Jean genius: how Kojima became Japan’s denim mecca

The birthplace of Japanese denim has nearly 40 specialist shops to browse and gain an insight into the history and craftsmanship behind the world’s best jeans

In a country where craftsmanship is so highly prized, it’s no surprise to learn that even a product as universal as jeans has been raised to an art form. Thanks to traditional production methods that create high-quality, long-lasting jeans, Japanese denim has iconic status among “connoisseur denim heads”, who are prepared to pay £250 or more for a pair.

Major Japanese brands, such as Momotoro, Pure Blue Japan and Studio d’Artisan, all have stores in the big cities, but arguably the best – and certainly the most interesting – place to buy jeans in Japan is hundreds of kilometres away from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, in a sleepy coastal district on the southern coast of Honshu, the biggest of the four main islands.

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