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 Animal figure shops in Tokyo

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rogerpgvg

rogerpgvg

Country/State : UK
Age : 50
Joined : 2016-04-29
Posts : 251

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PostSubject: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptySat Sep 28, 2019 11:20 pm

In a few weeks, I'll be visiting Tokyo. Does anyone know good shops for finding animal figures by Japanese brands like Kaiyodo, Colorata and Kitan?
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rogerpgvg

rogerpgvg

Country/State : UK
Age : 50
Joined : 2016-04-29
Posts : 251

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PostSubject: Re: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptyFri Nov 08, 2019 12:17 am

Let me answer this question Smile. I spent a week in Tokyo, mainly for work, but I also had some time to see cultural attractions like museums and temples. And I visited a very different kind of cultural attraction, the otaku shops with anime and manga figures and many other collectors items. They really are a very unique expression of Japanese culture, even though I am sure that many Japanese people themselves find them quite peculiar. In fact, I read that otaku is often used as a pejorative term for someone who is obsessed with collecting stuff.
 
I went to Akihabara, just north of Tokyo centre, which has a particularly high concentration of otaku shops. It’s a very busy, vibrantly lit part of the city with lots of collectors and electrical items shops.
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0210
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0217
 
The otaku shops were unlike anything I have ever seen. The best way to describe them is perhaps as collector shops for adults who haven’t completely grown up. They have almost anything: anime, robot and manga figures, CDs and DVDs, comics, collectors cards, model cars and trains, model kits and lots of stuff that I found hard to identify. Not the most relaxing places. They are crowded, cramped and have narrow aisles, very brightly lit and they play noisy Japanese pop music. Usually they are spread out across several floors that are connected by narrow staircases, sometimes on the outside of the building.
 
Finding animal figures in these shops can be hard, but I found three shops. The shop with the largest selection was Liberty Animate 8. Liberty has several shops in Akihabara and “8” means it is the eighth shop. On the 5th floor, it had one aisle with animal figures, as you can see below. All figures were 500 yen.
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0211

Another good shop was in the Radio Kaikan building. The whole building is full of collectors shops (10 floors, I think). One of the shops on the 2nd floor sells animal figures. The selection was a bit smaller than in Liberty, but some of the figures were cheaper. Below is a photo of an aisle in this shop.
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0212
 
The same building also had a Kaiyodo store, where you could buy the latest figures from gachapon machines. (They didn’t have any of the older figures). Gachapon machines look like this:
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0213
 
You put your money in, turn the handle, and a ball (capsule) comes out. In Akihabara, you can find lots of gachapon machines in the streets and inside the shops. They are called gachapon because turning the handle sounds like “gacha” and when the ball drops you hear “pon”. Makes a lot of sense. I didn’t actually try it, because you don’t know exactly what you’ll get: for example, there are 5 figures in the Kaiyodo Wild Rush 3 set and you could get any figure from that set.
 
Many of the Japanese figures like Kaiyodo and Kitan Nature Technicolor are sold from gachapon machines when new. Because their figures have to fit into the standard-size capsule, they all have a similar size and to make them smaller, they often come in parts that have to be fitted together.
 
Akiba Culture Zone was another shop with animal figures. Their selection was smaller than the other two shops and they were a bit more expensive, but still worth visiting.
 
The otaku shops mainly sold Kaiyodo animal figures; other brands (for example Kitan) were rarer. I bought quite a few figures. As a 1/32 scale collector, it is often difficult to find out what the size of the figures is when you buy via the internet, so it was useful to be able to see them in reality. I mainly bought figures that I hadn’t realised were 1/32 scale. I should say I didn’t see many of the best figures that I bought from Japanese auction sites via Brettnj; the most popular figures are probably sold very quickly.
 
Between Akihabara and Ueno, I found a second-hand shop called “Hobby-off”, which had a good selection of Eikoh wildlife figures, each for only 200 or 300 yen. I later discovered why they had so many when I found this grabbing machine close-by:
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0214
 
I already had all the Eikohs I wanted, but because they were only 100 yen, I thought I should grab one. I thought the machine would always grab one, so I took my time and carefully aimed at the figure I wanted. But no, the grabbing time was limited and I didn’t get anything. Never mind, lesson learnt, so I tried again. I was faster this time, but not sufficiently skilled to get anything (or should I have pressed the button?) Another 100 yen lost. I then decided that it wasn’t worth trying again, as buying the figures in the shop was cheaper.
 
I also went to two toy shops: Yamashiroya (in Ueno) and Yodobashi (a department store in Akihabara with one floor devoted to toys). Yamashiroya had the largest selection of animal figures with Schleich, Ania, some Safari and I believe also some Papo. But I was disappointed that I did not find any Colorata figures.
 
I found these another day in quite a surprising place, the National Museum of Nature and Science. They had all the current Colorata boxes here and a wonderful display of all the animals:
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0310
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0312 
They also sold the beautiful Kaiyodo bongo, made exclusively for the museum. I already had one, but they were cheap (600 yen, but without the fancy box they used to be sold in), so I couldn’t resist and I bought another one.
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0313

The bongo was of course also in the museum itself. It was difficult to take good photos, because the stuffed animals hall was very atmospherically lit. Here is the best I could do:
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0215
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0216

 
The museum was very good and I spent many hours there. The dinosaur and extinct mammals sections were especially good, with many skeleton displays. The sections about the Universe and Japanese fauna were also very interesting. Most information was in Japanese. You could rent a tablet with more information in English, but even just reading the more limited English information and looking at the exhibits took me most of the day.
 
Sorry for the long ramble. Hopefully this is useful for someone in the future. If you ever visit Japan, don’t miss the otaku shops, they are quite an experience! Perhaps even a reason for visiting Japan.
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Pardofelis

Pardofelis

Country/State : Spain
Age : 35
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PostSubject: Re: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptyFri Nov 08, 2019 12:40 am

Thanks a lot for this extremely useful post! I dream to be able to visit Japan some day and I planned my trip long tome ago for the far future, mainly for zoos and of course natural history museums. I tought that if I had enough time I also would check some toy shop for Colorata, Kaiyodo, Ikimon, Takara Tomy or other Japanese figures. Thanks to your wonderful guide I know that I must avoid looking for toy shops: the best and most wished figures are in the Museum that I intended to visit anyway! And not very expensive! Shame that they only have Colorata and not any Kaiyodo (the lancetfish is one of my most wished figures hehe)

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My collection:
Homemade: 68
CollectA: 47
Colorata: 15
Safari LTD: 13
Schleich: 12
Papo: 9
Mojo Fun: 8
Kaiyodo: 7
Ikimon/Kitan Club: 5
PNSO: 3
Bullyland: 2
CBIOV: 2
Southland Replicas: 2
Nayab: 1
Happy Kin: 1
Takara Tomy: 1
Natural History: 1
Science & Nature: 1

Total: 198
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Roger
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Roger

Country/State : Portugal
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Animal figure shops in Tokyo Empty
PostSubject: Re: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptyFri Nov 08, 2019 1:45 am

I believe not many people here had the chance of visiting Japan. It may explain why you needed to reply to your own question.
Luckily, you did it. It is an impressive and very interesting report you're offering to STS people.
I know about the gashapon fever but I had no idea how things worked and you pictured it briliantly.
It is obvious you enjoyed a lot and you enrinched your cultural experiences and your collection. Very Happy

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~ Rogério Crocodile  MY collection of FOXES! Animal figure shops in Tokyo Foxy-T_zpsfcddb528 Foxes I'm searching! bounce
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widukind

widukind

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Animal figure shops in Tokyo Empty
PostSubject: Re: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptyFri Nov 08, 2019 9:16 am

Unbelievable

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sunny Andreas sunny
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rogerpgvg

rogerpgvg

Country/State : UK
Age : 50
Joined : 2016-04-29
Posts : 251

Animal figure shops in Tokyo Empty
PostSubject: Re: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptyFri Nov 08, 2019 9:28 am

The Science and Nature Museum also had gachapon machines with some Kaiyodo and Kitan. They had the antarctic set from Kitan and dinosaur figures from Kaiyodo (I don't remember which, as I don't collect them). But Kaiyodo and Kitan figures are available for a limited time only; if you want older figures, then you need to go to the otaku shops. I didn't find many rare figures though, so for the lancetfish, the Japanese auction sites are probably your best bet. The more expensive and rarer figures are sold in cases in the shops, but they usually didn't have any animal figures. They literally have floors full of cases like this:
Animal figure shops in Tokyo Img_0219


Last edited by rogerpgvg on Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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widukind

widukind

Country/State : Germany
Age : 44
Joined : 2010-12-30
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Animal figure shops in Tokyo Empty
PostSubject: Re: Animal figure shops in Tokyo   Animal figure shops in Tokyo EmptyFri Nov 08, 2019 9:30 am

I believe i would spend more money there as for the trip to tokyo Wink

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