Japanese Denim under $150


1. Japan Blue JB0401

As many denim enthusiasts would agree, Japan Blue is one of the best jeans for the friendly price you pay. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our first recommendation in this list is the standard in the whole Japan Blue range: the JB0401. Made with 14.8oz 100% Texas cotton, they are ridiculously soft. And since they’re sanforized denim, you don’t have to worry about sizing as the shrinkage has been eliminated (perfect for online shopping!). The cut on this pair is just right and suitable for many people: medium rise, comfortable thigh and a decent taper. What’s not to like?? Only at ¥12800 (~$125)

jb0401Also available in various other cuts (JB0601, JB0501, JB0501Z, JB0401, JB0401S, JB0201, JB0201S)


2. Japan Blue JBCD0463

Another entry from the trusty Japan Blue. This pair is really special, because it’s not only one of Japan Blue’s most comfortable fabrics (as a result of the long-staple Ivory Coast cotton), but their investment in the war-torn African country has helped revitalize its cotton industry. So this pair of jeans will not only make your legs comfortable, but your heart and mind as well. To bring awareness to Ivory Coast, Japan Blue has co-branded the jeans with a unique selvedge-id which featured the Côte d’Ivoire flag colors, which looks incredible. The 13.5oz Côte d’Ivoire fabric is hand-picked without machinery and is one of the purest cottons used to make Japan Blue jeans. Only at ¥13000 (~$125)


Also available in various other cuts (JBCD0563, JB0263-J)


3. Pherrow’s 466SW

A different brand from Japan. Pherrow’s might not be widely known compared to brands like Japan Blue, but they make great true vintage-built clothing such as shirts, t-shirts, pants and leather goods. In our opinion, wildly underrated. Their jeans are something different. Striving to make a perfect combination between vintage and modern era, the Pherrow’s 466SW has a vintage-feeling fabric weighing a comfortable 13.5oz, right hand twill with a modern tight straight fit. As you can see, they are much more bold and daring with their pocket linings, loud yellow selvedge-id, and a stunning back pocket rivet making a statement. We simply love these jeans. Only at ¥13,800 (~$130)



4. Denime 66 Middle Straight 13.5 oz

You simply can’t go wrong with any of the Osaka 5, this, of course, includes Denime, which has been making quality products since the birth of this industry in Osaka! The 66 series is a reproduction of the famous 1966 cut: pure vintage goodness. The jeans has all the details you would ever need to find in a quality pair of repro jeans. This model is one of the best selling product of the brand Denime and it comes in at a fantastic price for the level of denim. Geared with reproduction details of 1966 such as the fabric, sewing method, patch and color, this is the pair for those who want a classic regular straight Americana jeans. Only at ¥15,000 (~$145)



5. Burgus Plus 770-22

The standard selvedge denim from Burgus Plus it’s another WOW for the price. Why? Well, it’s made in the same mills as the likes of PBJ, ONI and Iron Heart…but it comes in at roughly half the price. Need we say more? This is a great pair for people who are looking for their first real Japanese selvedge denim. Burgus Plus is the brainchild of Hinoya, the denim mammoth of Japan. These guys are fully plugged into the vintage denim trends due to their exposure to retail customers and dozens of other Japanese brands they carry. This allows Burgus Plus to put out the best available fits and fabrics without breaking the bank. Only at ¥13,800 (~$130)



6. FOB Factory F1133

FOB Factory is another brand that is great in producing reproduction jeans with a modern twist. And although they may be a new player compared to the older Japanese brands, there are advantages to this: namely, they’re not bound by the inflexibility that other brands experience. The result: MUCH better fitting jeans with fabrics comparable to the big guys. And because they’re trying to make it, they’re selling these babies at a much lower price point than the quality warrants. This pair, F1133, uses selvedge denim which is made from California’s San Joaquin Valley cotton, the original stuff. The vintage detailing, classic repro fabric and the improved silhouette and cut, make this a perfect pair bound to stand the test of time. Only at ¥13,000 (~$125)



7. Kuro Dempsey

Oh Kuro Kuro Kuro, one of the best kept secrets in the Japanese denim world, especially if you are more fashion-forward. Kuro Dempsey is one of the brand’s most famous models. With the brand concept of Kuro, the jeans are made with mostly darker colored details and, it it’s usual haute-couture style, an aggressively modern tapered cut. The jeans are a dark indigo dye with black hardware – rivets and buttons. At this price point you’d be hard pressed to find many jeans with hidden rivets, but the Kuro Dempsey has them: a sign of the quality of the brand. Weighing at 13oz, it is a great pair of everyday wear. Our view, why buy Dior when you can buy Kuro? Only at ¥13,000 (~$125)



8. BIG JOHN M106D-F002

Big John, the brand that started it all in the Japanese denim world. Their expertise is hard to match and it reflects clearly in their jeans. But since we have a lot of repro recommendations in this article, with Big John, we’re choosing to recommend one of their more modern-fitting jeans: the M106D-F002. The classic fabric and construction embodied in this slim tapered silhouette and dark indigo dye, is close to unbeatable at $150. The flashy (but classy) coin pocket selvedge is telling of the more daring sense of Big John. The mute back pocket stitching also shows that simplicity is yet one of the best designs. We just can’t find negatives in this pair and would consider it over much more expensive options. Only at ¥15,000 (~$150)



9. Kuro Graphite

Slightly different from other pairs on this list, Kuro Graphite is a pair of black denim. Kuro and black denim (redundant perhaps?) is basically a pair for the catwalk. Bound to up your styling with its model-feel, this selvedge black denim is really comfortable at 13oz and comes in a great slim straight cut. This pair really shows how dark and black-color styling have defined the brand. Everything in this pair is black: from rivets to the buttons to the stitching and denim itself. The only thing you won’t find black is the selvedge ID which beautifully stands out in red as a symbol of the quality Kuro has. Only at ¥14,000 (~$135)



10. Japan Blue JB0412

Japan Blue keeps showing up on this list because as we said, they really bring the best value in Japanese selvedge denim. Due to its popularity and the tremendously great fabric (we just cannot overstate this), we can’t help but have to include JB’s “Monster” Selvedge. This JB0412 has a great tapered silhouette that looks great on basically everyone, regardless of body type. The denim itself can be considered an entry to the heavier weight fabrics at 16.5oz and out of the low-priced options in this article, it is the one with the most character in the fabric: slubby, deep and colorful. And despite the rough texture of the weft, the jeans themselves are incredibly soft and comfortable (good ol’ JB style). The monster selvedge is an affordable pair for anyone who wants a first taste of a heavier weight, slubbier denim. Only at ¥14,800 ($145)


(Also available in other cuts JB0412S, JB0212)