Chitose Abe’s Tokyo

The Japanese fashion designer spent eight years at Comme des Garçons before founding Sacai – known for edgily reconfigured daywear – in 1998

Image: Satoshi Minakawa

On Saturdays I wake up at around 7am to have breakfast with my daughter Tohko, 16, while my husband Junichi sleeps in. I’ll make black coffee and either pancakes or Japanese rice balls with fruit and we’ll talk. Once Tohko’s left for Saturday-morning school, I’ll take a shower and then Junichi and I will head to our respective offices. At Sacai we work every first and third Saturday of the month, and Junichi is the founder and creative director of menswear label Kolor.

I’ll travel in by cab; I have a licence but I am such a bad driver that I prefer to let someone else take the wheel. I’ll work in the morning and then meet Tohko for lunch or shopping. We might start in Shibuya and go to 109, a department store that encourages its sales staff to celebrate individuality in the way they dress. It has become a hotspot for teenagers and although Tohko isn’t really into fashion – and I’m careful not to try to influence her – this is a fun place.

For a snack, we might go to Yoku Moku in Aoyama. It’s been there since the 1970s and serves amazing crêpes; I have a very sweet tooth. Then we’ll wander over to Isetan, a department store with a fantastic food hall, where you can buy signature dishes by some of Tokyo’s most renowned chefs. If we’re eating in or having friends for dinner that evening, I’ll buy some delicious treats and serve them with sashimi or stewed vegetables.

Otherwise, my husband and I will go out for an early dinner. There’s a great restaurant I like in the heart of Ginza called Sushi Kanesaka, run by a very young chef. It’s small and intimate, with just one counter and a communal table. Another favourite is Matsukawa in Akasaka. Considered one of Tokyo’s best restaurants, it serves Japanese cuisine cooked by Tadayoshi Matsukawa, another young culinary talent, who famously turned away the Michelin reviewers.


We’ll eat lots of courses of little dishes and then head to a karaoke place. The big fashion lately is costume karaoke, but I prefer to gather friends somewhere with a private room, such as the elegant and exclusive Glam, or Amour, which has four rooms, two designed by Marc Newson, each with a different theme. We’ll sing Japanese pop songs from the 1980s and 1990s – sometimes until 3am.

No matter what time I go to bed, I’m still up by 8am on Sunday. My personal trainer arrives at 10am and we’ll stretch and do weights and callisthenics. I don’t exercise during the week, so this session is sacrosanct. For a while I wanted to learn to skateboard. I have a board customised by the super-cool New York brand Supreme, but I haven’t found time yet.

Later we usually meet friends for lunch at Musashino, an old noodle shop. Then we might wander to Daikanyama Tsutaya Books, a wonderful store with a floor dedicated to vintage magazines. It’s a great place to take friends visiting from abroad, as is the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi, which has a wonderful collection of modern art, or the National Art Centre, where there is a fantastic art library. I also like Play Mountain furniture shop, which has mid-century pieces, as well as new work by remarkable ceramicist Adam Silverman.

If I have time to myself, I might go to have my hair and nails done at Salon de Twiggy, a sleek oasis of pampering. On Sunday evenings, I always have dinner at home with Junichi and Tohko. I’ll make something very simple with ingredients from the market at Mitsukoshi in Ebisu. It is the only time the three of us are guaranteed to sit down and eat together and we never miss it. It’s the best end – or start – to the week.


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