The Japanese are unmatched in their love of characters. Besides anime and manga characters, in recent years the characters of companies and local governments have also gained popularity. There is a wide variety of character merchandise such as home goods, food, and clothes. Here's 5 of the best shops in Tokyo for cute character goods you will want to check out for souvenirs and for yourself.
1. Tokyo Character Street
"Tokyo Character Street" is a popular character merchandise area with 26 individual shops inside it. It is located outside the Tokyo Station Yaesu underground central ticket gate on the B1 floor of First Avenue Tokyo Station. Inside is JUMP SHOP where you can buy Dragon Ball, One Piece and other Shonen Jump merchandise (T-shirts around 3,000 JPY, Mugs around 1,500 JPY etc.) as well as "Donguri Kyowakoku" (Acorn Republic), where you can buy Studio Ghibli merchandise. There are stores where you can buy Ultraman, Snoopy, Rilakkuma, Hello Kitty and other popular character merchandise. Tokyo Character Street is perfect if you're short on time and want to see lots of stores all at once. They have an event space in the middle of the store where they hold events promoting TV shows and anime as well as events where costumed characters come. It's easy to lose track of time thanks to the snacks, T-shirts, and limited edition merchandise lined up as far as the eye can see. Be careful not to miss your departure time!
*Picture is of "Donguri Kyowakoku"
2. Tokyo Takarajima (Tokyo Treasure Island)
Tokyo Takarajiima, inside Tokyo Dome City, is filled with a wide variety of merchandise. They have goods for the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, Moomin, Studio Ghibli, Ultraman, and other popular goods. They even have character manju (a type of Japanese sweet, filled with sweet red bean paste called anko), and various types of toys so it is always filled with people buying souvenirs. There's so much cute stuff you'll want it all, but if you're having trouble deciding, check out the Studio Ghibli hand puppets (273 JPY (excl.tax) each). They're cute and reasonably priced so they're very popular with Japanese customers. There are also character senbei (Japanese rice cracker) at around 500 JPY- perfect for souvenirs. Your friends will love them! There's also a hotel, amusement park, and spa right nearby so you can make a full day out of it. After enjoying the amusement park, you can sweat it off at the spa before coming to Tokyo Takashima to get some shopping done.
3. Hello Kitty Japan (Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Solamachi Store)
The Hello Kitty Japan Tokyo Solamachi store is within the shopping center inside Skytree town, Solamachi. It sells Japanese style Hello Kitty character merchandise. A Hello Kitty wearing a kimono will welcome you into the all-pink store filled to the brim with Hello Kitty. Anyone that loves Hello Kitty will get so excited they'll find endless things they want to buy. There's lots of Japan themed merchandise like Japanese sweets, stuffed animals, accessories, paper lanterns, and various regional goods. The tote bags (1,900 JPY (excl. tax)) and special limited edition Skytree themed merchandise are especially popular. You'll be able to refresh and cure any tiredness from traveling when you find yourself surrounded by all this cute Hello Kitty snacks and merchandise!
4. NHK-Character SHOP (Tokyo Skytree Town, Solamachi store)
The NHK-Character Shop in Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi is perfect for children's souvenirs. It mainly sells merchandise for Domo-kun, the mascot for the NHK (Japanese Television Broadcaster) that is popular worldwide as well as other characters popular with children. At the entrance stands a huge Domo-kun with his mouth wide open. The store is filled with lots of cute miscellaneous items, but one of the most popular items is the Domo-kun red daruma doll (1,200 JPY (excl. tax). Daruma are a kind of round doll that are thought to bring good fortune. It is very cute and charming and would look great in anyone's house. The t-shirts and bento boxes are also popular.
5. LINE FRIENDS STORE Harajuku
LINE is a popular free messaging service centered in Southeast Asia and is now spreading throughout the world. The LINE character shop LINE FRIENDS STORE is a must-see for any LINE user. LINE FRIENDS STORE is on the main street in Harajuku with a large signboard featuring its characters on it outside. Lots of people take pictures in front of the sign. Once inside, the main character stuffed animals will greet you. There are fluffy character cushions (2,700 JPY (incl.tax)), character mugs, USB memory sticks, figures, stationary and over 400 different kinds of super cute merchandise. It is very popular with fans visiting from both from inside and outside Japan. In the past they have had special Japan-only items such as Brown (The LINE Bear character) pure gold "koban" (a kind oval coin used in feudal Japan), Cony (The LINE Bunny character) Swarovski crystals and other kinds of unique goods. If you check it out you will definitely find some unique and interesting stuff!
How did you like our recommendations? There are lots of different kinds of unique character merchandise. Find some cool stuff and show it off to your friends!
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information