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Model shops in Tokyo

March 14 2015 at 12:08 PM
Peter D  (Login pdasso)
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from IP address

Hey guys, I'm visiting Tokyo next week... Can anybody give me some pointers to where I can find the hobby shops in town? I'm real keen to pick up some Fine Molds and rare Hasegawa kits while I'm there!


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Roy Stevens
(Login rcstevens)
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One word

March 14 2015, 1:08 PM 


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(Login dehowie)
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That is where it's at! Nt

March 14 2015, 6:26 PM 

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(Select Login Namnut)
HyperScale Forums

Another word..

March 14 2015, 1:55 PM 

MONEY... lots of it....


did visit one shop eons ago and nearly killed my creditcard....
[linked image]

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Tom Booth
(Login bookmark460)
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No. The lil Mom&Pops have OK prices. And all are Jpn's GREAT ....

March 14 2015, 3:52 PM 

rail system close. Not www/eBay prices usually but still OK. I've found some old gems (kits/AM/pe/refs) on the back shelves of great lil' old shops in the 'boonies'. And too, in Jpn, you're of course not paying high US/UK/etc dist's list prices for Hasegawa, etc, kits. AND, always a good noodle shop nearby!

I go to the big shops and the hobby sections of Toyko's great dept stores, but it's at the lil' shops that I have the most fun, discover things (not always hobby related) and spend the Yen.

Getting off a train, miles from Tokyo ctr, walking to a LHS (in the process discovering the neighborhood too) is one of the MANY joys of Japan for me.

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Tom Booth
(Login bookmark460)
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Oh, OP, get a Jpn model mag and check the ads in the back. Many ....

March 14 2015, 5:11 PM 

sm LHS advertise back there. Often w/ simple maps/directions from the nearby train station. Model Graphixs, Hobby Japan, etc.

Btw, a non Jpn speaker (I can speak maybe 2nd grader Japanese) can nav the train system OK. Esp in Tokyo. The major signs/wall maps have some English inc'd. AND, a LOT of Jpn have at least some English skills. Same w/ a lot of the world. HOW many Amer locals speak Jpn, Chinese, French, etc??? The train workers/cops too. Esp at the ticket offices for the Bullet Train. Always English speakers there.

The sm LHS, now that's usually a diff story. But a smile, manners, will get you a long way.

Street cops I've found, tho polite and always trying to be helpful (no fat cops there!!), don't seem to speak English. Or maybe they're just faking it, for whatever reason?

And oh my gawd, all the VERY WELL dressed, pretty, women!!!! No fatsos either. I luv Japan! Wish their real estate prices weren't so outta wack and the place so crowded, the cities. And don't attempt the trains during their long morn/evening rush hrs. You'll get swalloweed up and prob end up at some faraway end of the line, very lost/confused!

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Gary Vincent
(Login CPierre)
HyperScale Forums

Model shops in Tokyo

March 14 2015, 5:30 PM 


It's been a few years since I was in Tokyo, but the AVF Modeler's guide helped me out a lot.
AVF Modeler's guide to Tokyo shops

Yellow Submarine is not just for AVF modelers. I found some great stuff there as well as Volks. Yodobashi Camera has a toy floor with a good selection of new kits and tools (with a small discount).

Have fun,

PS Tom's tip on using a local modeling magazine is also good. Weed out the shops by checking the telephone numbers. I believe Tokyo numbers begin with 03. I used a new Model Art magazine to do this in Osaka.

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Grant Matsuoka
(Login gmat5037)
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Tokyo Area

March 14 2015, 10:39 PM 

Leonardos has a good selection of older Japanese and foreign kits but some of the rarer ones are pricey. Most kits are cheaper. though. Two shops are around the corner from each other and about a 8-9 minute walk from Akihabara Station. Most of the following stores have their appeal by stocking foreign kits along with a good selection of domestic kits. Next to Akihabara Station, you have Volks, (cheaper) and Yellow Submarine across the lane from the Station. They're in the tall building in the middle of the short block. They usually have the new kits first, but the popular ones go quickly. Other large stores but without discounts often have older kits hanging around. Yodobashi Camera next to Akihabara Station has a good selection of kits. Sorry, but Mom and Pop stores are a dying breed and generally have a poor selection. Sunny's at Shimokitazawa has a good selection, though the crowded aisles may make finding the kit you want a little more difficult. Cheaper for the new releases, then back to full price. Closed on Wednesdays.
If you have time for more, I can suggest a few more.

If by chance you are military and coming through Yokota, the hobby shop near the middle gate going toward Fussa has or had many older Hasegawa kits. (two years ago) Zoomies on base must not be builders.


This message has been edited by gmat5037 from IP address on Mar 14, 2015 10:43 PM

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David Byrden
(Login DavidByrden)
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March 15 2015, 7:31 AM 

You can probably get any kit you want in Akihabara, but I really enjoyed my trip out to Sunny's. The Shimokitazawa district is full of students and young people, interesting shops for them, and has a "cool bohemian village" atmosphere. Yes, Sunny's itself was so full of kits that you couldn't see the structure of the building.


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Peter D
(Login pdasso)
HyperScale Forums

Thanks guys!

March 15 2015, 12:09 AM 

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(Login centennialofflight)
HyperScale Forums

More Tokyo Hobby Shop Info

March 18 2015, 1:38 AM 

I visited Japan back in 2010 with my wife and two daughters, one of them was spending her junior year of college in Tokyo as an exchange student studying Japanese language. It’s really a HUGE benefit to have an interpreter handy!

Someone suggested Tokyo’s Akihabara district and I definitely agree. Leonardo is a few blocks away (east?) from the Akihabara train station and around the corner off the main drag. Mostly older “collector” models, but a treasure trove for non-Japan citizen modelers. The basement has an incredible massive collection of Japanese model and military magazines, most of which I had never heard of with a terrific stock of Koku-Fan Famous Aircraft of the World titles. As we were walking through Akihabara, there was a “street sale” going on in the large plaza of an office building where people were selling all kinds of “garage sale” items. My daughters yelled “Look Dad! there’s a guy selling models!”. Sure enough, there was a guy offering about 500 bagged kits neatly arranged in boxes for easy browsing. I picked up some 1/72 Hasegawa planes for about $2 each, some of which I’d never seen before and some that I couldn’t afford to pay $60 for in the US. There are other shops in Akihabara and the Yellow Submarine store is someplace I saw the sign for but didn’t have time to visit.

One of the hallmarks of Japan is that there are vending machines everywhere for everything. We were visiting Tokyo’s Ueno park area walking down an alley/street (sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference in Japan) and my kids yelled “Look Dad! There’s a model vending machine!” I ran over to it and realized that it was actully two large side-by-side beverage vending machines, but the graphics covering the machine was an ad for Tamiya models. That got me thinking that there had to be a hobby shop very close. Just around the corner I found the entrance to Yamashiroya, a very large toy store which had a very good model selection on an upper floor.

A couple of blocks away from Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing in front of the Shibuya train station (the big intersection with all of the neon-LED lights you see on TV and in movies) is Tokyu Hands. This is Japan’s equivalent of Hobby Lobby and Michaels and of course, it’s huge. On an upper floor is the model department with a medium sized model selection, which is massive compared to US stores. There are also other Tokyu Hands stores scattered around.

In Tokyo, we stayed at the Grand Palace Hotel a few blocks away from the Emperor’s Palace. I was up early due to jet lag on our first day in Japan and went out to scout the area with my interpreter daughter. I walked by the high-rise office building next to the hotel and glanced at the business names on the front of the building. I did a double-take and couldn’t believe it! I was standing in front of Model Art magazine! I immediately went inside and went up to their office which was closed – I forgot it was Sunday and we were due leave the next day. But we would return to the same hotel the next week so I would try to visit again then. The next week, the office was open and I and my daughter were greeted by the receptionist who didn’t speak English, my daughter explained that I was from the US and was a modeler who just wanted the experience of being in the Model Art office. After serving us tea, she went and got the editor, who also didn’t speak any English, but he was very gracious and excited that I had visited. He showed me a few stories he was working on for the next issue. The Model Art office was about twice the size of a 7-11 store (7-11 is everywhere in Tokyo, but no Big Bites or Big Gulps) and I couldn’t believe it when he told me that this was it, they do everything except print in this office. I just couldn’t believe that in a city the size of Tokyo, I ended up staying at the hotel next to the Model Art office – I was apparently born to be a modeler.

Some thoughts on Tokyo hobby shops:
1) Japan is land-limited so most retail shops are in multistory high-rise buildings. Look for hobby shops not only at ground level, but look up at the signs on the upper floors of buildings.
2) When asking for the location of hobby shops mention “mokei” (moe-kay-ee) along with the names “Tamiya” and “Hasegawa”. Most people will then know what you are looking for.
3) Look for the Tamiya blue and red star logo on buildings and in store windows – that’s the easiest way to find hobby shops.
4) The cost of Japanese manufactured kits is CHEAP compared to their US pricing. About 1/4 the price or less than the US price and my benchmark was Pit-Road/Skywave ship models. US kits are EXPENSIVE! $45 for the 1/48 Monogram F4U Corsair (yes, the old one from the ‘60s).
5) Many department stores and toy stores sell models.
6) Newsstands and bookstores sell great model/aircraft/military/ship magazines. I picked up two incredibly good magazines about the battleship Yamato and Myoko class cruisers for about $12 each at a train station newsstand.
7) Incredibly, almost all model kits are not shrinkwraped or sealed. I don't know if this means you can open them to inspect them though.

So that’s my advice for model shopping in Tokyo – Enjoy!!!

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