Here we asked denim lover, blogger & expert Thomas Stege Bojer aka The Denimhunter to list and write about his very personal top ten denim stores around the globe. For two weeks we present one of Bojer's favorites every day.
Today, it's part IX with Hinoya in Tokyo.
"The phrase 'Japanese denim' has become so closely linked with quality that even fast fashion retailers use it in their marketing. But what exactly is it that makes denim from a country that's only been producing it since the I970s regarded as the best in the world? That's a question I was asking myself around the time I started blogging.
In 2015, I finally went to Japan. Over the years, I guess my wife had come to enjoy the warm welcomes you usually get in the world of raw denim. So although we were on holiday, and Kojima sadly didn't make it into our tight two-week schedule, I did pack in a bit of denim sightseeing.
The first stop on our trip was Tokyo. While the Okayama region is the incubator for the kind of denim we associate with Japan today, it all started in the capital. Almost immediately after WWII, the Japanese began adopting American style. Blue jeans were a big part of it already then. But because of regulated trade, and since jeans weren't produced locally yet, you'd have to get them from Tokyo's black market in the Ueno neighborhood. Hinoya was a part of this in the late '50s. The fact that the store still exists and that's located in that same area make it a denim destination alone.
Hinoya store manager Issei Kinoshita
In addition to denimhead favorite brands such as Momotaro, Iron Heart and Pure Blue Japan, in-house brand Burgus Plus and Toyo Enterprise brands such as Sugar Cane and Buzz Rickson's are also very popular with customers. 'It's simple in style but the materials, the fits and the attention to details are above what you'd expect from its price points,' says store manager Issei Kinoshita."
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Opened in: 1949 (current location in 1955)
Five defining brands: Burgus Plis, Buzz Ricksons's, Sun Surf, Levi's, Warehouse
Please note: This story is also published in our current magazine #290, 'The Best of Denim' issue.
Find out more about Thomas Stege Bojer, Denimhunters and the selected stores on denimhunters.com.
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