Frame sign as it’s located up on the first floor. This was my favorite shop on my most recent visit.
It is run by a skateboarder and artist called Takahiro Morita.
Takahiro is a sponsored rider for Fat Bros who wanted to offer the skate community something different and not step on the toes of his neighbor & sponsor. So he created the FESN Laboratory. It’s a unique space where he creates amazing bespoke cruiser skateboards and other artwork.
It’s one of the few shops in the world where you can go in and customize a unique ride with real vintage components. He carries a few basic trucks and wheels but you will also find rare vintage pieces like these original Gullwing Pro Trucks from the early 1980’s.
NEW ARRIVAL AT FESN – VINTAGE GULLWING PRO TRUCKS! © 📷 AHAYou can even personalize your ride with and undercarriage made from cut up roller-skate base-plates hangars and wheels!
Takahiro also designs & produces a cool local clothing label called Libe Brand Univs. if your looking for some fashion forward Tokyo street fashion to bring home as a souvenir.
No doubt if you travel to Tokyo you’ll discover tonnes more than what I have shown you here. Hit us up and share your Tokyo experience on our Facebook Page.
This article was written by me for Basement Skate's blog you can check out the original story and other skate posts here.