I usually try to spend my weekends at home, but the business Travelling sometimes make me spend a weekend away. I actually like when this happens in Tokyo because I can go to Nakano Broadway.
Located 5 minutes walk from the station (you can go there by JR or even by Metro-Tozai line), Broadway is quite far from the songs and dances you would imagine. It is a gathering of geek shops: mostly vintage toys, but also models, cosplay, puzzles, etc… (there is even a store selling only darts…). A few establishments are more “regular” and offer “normal” clothing, coffee, food and the likes, but mostly, This is “Otaku Heaven”: a paradise for geeks.
Before going inside, I love to have a few sushis at one of the many little “kaitenzushis” (“conveyor belt sushis”) that you can find here. They are usually inexpensive ( plates with 2pces range from below a dollar to a maximum of $6), fresh, prepared in front of your eyes by a skilled Chef, and (let’s say it) the general quality is far superior to the sad salmon/tuna we can find in Singapore.
Then, on with the visit!! Nakano Broadway can be visited like a museum, more than a shop. You will see vintage toys and original cells from the early animés (Grandizer, Candy-Candy, dragon Ball, Ultraman, etc…) but also new trends like some creepy dolls young people customise to ressemble their inner frustrations… lol
Mandarake is a giant in this kind of retail in Japan (“Mandarake” is a play of words between “Mangas” and “darake” which means “plentiful”) and has the most number of shops there, and propose a wide range of products like original Japanese enamel advertisements to modern western toys (Star Wars being one of the most popular, but also Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, etc…). If you are looking for western things, Mandarake Special 5 and Robot-Robot might be the stores you want to look for. There are a few army surplus stores too, if you’re are into this. Like most vintage toys places, don’t go there to look for something precise but walk around and let yourself seduced by a quirky object you didn’t know you liked in the first place…
This is a timelapse of my 2 hours walk today. Warning: it might make you seasick, (as the phone was just positioned in my pocket while I walked) but I think it reveals the abundance and diversity you will find there.