Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Barks in Japan- hobby shops

In Japan I had a few days in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. In between being the tourist, I dropped in to hobby shops when the opportunity arose. This list is far from nuanced or exhaustive, it is purely where I happened upon.



Akihabara is a central suburb known for electronic gadgetry. It has a strong nerd/ geek culture. I found a nine floor building (Akihabara Radiokaikan), and every floor was a different nerd heaven. Especially if you're into CCGs or large display figurines.

Yellow Submarine

YS is a chain of gaming stores across Japan. The bulk of their business is CCGs, but they do have boardgames. On the 6th (?7th) floor of the Radiokaikan building is a big YS store, with a large gundam and scale model focus. It had some boardgames as well. There were some beautiful scale models on display.

Girls und panzer?


Shinjuku is another major suburb of Tokyo, with the world's busiest railway station. It also houses the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where you can take a free lift to the observation level on the 45th floor for views across Tokyo.

If it was a clear day, Mount Fuji would be in the distance!

Yellow Submarine

There was a YS in Shinjuku- much smaller then the Akihabara one. It had a few boardgames.

Tokyu Hands

Tokyu Hands is a department/ variety chain store, where you can get just about any household good, hardware, stationery, kitchen utensil, luggage, etc. I went to their flagship store in Shinjuku, and found a few boardgames. It is next to a good bookstore, Kinokuniya.


Yellow Submarine

Another YS in Kyoto- again, mostly CCGs with a small selection of boardgames. I think it had a paltry amount of GW stuff as well.
Entrance to YS Kyoto, on the 4th floor

Bunkyodo Hobby

This is a basement hobby store focussing on scale modelling, and had a very good range of stuff.

Hiroshima and Kure

Yellow Submarine

The last YS! Again, CCGs, some boardgames and a tiny amount of GW. Quite a few 1:144 planes.


I think it was called Cleverland, but it was on the 4th floor of the Futabatosho Giga Hondori store, barely a block from the YS. A good selection of model railway (N-scale) and scale modelling/ gundam stuff. This display case nicely summarises the miniature situation in Japan- lovely scale models, castles, and mecha and girls in mecha.

Malta Hobby

On the walk to and from the Kure naval museums, you'll go past Malta Hobby, which is a scale model store packed with teetering piles of plastic kits.

General notes

  • Many 'hobby shops' solely exist for collectable card games.
  • Gundam, 1:144 and N-scale railway models are a big thing (no pun intended)
  • Scale modelling is also a serious thing
  • There is a small Japanese board game industry, but I found it hard to work out what was worthwhile for a non-Japanese gamer. I may have to delve deeper into BoardGameGeek.
  • Many Japanese editions of European and North American games exist
  • Collectable large figurines are a big thing. Especially if they're schoolgirls with ginormous weapons.

This scenery range is cool if you're into kaiju
or Evangelion


I was very restrained- I got a gundam marker pen for 180 yen, and a Japanese edition of Sushi Go.

Next time- final thoughts and more pictures.


  1. I'm hoping to visit Tokyo soon (my brother lives there) so this guide will be invaluable for me -- a big thank you!

    I'm impressed by your restraint (I can't believe you didn't buy any girls und panzer), but that edition of Sushi Go does look pretty cool.

    1. Have you been before? You should have a great time!

      I didn't take photos, but there's a thing of battleship mecha girls...

  2. I always enjoy visiting hobby shops overseas, the differences can be fascinating

    Good to catch up with you this week mate