Downtown San Jose shoppers have a lot more to look at with the opening of Japanese minimalist shop Muji last week in the plaza next to the Fairmont Hotel. Described by company execs as a lifestyle store, the 4,590-square-foot retail space offers more than 2,000 items, from housewares and clothing to furniture.

Lights sprawl down from the ceiling, and the concept wall behind the registers is filled with featured products. The color palette of the shop is earthy and simple, which is clearly reflected in the products that are offered. “Muji’s philosophy is [based] on brand-quality goods,” says manager Kyoko Hirota. “We strive to cut any waste in production and costs; everything is colored using natural dyes from plants.” Even the wood on the walls is salvaged and recycled from a barn in Texas, she adds.

Clothing, such as tops, dresses and pajamas, are made from French and Belgian linen or organic cotton in light shades of grey, blue and pink. Women’s underwear and boxers are wrapped in plastic; T-shirts and pajamas are neatly folded.

While clothing is the most prominently displayed product, Hirota says the housewares section is the most popular, with essentials such as laundry baskets, towels and linens. The second most popular area is the stationery section, which features a variety of sketchbooks and notepads made from recycled material and assorted pens and pencils.

The prices range from as low as 75 cents to more than a $1,000. Some furniture items, such as the oak dining tables and bed frames, are hot-priced items because they are made from a whole oak, Hirota says. The oak line is only available on the West Coast. Because the company takes pride in its motto of simple, minimal designs made with quality at lower prices, Hirota says Muji “hopes to be the starting leaders of this scene.”

Hirota says the crowd of more than 800 supporters at the grand opening reaffirmed her goal of expanding the customer base. She credits San Jose’s diverse community, Japantown and university students for the opening-day success. “We’re happy to be in the heart of downtown San Jose,” she says. “Because we’re so simple, we’re highly adaptable and fit into every lifestyle.”

As a bonus, the store commissioned a custom shopping bag printed with some San Jose landmarks; the design was by local artist Tessie Barrera-Scharaga.

170 S. Market St., San Jose