How to Say Thrift Store in Japanese

Are you looking to thrift shop in Japan or simply interested in expanding your Japanese vocabulary? Knowing how to say “thrift store” in Japanese is an excellent start. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore formal and informal ways to express the concept of thrift stores in Japanese. While regional variations occasionally exist, we’ll focus mainly on standard Japanese. So, let’s begin!

Formal Terms for Thrift Store

If you prefer to adopt a formal tone while discussing thrift stores in Japanese, you can use the following terms:

  1. Mottainai Shoppu (もったいないショップ): This phrase carries the essence of thriftiness and avoiding waste. It is a widely understood term in Japan.
  2. Furugiya (古着屋): Literally translates to “used clothing store.” While this term is not exclusively for thrift stores, it is commonly understood and captures the concept of second-hand items.


日本には、多くのもったいないショップがあります。 (Nihon ni wa, ooku no mottainai shoppu ga arimasu.)
Translation: There are many thrift stores in Japan.


私はいつも古着屋でお買い物をします。 (Watashi wa itsumo furugiya de o-kaimono o shimasu.)
Translation: I always shop at thrift stores.

Informal and Conversational Terms

If you want to express the concept of a thrift store in a more casual or conversational manner, try using these terms:

  1. Furima (フリマ): This is a popular contraction of the word “furonto māketto” (フロントマーケット), meaning a flea market. It is commonly used to describe second-hand item markets, including thrift stores.
  2. Chukuru Sutoa (チャクルストア): A playful combination of the English word “chuckle” and the Japanese word for “store,” this term expresses the idea of finding hidden gems while having a good laugh.


最近、フリマで古着を買いました。 (Saikin, furima de furugi o kaimashita.)
Translation: I recently bought used clothes at a thrift store.


チャクルストアは、お宝が見つかると共に、楽しい時間を過ごせますよ。 (Chukuru sutoa wa, otakara ga mitsukaru to tomo ni, tanoshii jikan o sugosemasu yo.)
Translation: You can have a great time finding hidden treasures at a thrift store.

Tips for Successful Thrift Store Shopping in Japan

Now that you know how to say “thrift store” in Japanese, here are some tips to enhance your Japanese thrift shopping experience:

1. Be Aware of the Seasons:

Thrift stores often have unique items that reflect each season. Keep an eye out for traditional Japanese clothing like yukata (casual summer kimono) during summer or warm jackets during winter.

2. Know the Store Hierarchy:

Sizes and product quality can vary between Japanese thrift stores. It’s useful to understand the store rankings: “high class” (上等), “middle class” (中等), or “lower class” (下等). Higher class stores might offer more stylish items, but at a higher price.

3. Take Advantage of Sale Days:

Some stores have specific discount days where you can find even better deals. For example, every Thursday may be 50% off day, or the first Sunday of the month might have store-wide discounts.

4. Explore Multiple Locations:

Each area in Japan may have different thrift store options. Discovering hidden gems often requires exploring various neighborhoods, especially in larger cities like Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto.

5. Be Open to Unique Finds:

Thrift stores are known for their one-of-a-kind items. Be open-minded and prepared to find unexpected treasures, such as vintage toys, antique accessories, or retro clothing.

Remember, thrift shopping is not only eco-friendly but also a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture while finding budget-friendly items. Enjoy your thrift shopping adventure in Japan!

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