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.
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!|
There was a YS in Shinjuku- much smaller then the Akihabara one. It had a few boardgames.
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.
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|
This is a basement hobby store focussing on scale modelling, and had a very good range of stuff.
Hiroshima and Kure
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.
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.
- 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|
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.