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LF Hobby Shops in the Tokyo Area

January 20 2016 at 12:33 AM
Jon  (Login MajorJon)
HyperScale Forums
from IP address


I am in Tokyo area for a few weeks on business and I am looking for advice as to where the best hobby shops are located.

Also, are their any good military museums, or sites in the area worth visiting. Been here for a few days and want to get out exploring a bit.

Thanks in advance,


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Tom Booth
(Login bookmark460)
HyperScale Forums

There are a lot. Do a search here. Has been discussed manys ....

January 20 2016, 4:34 AM 

times here on HS PT in the past few yrs.

Fwiw, I like to take a subway/elevated train to some station I've never stopped at. Lg/med/sm/tiny. In Tokyo or just outside. Get out and walk around for a few hrs. Sometimes for many hrs. Eat at the local Mom-Pop restaurants, peek into the mkts/supermkts, etc. Those are some of my best memories of many visits to Jpn/Tokyo.

My gf's biz usually pays for the overpriced rooms at high rise mega hotels close to her meetings, w/ their usually (WAY WAY overpriced) Euro styled restaurants within. BORING. Great views and bathrooms (showers) tho! Handy for her, mind numbing for me. But it's 'free'. But luckily it is Japan, therefore a train station, and 'escape/quiet', is usually just a stone's throw away.

The box lunches sold at many stations are great too. They are different at different stations (even within Tokyo) and often feature 'local' specialties. Pretty cheap too. And hi Q. Not like the crap at US and some Euro train stops. I always take a Bullet train trip or two w/ each visit to Jpn. Usually just a day trip while the gf goes about her biz. And often I just turn right around and go back. Don't even leave the station! The 100-200 buck hi speed Bullet ride itself, and the scenery during, is the order of the day. I always grab one of those box (bento) lunches for those Bullet day trips. They sell them on the train too but more to choose from when buying at the stations.

WHEN the hell is Amer gonna get a Bullet Train???! I'd go from SF to Los Angeles a lot more per yr if there were a Bullet option. I HATE US airports.

I luv Japan. So civilized. Wish we could afford a sm Tokyo apt/condo.

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Tim Powell
(Login riceballtrp)
HyperScale Forums

Tokyo hobby shops

January 20 2016, 9:52 AM 

There are two good ones adjacent to the Akihabara train station ..... One is called yellow submarine and the othe is literally on the next floor. For the life of me I can't remember the building name

Near the Emperor's Palace is Yasukuni Shrine....it's a burial place and shrine for Japan's war dead. They have built a very nice museum which includes a Zero and a "Baka" bomb. Cost about ¥1500 to enter

Was just at these two places last month......

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Red Steve
(Login RedSteve_SDMB)
HyperScale Forums

Yodobashi in Akihabara--5th or 6th floor is PLA and more....

January 20 2016, 10:41 AM 

It is by the train station. Incredible PLA (what they call plastic models in Japan) section. Don't miss it. Only time I ever saw Tamiya enamel paints! I had only 1/2 hour in there but came out with several oddball kits and a diecast of th eN700 bullet train we went on! Also try to find Yellow Submarine store, they are cool too and have discounted kits but not a huge selection, more a gamer / figures type store. I bought a bunch of fun little WW2 Japanese aircraft carriers toys and Gundam kits there.


[linked image]

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This message has been edited by RedSteve_SDMB from IP address on Jan 20, 2016 10:45 AM

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Eli Raphael
(Login ERaphael)
HyperScale Forums

Try to visit

January 20 2016, 11:00 AM 

The Volks shop, eventhough the first floor is for dolls and figures the second one is crammed full of kits and accesories.
I spent 3 days in Akihibara just visiting all there was and Volks was the best.
Yellow Submarine doesn't compare.
Enjoy a modeller's paradise.

This message has been edited by ERaphael from IP address on Jan 20, 2016 11:04 AM

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Val Bueno
(Login vbuenokov)
HyperScale Forums

Try Here

January 20 2016, 11:08 AM 

These are a bit dated but the map should still be OK. I need to return Akihabara to update this list and maps.




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(Login gmat5037)
HyperScale Forums

Leonardos moved

January 20 2016, 1:41 PM 

Leonardos moved to two smaller stores. Both are less than a minute away. The smaller one is in front of the old store and about 15 meters down the small lane. The larger one is down the small street in front of the old store. Go the opposite direction away from the MacDonlads. That street comes to a T intersection. You can see the shop on the right on the other side of the T.

Volks and Yellow Submarine both moved to a renovated building in front of the south exit of Akihabara last year. It's the middle building next to the Yamada Denki building.
The Volks shop is two floors above the Yellow Submarine.

This message has been edited by gmat5037 from IP address on Jan 20, 2016 1:53 PM

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Tom Hall
(Login el-rancho-decomposo)
HyperScale Forums

It's a hobby shop wonderland

January 20 2016, 1:30 PM 

I visited several big and small, but had to be careful about the trains: when I got instructions they would sometimes say: "Get on the 3rd train car, exit left and go up the 2nd stairway" That seemed extreme, but I'm just a simple country boy and found out that if you make a wrong turn you can end up way off from where you want to be.
Even many department stores have a good kit selection; I got a couple of Tamiya kits at a place right by my hotel. I was there 18 years ago so I don't have my list, but Yellow Submarine for sure. There was another 2 story shop that had nothing but old kits floor to ceiling, incredible. I even wondered into an old militaria shop that had "U-boat" panzer leathers and the like.

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(Login gmat5037)
HyperScale Forums

That was Leonardos

January 20 2016, 1:45 PM 

The two story shop with old kits was Leonardos. The selection isn't as good as before, but still good.

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Tony Bell
(Login threedingers)
HyperScale Forums

Yūshūkan Museum

January 20 2016, 1:53 PM 

The Yūshūkan Museum at the Yasukuni Shrine is well worth a visit.

Just be prepared for some serious revisionist history, though.


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(Login Arawasi)
HyperScale Forums

For model shops...

January 20 2016, 6:39 PM 

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(Login MajorJon)
HyperScale Forums

Many Thanks for the Advice!

January 21 2016, 1:10 AM 

Thank you everyone for your great advice. It seems like the Akihabara Train Station area and the Yushukan Museum are the places to go!

Thanks again for the help...sincerely appreciated!


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(Login rice_t)
HyperScale Forums

Re: LF Hobby Shops in the Tokyo Area

January 21 2016, 5:27 AM 

Besides the big chain shops (Volks, Yellow Sub, Yodobashi Camera):

Leonardo LG (3 locations in Akihabara):
Used kits, not much cheaper than MSRP, sometimes even more expensive.

Leonardo ET (also in Akihabara):
Used kits, not much cheaper than MSRP, sometimes even more expensive.

Chikyudo 地球堂 (in Jimbocho, which is like one train stop over from Akihabara):
Good selection, close to MSRP though.
No site, but here's the address:
〒101-0051 東京都千代田区神田神保町1-15 清田ビル3F

Hobby Shop Sunny (a shop with a more neighborhood feel in Shimokitazawa):
Good selection, ok prices.

German Hobby Dora (a small neighborhood shop near Yoyogi Park):
Specializes in aircraft kits, prices close to MSRP

Yamanaka Models (a shop with a more neighborhood feel in Akabane):
Also has trains, airsoft guns, etc.

Don't forget the Tamiya Plamodel Factory (in Shimbashi)

The National Museum of Nature and Science has a Zero on display.

This message has been edited by rice_t from IP address on Jan 21, 2016 5:34 AM

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(Login wrinkledm)
HyperScale Forums

Just visited...

January 21 2016, 5:58 AM 

If your interested I created a kml / google map file of all the hobby shops (ok, many of) the hobby shops in Tokyo I used on my recent visit to Japan. I'll try and find a way to post that somewhere if you are interested. I rented a Mifi device so I could stay online while walking around during my trip.

David Wrinkle -
"It's just the sort of bloody silly name they would choose!" -RJ Mitchell

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Vince Noel
(Login noelvt)
HyperScale Forums

This is truly the only guide you need

January 21 2016, 10:13 AM 

This guide is first-rate:


I was in Tokyo for business this past October, and can attest that the Akihabara district is the place to go. The guide in the link above was completely accurate, and I'd recommend at least a day to hit up all the shops, if you can spare it. There are in fact two Leonardo stores, both maybe two blocks from each other. Another worthwhile visit is the Tamiya Plastic Model store, which is near the Ginza district. They have every Tamiya product currently in production, as well as some Italeri kits. It's maybe a 10 minute train ride from Akihabara. The yen is weak so it's a great time to buy!


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(Login gmat5037)
HyperScale Forums

Kiya Hobby and Chikyu-do moved

January 21 2016, 4:37 PM 

Kiya Hobby moved to the department store in front of the Station. It is across the narrow street from the location described above. It isn't as good as it was before. (10 years ago) I used to sometimes visit Chikyu-do but last year, the location given above was vacated with no notice of where it moved to. Googling the name in Romaji and Kanji gave me a facebook page, but it shows racing cars that the old shop never had.

Mizonokuchi Station on the Tokyu-Denen-toshi Line has two shops. One is a Yellow Submarine and the other is on the second floor of a stationary shop. The latter shop have some harder to find Hasegawa kits. Their armor selection is also OK. Being out of the way and lesser known and generally not as cheap, i would go there to look for kits that had disappeared from other stores in Tokyo. Go out the South East exit and you will be on an elevated terrace walk way. There will be two large department stores in front. The Yellow Submarine store is in the one on the left side. Marui Family Mizonokuchi. It should be on the 9th floor, I think. It has a smaller selection so I wouldn't go out of my way to visit it.

The second and better one is called Ishihara I-Box. Next to that department store is an elevator to go down to the street level. Walk down the street on the left side. It's the street going perpendicular away from the station. Look for the Maruetsu Supermarket. Walk past the supermarket and continue on that street. Go past the red Megane (eye glass shop) store sign and the AU orange sign. Look for the grey building at the corner on the right side.


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(Login centennialofflight)
HyperScale Forums

Lots of Other Model Sources Too

January 21 2016, 11:02 AM 

Was in Tokyo in 2010 on vacation and on a quest for models.

One thing to be aware of - Japan has very limited real estate space (i.e. land).
As a result, they built up vertically.
What would be a strip mall in the US will be a high rise building in Japan
So make sure to look up for store signs mounted high on "tall" buildings.

I usually found model retailers by looking for the Tamiya logo on storefront windows.

When looking for hobby shops, I found it useful to ask clerks "Mokei? Tamiya? Hasegawa?
Mokei "Moe-Kay-Ee" is model. If someone knows anything about models, this phrase will get you to where you want to go.
The first hobby shop I found in Akihabara was a train hobby shop. I used this phrase and the clerk gave me directions to the Leonardo store - definitely worth visiting for the hobby & military book selection alone!

Japan truly is a scale modelers dream! For example, we stayed at a hotel near the Imperial Palace in Chioda-ku Tokyo. The morning of my first day in Japan, I ventured out with my oldest daughter who was in Japan as a college exchange student who served as my translator. As I passed the first office building next to the hotel, I noticed that one of the businesses on the building directory was "Model Art" magazine - I couldn't believe it! I ran into the building took the elevator up to the Model Art office. It was closed, I forgot it was Sunday. I returned later in the week and had a very nice visit with the magazine's editor. The Model Art office is about the size of a Burger King kitchen & dining area and it was amazing that they publish such high quality work out of such a tiny space.

In addition to hobby shops, many department and toy stores also carry great selections of model kits.
One toy store I found by accident was Yamashiroya which is very close to Ueno Park in Tokyo.
We were walking down a narrow street (more like an alley) from the train station towards Ueno Park and my daughters yelled out "Look Dad! A model vending machine!" I ran over to look and it was actually a soft drink vending machine, but it had Tamiya advertising all over it. Then I started to think that there had to be a hobby shop very close by and just around the corner was the Yamashiroya toy store entrance. The model floor was up on the 5th or 7th floor and it had a fantastic selection of kits that you don't see in the U.S.

In another wonderful model incident, we had just gotten off the train at Akihabara and I was in search of hobby shops. We walked through the outdoor plaza of a high rise office building and a J-Girl group was singing and dancing some Madonna-like number on an outdoor stage and I noticed that a large outdoor flea market was also setup in the plaza. I took a glance around and didn't see anything of interest and my wife pointed out that a guy was selling a large model sailing ship kit. The kit was on a table and it looked like that was the only thing he was selling. Then my daughters said, "Look dad he has a bunch of models too!". Sure enough, I had overlooked dozens of large cardboard boxes sitting on the ground that were PACKED with bagged kits! They were mostly Hasegawa and other 1/72 planes that he was selling for about $2 to $5 US and these were kits you'd pay $30+ for in the US! Since my luggage space was limited, I had to really be selective about what I finally bought.

One last model retail source is Japan's version of Hobby Lobby/Michaels, called Tokyu Hands. There are a number of them located throughout the country, but the one I visited was a few blocks away from the Shibuya Crossing train station ("Hachiko"). Shibuya Crossing is the huge intersection with all of the neon signs that you see in movies like "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" and "Lost in Translation". Tokyu Hands has all kinds of craft items and on an upper floor is the model section.

It is DEFINITELY worth making the effort to visit hobby shops in Japan!!!

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Anonymous Grant
(Login gmat5037)
HyperScale Forums

Pla-Mo means plastic models

January 21 2016, 4:42 PM 

If you ask around saying Mokei, you might also say plamo 'Pura mo' With the Japanese R sounding more like a rolling R on your tongue.


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