For the diehard otaku, merchandise from favorite shows or manga are what separates the casuals from the passionate. Some say that figures are like reminders from the past forever embodied by layers of plastic and paint. People put these figures on shelves, in glass cases, on their desks or anywhere they can fit them. Figures come in all shapes and sizes, new or used, cheap or expensive. Whether it be from your favorite Marvel comic or that new anime you finished, there are endless amounts of figures in Japan for you to grab.
Collecting figurines has been a hobby of mine for nearly seven years. As someone who’s of Japanese descent and loves all things Japanese, it’s no surprise that I’m also a geek when it comes to Japanese animation. If you’re visiting Japan and want to expand that prized collection of yours, be sure to tune in because we’re going to take a look at some of the best places to shop at. Every otaku should know their go-to locations when shopping for all things anime related. Your top selections should be Akihabara, Ikebukuro and Nakano Broadway.
Akihabara is one area that is always spotlighted in otaku culture and well known on an international level. Nicknamed “Electric Town” for its bustling electronic vibes, it’s always busy with tourists and locals. It’s also one of the best places to shop if you’re looking for figures while in Tokyo. You have a massive selection of shops to choose from. If one store doesn’t have that particular figure you want, don’t worry. You’re bound to find it with a little bit of exploring.
The shops that I would recommend taking a walk through are: Akihabara Gamers Main Store (website via Google Translate), Akiba Culture Zone (website via Google Translate), Animate Akihabara (website available in English), Lashinbang Akihabara (website available in English), Amiami Akihabara (website available in English), Liberty Akihabara (website via Google Translate), Laox (website available in English), Sofmap (website via Google Translate), Kotobukiya Akihabara Store (website available in English) and Volks Akihabara Hobby Tengoku (website via Google Translate).
Aside from the ones I listed, there are many others in the area worth stopping at because you never know if you’ll come across a really rare find in one of them! If you’d like to check out what else Akiba has to offer, visit our Akihabara Area Guide!
Of course, otaku culture isn’t only limited to the guys! If Akihabara is a haven for men, then Ikebukuro is a paradise for the ladies. In Ikebukuro, you’ll find Otome Road, a road filled with specialty shops and themed cafes geared towards attracting the female otaku. While you can find figures from generally popular anime, the shops here specialize in the shoujo genre. The main stores where you can grab figures from are: Animate (website available in English), Gamers (website via Google Translate), K-Books (website via Google Translate) and Lashinbang (website via Google Translate). Perhaps you’re looking for Pokemon or Evangelion figures in particular? If you are, then stop by Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo (website via Google Translate) and Evangelion Store Tokyo-01 (website via Google Translate). For more information on the district, check out our Ikebukuro Area Guide!
Only a short stroll away from Nakano Station brings you to Nakano Broadway. Though it’s a shopping mall, the second and third floors are completely dedicated to anime and manga. Think of Nakano Broadway as a smaller version of Akihabara. If Akiba is the go-to place to shop for all things hip and new in the anime world then Nakano Broadway is your old school vintage shop where you find your favorite childhood past times. The flagship Mandarake (website available in English) store is also located here. Among other old school shops, it’s one of the biggest sellers. However, If you’re looking for the rarest of the rare kind of figure and can’t find it in Akihabara or Ikebukuro, make sure to stop by in Nakano and try your luck with the leaders in figure collecting.
How about spicing up your collection with a special figure of yourself? Head on down to the Loft store in Shibuya where you can get a 3D figure of yourself in whatever pose you’d like! Want to know how to get one? Visit this page for an easy how-to guide that explains all you need to know before heading down!