There are many shops in Japan that cater only to one kind of genre of goods, all of which are considered holy lands to those who love that kind of particular item. Here are 5 shops that even people who aren't obsessed can enjoy.
Why not try to find the toy cars you played with as a child? "Mini car" is the general term for all toy and model cars made to be a scaled down vehicle. Outside of toy cars aimed at children, there are display models and collector's items, all of which have avid fans all around the world. In Japan, there are a large number of mini car fans and at specialty shops you can often find cars from all around the world for sale. At minicar shop IKEDA, about a 3 minute walk from JR Nippori Station, is one of those mini car specialty shops. It's considered a holy land for collectors thanks to its huge stock. It even received the Net Shop Award in 2013. If you stroll around the store, you should find the toy car you wanted all your life. Business hours are from 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm Monday to Friday, and 11:00 am - 7:00 pm on weekends and holidays. Please stop by.
*Photo is for illustration purposes
1. Meet the toy car you dreamed of as a child at this toy car specialty shop!
The general term for radio-controlled toys in Japan is "rajikon." It's one of the types of toys that most kids have probably played with at least once in their lives. The mecca of rajikon is in Tokyo, a store called SUPER RAJIKON. It's a five minute walk from JR Akihabara Station. Inside the store there's a race track for radio-controlled vehicles that include not just cars but airplanes, drones, and many other kinds of products. It's fun just to look at their stock no matter what age you are. Outside of the toys themselves, they also have a wide variety of parts, so you might be able to find the perfect souvenir for the collector in your life. Their business hours are from 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Mondays to Saturdays and 10:00 am - 8:00 pm on Sundays or holidays. If you find yourself in Akihabara, please stop by.
2. A radio-controlled toy mecca for collectors in Akihabara
For people who want to bring a ton of Japan's delicious foods home but are worried about their expiration dates, here is some good news. ROJI Nihonbashi, a select shop that's often featured on TV, offers high-class canned goods from the well-known company Kokubu Group. They have a wide variety of products that change with the seasons including Tokyo specialties, Nihonbashi pickles, canned fruits, snacks that go well with liquor, senbei crackers, and more. The storefront was made to look like the Edo-period homes called nagaya, so it's very unique. Outside the store there is also a rest area, so why not take your time looking around? Even though they're canned goods they're particularly delicious!
3. You'll want to take a ton of canned goods home from this specialty shop!
For people who want to bulk buy Japanese sweets as souvenirs for a reasonable price, check out the dagashi shop Ooya Shoten. Dagashi are cheap Japanese sweets that were made so that children could buy them using their pocket money, so it's completely different from the image of high-class Japanese sweets eaten during tea ceremonies. Ooya Shoten is a wholesale store, but you can still buy enough for personal purposes. The most popular product in the store is Ganso Ueda no Anko-dama. It's a bite-sized ball of anko (sweet red bean paste) covered in plenty of fragrant kinako (soybean flour) that's perfect as a souvenir! The store is about a minute away from JR Nippori Station. Business hours are from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, and they're closed every Monday and the 3rd Tuesday of every month.
*Photo is for illustration purposes
4. Buy a ton of sweets beloved by Japanese commoners at this dagashi shop!
Finally, Cool Magic SHU'S is a kind of store that's rare all around the world, because they specialize in umbrellas! There aren't even umbrella specialty stores in the world's big three fashion cities of London, New York, and Paris, so you can call this one of the world's rarest specialty shops. There are around 10,000 umbrellas with cool designs or different functions! The store is made up of 4 floors, so it feels like you're in a library for umbrellas. You'll forget how much time you're spending there just by looking around. You can find the perfect umbrella for you based on appearance and function. The shop is located 1 minute away from Jiyuugaoka Station, and it's open from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm. Their holidays are irregular so please double-check before you go. Why not find the perfect umbrella to guard against unexpected rain that can also become a souvenir of your trip?
*The photo is for illustration purposes
5. This umbrella specialty shop has more than 10,000 to choose from!
Tokyo is full of interesting specialty and hobby shops! It's fun to stop by these sorts of stores sometimes and see what you can find.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.