One of the largest retail companies in Japan, Muji (literally, “No Brand”) now has hundreds of retail outlets in locations all over the world. Muji products are known for their minimalist design and simple, no-frills packaging and advertising. While not the cheapest option for home furnishing in Japan, it will certainly set you back less than more recognized brand names and boutiques.
This is the Japanese equivalent of Ikea and the largest home furnishing chain in the country. Nitori is similar to Muji in terms of minimalist design and practicality, though the cost of most items is generally cheaper (as is the quality). This is an ideal choice for anyone looking to furnish a new apartment quickly and affordably.
Watashi no Heya
With six locations in Tokyo, Watashi no Heya (“My Room”) is a great option for anyone looking for home décor with a bit more of a “Japanese” feel. Combining contemporary designs with traditional items, this is a great spot for Japanese tableware, ceramics, chopsticks, bowls, and other goods typically only found in Japan.
Fans of kawaii need look no further. This chain with 15 locations in Tokyo is famous for its cute items and bright, cheerful décor. Passport even has its own anime style character, Hannari Tofu, after which several of their products are modeled. Shoppers looking to sweeten up their rooms a bit with pillows, cushions, and colorful storage boxes should pay Passport a visit.
A Danish furniture company, Bo Concept now has locations all over Japan. This is an ideal choice for anyone looking to design a home or home office with contemporary western furniture. While more expensive than the previously mentioned chains, these items are designed and built to be used for a long time.
Recycle Shops and Sayonara Sales
Thrifty shoppers, this last section is for you. While certainly not as fashionable or predictable as chain stores, recycle shops and second hand stores can be found all over Japan and are without a doubt the cheapest option for basic furniture and appliances. Because it is so expensive to dispose of large items in Japan, most expats who plan on leaving the country will give their used furniture away to their local recycle shop to be resold. Another option is to peruse Craigslist for sayonara sales, which are essentially yard sales hosted by foreign residents looking to sell everything they own as fast as possible before returning home.