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Japanese manga and anime are definitely awesome! Because it is the Big City, many scenes in popular anime are set in Tokyo. Of course, for all anime fans would like to go to places where they can buy figures or key chains in Akihabara and Ikebukuro, or maybe spend an afternoon singing their favorite anime songs. But there are more places for you to go in Tokyo – real places that appeared in anime! And guess what? We can tell you where they are!

 

Real Anime Places in Tokyo: The Cat Returns (猫の恩返し)

The Cat Returns is an animated film of Studio Ghibli, which is a story about a girl named Haru who saved the Prince of the Cat Kingdom Lune from being hit by a car on a road. After that, she was invited to the kingdom, and the King wanted her to marry the Prince. But Haru rejected the offer, and the Baron has to help her escape from the soldiers.

Real Anime Places 1

 

The sweets shop MYNT in Shin-Koenji Station is where Lune bought a gift (fish cookies for his lover) before he was saved by Haru. And the shop really sells fish cookies!

 

Real Anime Places Fish Cookie

MYNT information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Shin-Kōenji Station (Exit 1)

Hours of Operation: Mon, Wed – Sun 10:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.

 

Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘) : Nerima Ward

The second part of our real anime places tour takes us to Nerima Ward. Your Lie in April is a very popular and touching anime in Japan, and has also been produced into a live-action film! The main character Kousei Arima was a child piano prodigy, and his mother was very strict to him because she wants him to become a famous pianist. But after his mother died in an accident, Kousei cannot hear the sound of his own performance, so he stops playing piano. One day, he meets Kaori Miyazono, a girl freely plays violin, who gradually changes his mind. The Nerima Culture Center appeared in the anime several times, where piano contests are held. Kousei often comes here.

Real Anime Places Narima Culture Center

Nerima Culture Center  (練馬文化センター) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 1-minute walk from Nerima Station (Central North Exit)

Hours of Operation: Everyday 09:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

Real Anime Places Park

Outside the Nerima Culture Center is Heisei Tsutsuji Park, where Kousei and Kaori met for the first time. Kaori was playing melodica on the top of a play structure (which does not exist in reality) for a group of children, and Kousei was touched with her performance.

Heisei Tsutsuji Park (平成つつじ公園) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 1-minute walk from Nerima Station (Central North Exit)

Hours of Operation: Everyday 09:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

THE iDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS : Sangen-Jaya Cho

My favorite anime! The story mainly focuses on the growth and changes of the idol project “Cinderella Project” in 346Production, and how they overcame their difficulties on the way to stardom.

Real Anime Places Flower Shop

This flower shop is another one of the real anime places you can visit. It was owned by Rin Shibuya, one of the main characters. In episode 1, another main character, Uzuki Shimamura came here and bought a bouquet for herself to celebrate her debut. It was also the place where Rin and Uzuki met for the first time.

Yayoi Gardening (やよい園芸)  information

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Sangen-Jaya Station (North Exit)

Hours of Operation: Everyday 10:00 am – 08:00 pm

Holiday: Wednesday (Irregular), 3 days in the beginning of the year

 

Real Anime Places Park 2

Setagaya Maruyama Park appeared in the anime twice. In episode 1, Rin was attracted by Uzuki’ s smiling face under the cherry blossoms here and decided to join the project.

The second time was in episode 23. Rin and Mio took Uzuki, who had lost confidence in being an idol, here and poured their hearts out, “You said here, right? ‘Being an idol is my dream.’” This is definitely the most touching scene among all the episodes!

The picture of the bench has become the cover of their CD “Story,” too! One of he many real anime places you can go to strike a pose! Great for your Facebook page!

 

Setagaya Maruyama Park  (世田谷丸山公園) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Sangen-Jaya Station (North Exit)

 

Love Live! (ラブライブ!) : Akihabara

Love Live! is a super popular anime in Japan, which is abouta  high-school girl named Honoka Kosaka forming a nine-person idol group “μ’s” in order to save their school from being closed down. After they succeeded, the group set the goal of getting the championship in the “Love Live,” a school idol competition for the best groups in Japan.

 

Real Anime Places Kanda Shrine

Kanda Shrine is the place where a member Nozomi Tojo works as a miko (“Shrine maiden”). The main characters often come here.

 

Real Anime Places Otoko

Don’t forget the staircase on the right hand side – Kanda Shrine Otoko Zaka (神田明神男坂)! In the anime, when the members have to do some training, Nico Yazawa suggested that they climb this staircase.

Kanda Shrine (神田明神) information

Website

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Ochanomizu Station (Exit 3) or 7-minute walk from Akihabara Station

 Real Anime Places Wagashi

And don’t forget Takemura! This old wagashi shop (a place that serves traditional Japanese confections with tea) appears as Honoka’s home in the anime.

Takemura (竹むら) information

Nearest Station: 3-minute walk from Awajichō Station (Exit 3) or 7-minute walk from Akihabara Station

Your Name. (君の名は。) : Suga Shrine

It’s the most famous anime in 2016! Your Name took Japan by storm–you can hear its theme song Zenzenzense (“Previous Previous Previous Life”) everywhere. The story is about Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, two high-school students who switch their bodies intermittently. Their memories fade after each swap, and they cannot even remember each other’s names. One day, Taki realized Mitsuha actually died three years prior and he tried to save her.

 

Real anime places your name

Although the real anime places from Your Name are mostly located in Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, there are some spots in Tokyo! The scene in Suga Shrine is the most recognizable one, because it’s on Your Name’s poster! It is the last scene of the film, where Mitsuha and Taki met on this staircase and asked each other, “I think we have met before. What’s your name?”

Suga Shrine (須賀神社) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Yotsuya-sanchōme Station (Exit 3) or 12-minute walk from Yotsuya Station

Have fun in taking photos in the real anime places in Tokyo!

April 7, 2017 0 comment
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Hi! I’m Tracy, and I love anime and manga!

Do you know “Dragon Ball,” “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” and “Gundam”? I bet you have heard at least one of them before! Anime as an art form aesthetic that has reached out from Japan to influence animation and live-action films worldwide. That’s why you were attracted by the title and are reading this article right now!

When someone mentions “anime spots,” most people would think of Akihabara. But there are also some incredible anime spots near where I live in Ikebukuro, and I’m going to tell you all about them!

 

Tokyo Anime and Manga: ANi★CUTE

ANi CUTE3 Tokyo anime and manga spots

ANi★CUTE is an official shop of NIPPON ANIMATION. At ANi★CUTE, you can buy cute goods based on “Chibi Maruko-chan” and “Rascal the Raccoon.” Kids in Japan love these popular anime shows!

You can visit the ANi★CUTE’s Website (via Google translate) for more information. If you want to visit them in person, they are an 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), on the 2nd floor of Sunshine City ALPA. Click on the map below for walking directions!

Sunshine City Tokyo anime and manga spots

TORA NO ANA

TORA NO ANA is one of the top 3 anime stores in Japan. They focus on selling dōjinshi, which are self-published works fan fiction.

There are actually two TORA NO ANA stores in Ikebukuro. Store A is male-oriented and and store B is female-oriented. Be careful! You may become embarrassed if you go into the wrong store.  TORA NO ANA sells adult dōjinshi, and there is no special section where they are by themselves.

TORA NO ANA A2 Tokyo anime and manga spots

Tora no ana Tokyo anime and manga spots

TORA NO ANA (male oriented)

tora no ana Tokyo anime and manga spots tora no ana Tokyo anime and manga spots

TORA NO ANA (female oriented)

You can visit the TORA NO ANA’s website (via Google Translate) or follow the male oriented store on Twitter (via Google Translate). If you want to see the female side, you can visit their Twitter (via Google Translate), too! Both are close to Ikebukuro JR Station, and you can find them by clicking on the map above.

 

NAMJATOWN

namjatown Tokyo anime and manga spotsNAMJATOWN is Namco’s theme park for gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and ice cream. Don’t ask why, it’s Japanese! You can have a nice afternoon eating and enjoying the different cartoon attractions! Throughout the year there are special events held in collaboration with popular anime like “Yuri on Ice” or “Osomatsu-kun.” It’s fun!

You can visit the NAMJATOWN’s Website for more information. A little tip to save your money is that buying “Namja After3 Passport”(Unlimited Attractions Pass after 3:00pm) for ¥2,300 helps you save ¥300!  The NAMJATOWN is an 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), 2F of Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, click on the map below for walking directions!

LASHINBANG (らしんばん)

Locating on the Otome Road – a street in Ikebukuro where shops are female oriented(Otome-Kei 乙女系), LASHINBANG is the largest store that specializes in second-hand anime goods. From tiny goods like badges to figures and cushions, you can find anime goods which are not popular anymore. Or sometimes you can find rare goods selling at a lower price here! They have 5 branches  in Ikebukuro, and the following are three stores on the Otome Road.

lashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spotsThe 2-floor LASHINBANG Main Store sells both male and female oriented goods – that means all kinds of anime! You can visit the Main Store Website (via Google Translate) or follow them on Twitter (via Google translate).

lashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spots

The LASHINBANG 2nd Store focuses on female oriented goods and anime CDs. You can visit the their Website (via Google Translate) or follow them on Twitter (via Google translate) .

lashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spotslashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spotsThe LASHINBANG Cosplay Store is on 4F of Animate Sunshine and is full of cosplay costumes and accessories. You can visit their Website (via Google Translate) or follow them on Twitter (via Google translate) .

All of these 3 stores are a 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit). Click on the map above for walking directions!

 

ACOS

You can buy everything you need for cosplay in one shop – costumes, wigs, color contact lenses, and even cosmetics are all here! No matter if you are a beginner or are experienced in cosplaying, just come here and you’ll truly enjoy the cosplayers paradise! You can visit the ACOS Website (via Google translate) for more information. If you want to come and buy cosplay stuff, the store is a 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), on the 2nd ~ 3rd floor of animate Sunshine. Click on the map below for walking directions!

 

P’PARCO

Not just for stores of famous teenager Japanese fashion brands, P’PARCO is also a shopping mall. Inside is the headquarters of the big video sharing website “NicoNico” and anime goods stores.

EVANGELION STORE

evangelion store Tokyo anime and manga spots

The official store for Evangelion and fans will be crazy for the limited items here!
Rejet shoprejet shop Tokyo anime and manga spots
The Rejet shop is the filled with goods of Otome-Kei anime produced by the Rejet.co, which mainly focusing on games and drama CDs.

THE CHARA SHOP (THEキャラSHOP)the chara shop Tokyo anime and manga spots
The Chara is an online shop for wide variety anime goods. Events collaborating with different anime are held in this physical store and you can buy limited goods here!

Dash Store (ダッシュストア)dash store Tokyo anime and manga spots

Anime collaborated events are held in a short period (that’s why it’s called “Dash Store”), have a grasp of time to get the limited items of your favorite anime here!
Limited Baselimited base Tokyo anime and manga spots
A store that full of “limited” collaborated items which you can only find here!

p'parco Tokyo anime and manga spots

You can visit the P’PARCO’s Website (via Google translate) for more information. The shopping mall is right next to Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), click on the map below for walking directions!

 

K-BOOKS

K-BOOKS is a store chain selling anime goods from old things to newest popular things. There are 13 stores in Ikebukuro, and all of them have different in themes, such as games, otome-kei, idols, etc! Here are two of them located on the Otome Road. Believe me, you won’t want to leave the store once you entered it (like me)!

k-books anime & live Tokyo anime and manga spots
The K-BOOKS Anime & Live Store are in the same building where you can find goods of all types of anime on 1F and idol anime on 2F. You can visit the Anime Store Website (via Google translate) or the Live Store Website(via Google translate) to have more information.

k-books otome Tokyo anime and manga spots

The Otome Store is only a few steps away from the Anime & Live Store that hundreds of otome-kei games and anime can be found here. You can visit the Otome Store Website (via Google translate) to have more information. Both of the stores are a 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit) and opposite to the Sunshine City, that means you can go there for shopping after buying anime goods!

 

POKEMON CENTER MEGA TOKYO

pokemon center Tokyo anime and manga spotsIt’s the largest Pokémon Center in Japan! A huge range of goods can be found here. Are you dreaming of becoming a Pokémon master?

Besides Pikachu, you can meet other Pokémon here and “catch” them all to take home! Check the Pokémon Center’s Website and take a 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), 2F of Sunshine City Alpa to see how amazing here is! Click on the map below for walking directions!

 

J-WORLD TOKYOj-world Tokyo anime and manga spots

J-WORLD is a theme park for Shonen Jump, which is the most popular manga magazine in the world. At J-WORLD, you can take photos with the famous manga characters in Shonen Jump such as Son Goku from “Dragon Ball,” Luffy from “One Piece,” Naruto from“Naruto,” and much more!

A warning for you: make sure to come with your stomach empty, because you are going to try the original menu with designs from your favorite manga here!

Another tip to help you travel cheaper is that you can buy tickets online in advance with a ¥100 discount or buy a Night Passport (Unlimited Attractions Pass after 5:00pm) for¥1,800 (you save ¥800)!

Check J-WORLD’s Website or Twitter (via Google translate) or Facebook (via Google translate) for more information! The characters are waiting you at the 3F of the Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, which is an 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit). Click on the map below for walking directions!

ANIMATE IKEBUKURO

animate ikebukuro Tokyo anime and manga spotsThe animate Ikebukuro is a 9-floor store with anime goods and an anime-collaborated cafe. It is the largest anime goods store in the world. It is famous not only because of the large stock of anime-related items, but also for the events held here such as anime exhibitions, autograph sessions of illustrators, and talk shows with voice actors.

When you step into animate, it’s just like you have entered into an  anime world where anime-related things are everywhere! You can definitely spend half a day exploring it! Visit animate Ikebukuro’s Website or Twitter (via Google translate) to find out what’s new! It is a 5-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), and you can easily find it by its recognizable logo on a tall building. Click on the map below for walking directions!

 

So you can see that there are many must-go places for anime fans in Ikebukuro. All of them are full of “treasures”! Make sure to visit!

February 17, 2017 0 comment
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AKIBA CULTURES THEATER Japanese Idols

Hi! I’m Tracy, and I love Japanese idols!

In Japan, irrespective of age or sex, people love Japanese idols who “give dream and hope to fans.” So if you have a chance to come to Japan, remember to spend some time and get to know more about the “idol culture” here!

 

Top Japanese Idols at the AKB48 Theater

AKB48 theater(in) Japanese Idols

AKB48 is the most famous group of Japanese idols and is one of the highest-earning musical performing groups in Japan. The group is formed with its own theater and a concept of “idols you can meet”, so fans can always see them live in their own theater and at “handshake events.” If you want to watch high-quality performance, you should definitely pay a visit to the AKB48 Theater!

At the AKB48 Theater, you can see cute and sweet girls singing and dancing in a small area. Imagine—the “National Idol” is performing in front of you only a short distance away! And you don’t have to worry if you cannot get the show ticket, because the live show will be broadcast on the screens outside the theater. Do not forget to check the live schedule before you go!

AKB48 theater(out) Japanese Idol

AKB48 Theater Information

Website (English) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Instagram ||| Youtube

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit), 8F of Don Quijote Akihabara (click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Weekdays 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥3,100(male), ¥2,100(female) *by random lottery, pre-registration is necessary

 

AKB48 CAFE & SHOP

Before going to join the Japanese idols at AKB48 live, you can come here to enjoy a meal in an “AKB48 world.” The original menu here is based on the favorite foods of top AKB48 members with toppings of characters designed by themselves.

AKB48 cafe-food Japanese idols

There are monitors in the cafe which are always playing music videos of AKB48, so you can enjoy your meal while listening to their songs! The decorations here are also full of AKB48 style and signatures of members are everywhere in the cafe.

AKB48 cafe japanese idols

If you became a fan of AKB48 after that, you can just go to the official shop near the cafe to buy souvenirs. Stationery, T-shirts, key chains—there are all kinds of items here which you may want! Photos or names of members are printed on the goods, so you have a chance to bring a souvenir from your favorite Japanese idols home!

AKB48 CAFE&SHOP Information

Website (English) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate) ||| Online shop (English)

Nearest Station: Right next to the Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit) (click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

Hours of Operation (Cafe): Monday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Friday & days before holidays 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 am – 11:00 pm, Sun-Holidays 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Hours of Operation (Shop): Weekdays & days before public holidays 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

 

Meet Underground Japanese Idols

After the boom of “AKB48,” Japanese girls started joining different groups to give performances at the Japanese Idol headquarters of the world, Akihabara! Since most of them have yet to make a debut with a group, they can only give performances in underground venues, so they are called “Underground Idols.” As of this writing there are thousands of underground idols giving performances in different live houses of Akihabara. Here are the five best Underground Japanese Idol Live Houses!

 

AKIBA CULTURES THEATER

AKIBA CULTURES THEATER Japanese Idols

Being the biggest permanent theater in Akihabara, there are performances given by different Japanese idols everyday. Unlike the original type of theater, audience in AKIBA CULTURES THEATER keep sitting while watching the live. Come here to experience a new type of live performance!

AKIBA CULTURES THEATER Information

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Twitter Performance Information (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 4-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit); B1F of AKIBA CULTURES ZONE (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Weekdays 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥2,000 – ¥4,500 *One ¥500 drink will also be charged

 

Dear Stage

There are 3 floors for the Dear Stage. You can watch performances on the 1st floor, relax in the maid cafe on 2nd floor, and enjoy an alcoholic drink or two in the bar on the 3rd floor. Dear Stage is also the headquarters for the popular idol group Dempagumi.inc (でんぱ組.inc).

Dear Stage Japanese Idols

Dear Stage Information

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 6:00 p.m. – 10:50 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 5:00 p.m. – 10:50 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥1,000 – *Only drink fee is charged, and “MyDearStage” membership registration (free) is required to enter the 2F and 3F.

 

P.A.R.M.S

P.A.R.M.S Japanese Idols

As the permanent theater of the production company “Alice Project,” you can meet the upcoming idol group “Kamenjoshi (Girls with masks)” here. Curious about their faces? Come here to join the 3:00 p.m. free live shows on Saturday, Sunday and holidays!

P.A.R.M.S Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 3-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit),; 7F of PASELA RESORTS (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 5:30 p.m. – 19:05 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. – 9:35 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 10:30 p.m.  – 13:40 p.m. & 14:45 p.m. – 16:10 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥2,500 (pre-registered),¥3,000 (walk-up) *¥1,500 “Food & Drink Ticket” is included, plus one ¥500 drink will be charged

 

TwinBox AKIHABARA

TwinBox AKIHABARA Japanese Idols

Being a live house locating in the Akihabara Electric Town, TwinBox is equipped with high-quality monitors and audio equipment. They also occasionally have 500 yen live shows!

TwinBox AKIHABARA Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit); B1F of Box’R AKIBA Building (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Depending on the performance time

Estimated Price for Show: ¥1,500 – ¥3,000 *One drink will be charged

 

KamiTower

KamiTower Japanese Idols

The KamiTower is full of amusement. From “Kami Space” on the 3rd floor with near-daily performances to the maid cafe to the game center, you could probably spend a whole day in the KamiTower!

KamiTower Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit); 3F of KamiTower (The entrance is in the right hand side of the game center) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Depending on the performance time

Estimated Price for Show: ¥1,000 – *One drink may be charged

So you can see that there are many places where you can go to see Japanese idols, and it’s not hard to do! You should go and see, it’s lot’s of fun!

February 1, 2017 0 comment
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Entrance to Taco Ché

The first thing I saw was a pygmy about to cut the nipple off of a captured Japanese girl’s left tit. And that’s just the door sign. If this doesn’t clue you in as to what you are about to get yourself into, nothing will.

Entrance to Taco Ché, Nakano Broadway Mall, Tokyo, Japan

TACO ché has a certain reputation amongst manga fans in Japan and beyond. Standing inside the small shop located on the third floor of the Nakano Broadway Mall’s escheresque building, I couldn’t really understand it. Is it the “rummage sale” indy feel? The artistic rebellion against established market themes? The “I’ve-been-there-and-you-haven’t” hipster cachet? I’m not into manga, so I tend to treat it the same way I treat all art–I may not know technical terms or styles or what’s in or out of fashion, but I know what I like when I see it. So let’s have a look.

As one would expect, the shelves are stuffed full of manga books. Some separated by topic, or artist, or other themes. The books themselves ranged in quality from professional publications to self-published pamphlets. It’s all in Japanese, so unless you have a good grasp on the written form of the language, you’re not going to find any reading material here. Illustrations range from simple line art and text to complex ink spills detailing someone’s mental illness and/or sexual hangups. Dragonball Z this ain’t.

I chose a book at random and discovered the incomprehensible adventures of Chinko-man, an apparently ordinary man with a head shaped like a penis. On the page I turned to, he was answering a phone. Exactly how talking on a phone works when your face is a foreskin is a question that I found impossible to avoid. Dude has no ears. So what, vibration? How does that not end, you know, happily? And what about the rest of his life? Blind dates have to be awkward, at least.

I turned my attention to the paintings over the shelves. The most prominent artist on display was partial to creepy nautical themes. Fish and various marine-styled monsters riding bicycles, or going to an aquarium, or enjoying a street festival. I liked the one that had a person in a dive suit driving a water-filled aquarium bus. If you like somewhat creepy art, this could be just the thing for your wall.

TACO ché doesn’t limit their artistic offerings to manga and canvas. There is a small but significant selection of grindcore and underground music labels on the shelves in front of the clerk’s desk. Across the shop are a handful of shelves devoted to DVD and VHS films–some I recognized, most I didn’t. I also found a zip-up bag shaped like a brain, a selection of buttons whose mottos seemed to be inside jokes of some sort, and a selection of T-shirts and leggings featuring characters from the books in the shop.

TACO ché is for varsity-level manga collectors who follow that scene, but it is not without its charms to people on the lookout for the strange and different. I, for one, could go for that painting of the aquarium bus.

TACO che Location Information

Website (via Google Translate) | Facebook | Twitter (Japanese) | Online Store (Google-translated)

Nearest Station: 4-minute walk from Nakano station. On the 3rd floor of Nakano Broadway Shopping Center, access through the Sunmall. (click on the Google Map for directions)

Hours of Operation: Open every day 12:00 am – 8:00 pm

“Why Go?”: For indie manga with that anti-establishment feel

Click on one of the links below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

February 16, 2015 0 comment
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Akihabara is the global cultural hub for all things related to anime and manga. With such a vast treasure trove of varied literature found within the bustling district, K-Books is the place to go for an organised and centralised shopping experience. K-Books is by far the best location for discovering everything that has to do with anime, manga, otaku, and Japan’s underground culture. Just off of Chou-dori, K-Books is a monolithic multi-story building that is jam-packed with all things Akihabara inspired and desired.

The first floor of this sprawling store is mostly dedicated to manga and anime magazines. The sheer variety of manga on this floor is astounding, but everything is neatly organised into subsections, allowing for a streamlined shopping experience. You will be able to find those old classics from your childhood (Hello Inu Yasha and Sailor Moon!) in their original bound volumes as well as stumbling upon brand new series that you never knew existed. Although there is a dearth of mangas with English language serialisations at the store, those who have yet to master the Japanese language will be happy to find art books of some of their favorite series that can only be found in Japan. No matter what your language level is, manga fans of all backgrounds will be able to find something to sink their teeth into.

Reaching the upper levels of K-Books is when things get interesting, intriguing, and downright weird. Some of these floors are mostly 18+ because of the nature of the photo-books and the body-pillows, but the other levels of this store are open to fans of all ages. A combination of both vintage and fresh new toys of a plethora of series are found throughout the various floors. Especially check out the third floor where you will find a maze of keychains and miniature action figures. K-Books also caters to those who are fans of the girl group AKB48 as they sell an impressive collection of idol goods as well as the light-up wands that you see fans waving at AKB48 concerts.

If you are already a fan of Akihabara or intrigued by the culture that fuels this electric town then K-Books will be the perfect place to dedicate a few hours of your day.

K-Books Akihabara Store Information

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: Two-minute walk from Akihabara Station (Keihin-Tohoku, Hibiya, Yamanote and Chuo-Sobu lines)

Hours of Operation: Open weekdays 11:30 am – 8pm, Saturdays and Holidays 11am – 8pm

“Why Go?”: A taste of Japan’s diverse literary culture in a world-famous electric district

Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

October 22, 2014 0 comment
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M’s is one of the few adult stores located in Tokyo.  Found in Tokyo’s electronic/otaku district, Akihabara, M’s is seven stories tall filled with adult videos, toys, and even used panties.  Couples and singles alike come from all over the city to peruse its shelves, looking for that next exciting fetish.  Not intending to buy?  No need to worry because browsing is free at M’s, and there is definitely much to be seen.

Starting at the top, M’s Adult Concept Store Akihabara ‘s fifth through seventh floor are dedicated almost completely to DVD’s.  Three floors covering every niche imaginable.  Making way down to the fourth floor, cosplayers will be delighted to find an extensive collection of adult cosplay uniforms and accessories.  The third floor houses two rooms full of women’s lingerie.  Things get a bit fancy on the second floor where customers will find a large collection of sexual aids.  Needless to say, M’s carries a wide variety to choose from.  Finally, M’s Adult Concept Store Akihabara ‘s first floor features a plethora of fake vaginas, anuses, along with many other orifices, each promising to be as realistic as the real thing.

With Tokyo’s largest collection of adult goodies, M’s Adult Concept Store Akihabara certainly caters to all of its customers.  Perhaps the greatest element of M’s is how casual the environment is.  It’s not an awkward atmosphere, unlike in many other adult stores.  The staff is also friendly and more than helpful.  M’s is definitely a must see for anyone in the Akihabara area. And if you’re too shy to go in person, there’s always the online option–

M’s Adult Concept Store Akihabara Location Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from JR Akihabara (click on the Google Map for directions)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 10am – 11pm

“Why Go?”: Oh…you know why. 😉

Click on one of the links below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

October 21, 2014 0 comment
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There’s a lot of weird and wonderful gifts to buy in Tokyo. Here is a list of the top 10 souvenirs you should get for someone (or yourself!) when you are traveling in Japan. 

1. Plastic food replicas are used all over the world to show incoming customers what a restaurant’s food will look like when served. Though found in restaurants across the world,  these food replicas are so popular in Japan that there are stores dedicated to selling them to anyone and everyone. You might be thinking, “Why would I buy this?” Well, why not! For any food you can think of, there is sure to be a plastic food replica of it. No trip to Japan is complete without buying at least one of these. They’re a great (and weird) addition to someone’s house!

2.If there was a list of the three things that Japan was most famous for, the list would be: samurai, sushi, and KitKats. In the West, there is really only one flavor commonly sold – chocolate. Japan, however, sells a wide variety of innovative flavors such as jasmine, matcha, and wasabi, to name just a few. There is now even a KitKat boutique in Seibu department store in Ikebukuro and at the Daimaru by Tokyo Station, so head there to stock up on limited edition flavors.

 

Japanese Kit Kats

 

 

 

3. Japanese knives are different from Western knives in the way they are forged, tempered, and shaped. While Western knives generally have double-sided edges, Japanese knives have single-sided edges. The Japanese believe that a single-edged blade is not only sharper, but can add more power to cuts and slices. 

kitchen knives

Photo source: japan-knives by sahua d

4. Japanese nail clippers are a much different item than their Western counterparts. What remains the same is the tool’s function. Japanese or Western, both cut toe/finger nails. What makes Japanese clippers different (and arguably more superior) is their quality, and cutting precision. For a higher price, you get a long-lasting clipper that will cleanly cut your nails. Great quality nail clippers are available at stores such as Loft and Tokyu Hands. 

5. Many people who are interested in Japan have at least a passing level of interest in Japanese anime or manga. Gifts for your otaku friends can include products such as posters, CDs, DVDs, and figurines from their favorite shows. Anime lover or not, it is highly recommended you check these out – they’re quite intricate! The perfect place to shop for these is Akihabara, where you will find dozens of stores that sell anime and gaming goods. 

anime figures

Photo source: Akira by Peter Baker

Note: If you’d like some help on knowing where to start in Akihabara, visit our article Akihabara 101: Sorting Through the Madness.

6. “Sa-shi-su-se-so” is the phrase the Japanese use when describing the basis of their cooking. Translating into English, it is “sugar-salt-soy vinegar-soy sauce-miso paste.” Japanese cuisine is intricate, delicious, and comes in many forms. However, what forever seems to stand is the importance of these five condiments.

Acquiring these materials outside of Japan is not difficult, but what you purchase outside of Japan and what you purchase in Japan can be easily differentiated by the quality and taste. Cheap knock-offs are everywhere, but only in Japan can you obtain this harmonious group of condiments at the best quality, for a reasonable price. If you or your loved ones enjoy cooking Japanese food, then “sa-shi-su-se-so” is a must.

condiments

Photo source: Japanese condiments by David Woo

7. The popular maneki neko is heavily integrated in Chinese and Japanese cultures, and has found his way into many other countries around the world. He is actually a talisman that is said to bring good fortune, prosperity, and customers (if placed in a restaurant). Outside of Japan and China, it is difficult to purchase these cats for yourself unless live near a Chinatown. In Japan, however, there are stores everywhere that carry them. When you visit, pick up a few of these and share the prosperity they bring!

Maneki Neko

Photo source: Maneki neko shop by Luis villa del Campo 

8. In Japanese culture, it’s the norm to have little, dangly charms on one’s phone. Whether it’s attached for personal expression, sentimental reasons, or just for fun, you’ll see many people in Japan (kids and adults alike) with charms attached to their phones. Phone charms come in millions (not an exaggeration) of shapes, sizes, and colors. There are even plush toys attached to some charms! When visiting Japan, it is imperative that you pick some of these lightweight souvenirs up. With them, you’ll not only fit in, but you’ll find yourself wanting more and more – they’re inherently addicting to buy!

phone charms

Photo source: charm yourself by chelsea marie hicks

9.In the West, painting one’s nails entails a simple change in color, and possibly some glittery-substance to add a little flair. When buying nail polish in Japan, you will find that it comes in sets, with multiple bottles of polish, glitter, and other items to help you create unique nails. Japanese nail art is quite simply a spectacle. You can join in on the self-expression, too!

Visit any store that has makeup and get your creativity on! Loft and Tokyo Hands both have a good selection of nail art that you can do yourself. If you’d like a professional to work their magic though, head to Nail Salon Pinky or Ken’s Nails.

nail art

Photo source: smiley infestation by antjeverena

10. Wind chimes (fuurin) are extremely popular in Japan and are said to have made their first appearance in the Edo period (17th century). Moreover, Japanese-style wind chimes are light, small, and  create beautiful sounds. There are two major types of wind chimes – “Edo fuurin” (glass), and “Nanbutetsu fuurin” (iron cast/bronze). These two have distinct sounds and it is highly recommended to pick up one of each to experience the refreshing sounds that both have to offer. In addition, Japanese wind chimes differ from their Western counterparts by virtue of the small pieces of paper attached to them. These pieces of paper generally have little images on them with Japanese sayings, but sometimes they are blank, giving you the opportunity to write something of your own on them!  You should be able to find Japanese wind chimes in Asakusa, which is full of many tourist and souvenir shops.

wind chimes

Photo source: Fuurin by Joi Ito

For more ideas on fun souvenirs to buy in Tokyo,  check out our article The Last-Minute Japanese Gift Giving Guide. If you love buying quirky gifts, we recommend visiting The World Connection in Harajuku, a fun little variety store on Takeshita-street. 

 

April 18, 2014 0 comment
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