Whistler / Chart Twin Stores Bring Retro Mood to Tokyo’s Koenji District; Have Styles for Everyone Wanting Cool Outfits

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Many leather shoes are displayed in front of the store to draw in customers.

The area around JR Koenji Station is one of Tokyo’s largest clusters of shops selling used clothing. Among them, the twin stores Whistler / Chart are popular, with a nice, classic atmosphere that calls back to older American and European fashions.

Visitors may be overwhelmed by the huge selection of products and the air of mingling nostalgia and fashionableness.

The twin stores opened in 2001. They’re in the same building but have separate entrances and sell different kinds of goods.

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Top: Most clothes sold in Whistler are in “trad” styles. Bottom: More than 2,000 pairs of shoes line the wall. Chairs for trying on shoes are antiques brought from the U.S. East Coast.

Whistler sells the kinds of items which have been dubbed “trad,” a slang word that is short for “traditional,” in Japan. Chart sells casual style goods.

The layout of the stores allows customers, regardless of their age or gender, to find anything they come for.

As customers enter the first floor of Chart, a wall of leather shoes is on their left, and leather bags hang on the right.

The sight of products neatly lined up on floor-to-ceiling shelves is so awe-inspiring, some visitors are drawn into an “instabuy” mood.

Some of the products were made in the 19th century, and everything has a distinct history.

The reasonable prices are also a great selling point. The prices of leather shoes start at around ¥10,000.

Fixtures in the store also demonstrate the management’s fastidiousness. The shelves and rugs were made in the 19th and 20th centuries and brought from the U.S. East Coast.

The entire store is awash with the vibes of a bygone era, leaving customers with a feeling like they’ve traveled back in time.

Hideyuki Yumikura, the representative of the stores, said, “I’d be glad if our customers find something they’ll cherish and also get a feel for the essence of the wonderful, classic cultures.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Vintage tracksuits which have been gaining in popularity in recent years

On the second floor, the recently popularized “sports mix” style is prominent, with track suits and other active wear. Military-style jackets, T-shirts, bandanas and accessories also fill the area.

In the other store, Whistler, there are many scarves, jackets, slacks and other such items.

Kana Koike, manager of the stores, said, “Customers can easily start with just one item, like shoes or a piece of clothing, and then find a complete outfit to match.”

The stores do not sell products online.

Koike said, “I want these stores to maintain the fundamental joy of shopping, where customers actually come in and touch all kinds of products.”


The Yomiuri Shimbun

Whistler / Chart

Address: 4-30-8 Koenji-Minami, Suginami Ward, Tokyo

Access: 2 minutes’ walk from JR Koenji Station

Memo: Open from noon to 9 p.m. Some products can be previewed on the stores’ Instagram account (@whistler_chart).