By Sherilyn Siy
Step inside and your mouth will drop. Upstairs and downstairs, aisles and walls, there is nothing but toys, toys and more toys.
Yamashiroya in Ueno, Tokyo, is a seven-story heaven for toy and and comic lovers. From Japanese staples like Doraemon, Pokemon and Ultraman to Star Wars, DC, Marvel and pro models, the place has it all.
Some advice though. If you can, leave any strollers you have outside. Yamashiroya is seriously packed to the brim. That's part of its charm. The elevator is also tiny and busy, so take the stairs to reach the level where you're most likely to properly start drooling.
Before you enter you'll be greeted by a plethora of toy capsule vending machines all standing guard by the entrance. A couple of hundred yen here might go a long way in saving you money later but, let's be honest, who comes to Yamashiroya to buy capsule toys?
The basement level houses Studio Ghibli, Disney, Snoopy and so on. Level 1 is for accessories while level 2 features Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Naruto, Dragonball and the like. Puzzle and game fans head to level 3, otherwise keep going up. Remember the stairs; they're their own sightseeing spot, full of posters and displays.
Level 4 is where the younger kids will ask for their candy as its filled with toy lines like Tomica, Plarail and Anpanman. Hobby enthusiasts will love Level 5. Look out for the incredible pop culture character models. Level 6 is themed according to what is big at the time whilst the top floor, level 7, is reserved for events.
Jam packed with everything, if you haven't finished drooling by the time you leave, go back inside.
Take the any of the Hibiya, Ginza or JR Yamanote Lines to Ueno station, and leave from Exit 5B. The store will be right in front of you, across the road.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident who enjoys drooling over proper soba and sushi, Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me and I enjoy stringing words together. I've almost one hundred published articles on Japan as well as five English language books written in the traditional Japanese zuihitsu-style.