Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MUJI is open!


The store that many people have been waiting for is officially open! MUJI is a Japanese brand that epitomizes simple, sleek and stylish design in everyday items from timeless clothing staples to kitchen ware, bathroom accessories to crafty and office materials. And now, Downtown San Jose is home to another one of their limited locations within the US. (The San Francisco location recently opened in November.) When asked "why Downtown San Jose" - the owner noted that "Downtown San Jose is a place where people live and are enjoying life," and that they appreciated the "cultural atmosphere" that San Jose provides.

I had the opportunity to check out the store before it opened doors to the public this morning and wanted to share a few thoughts…


For some reason during my online researching prior to the event, I completely missed the fact that they sold clothing! I had previously thought it was simply housewares, organization containers, crafty items and such. But here you go, they sell a wide assortment of clothing and all within a specific style and color palate. Soft grays, navy blues, crisp whites, tan and beige dominate the racks. These are timeless pieces, not items you'll buy this season and never wear again. Pricing is not necessarily "college student" friendly, on average at least. For example, a checkered foldable umbrella retails at $27.

However, if one needs an umbrella during their visit downtown - and they want one that is built with high quality materials - this one will be worth the purchase. I can see those that are visiting the area and staying at one of the many hotels would find the availability of having clothing options so close as a benefit. The feel of the material is sturdy and I feel that it is a higher quality merchandise than say, H&M and even Gap for example. If I weren't pregnant I'd buy a few clothing items myself (there is a super cute navy with white polka dot skirt there that I was very tempted to buy for next year.)

I spoke with Eric Kobuchi, store manager for both the San Jose and San Francisco locations. I wanted to know what the hot items were - what flies off the shelves or has people returning to purchase?

Untitled One of the popular items is actually a series of pieces - the Acrylic Cases have found their way into homes but for a variety of reasons. While they sell velour inner cases (to protect jewelry), many customers buy these cases and use them for creative uses -- makeup, crafty items, and more. While yes, there are other stores that carry similar items, MUJI has an array of different shapes and styles to choose from.

Untitled The most popular item is one that I actually smelled upon entering the building. Actually the first thing I said was how nice it smelled in the store. That was because of the Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser (large $119.50, small $69.50). It vaporizes water and the essential oil (they have many to choose from, and you can use outside brands as well) and includes a timer so you can set it to go off when you like. No worries about leaving a tea candle lit and accidentally forgetting about it. Eric said that many people end up buying multiple for gifts, so this is definitely their number one selling item.

Other items I wanted to comment on:


They have these cute cardboard chairs for kids that are easy to assemble and decorate. While that might not be something everyone is looking for, crafty mothers and fathers might find them useful. I could see it being part of a birthday event; getting the crayons and markers out so every kid gets to design their own chair. 


Another item I spotted was the Silicon Ice Ball Makers - molds so you can create a large (or medium-sized) ball of ice. The large version will run you $11.75 but makes for a great gift for the whiskey-lover in your life or a fun stocking stuffer. Not to completely give away where I've seen these before, because it's part of the unique experience - but there is a local San Jose bar that uses ice balls in their whiskey-based drinks. So maybe if you want to make a few at home, this is how you can start. (Won't be the same, of course.)

The rest of the store is up to you to explore!

Check out the slideshow for more photos:

170 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel 408.200.7818

Store Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

For purchases of $20+, MUJI offers a $1 parking validation for many of the surrounding downtown garages.

All photos taken by me! Jennifer Bullock / @Jenguin on Twitter


  1. Had a chance to visit the store today after work for a few minutes, this is really a game-changer. If you ever doubted Downtown's renaissance, you have to check this place out. I can't remember any retail store this nice in Downtown... well, ever (Hart's was before my time).

  2. Thanks for sharing the photos. Muji is super popular in Japan and they sell consistently high quality, unbranded, minimalistic items of all sorts. The Downtown San Jose location looks like it's going to carry on in that tradition. I can't wait to visit.

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