By Livvy Boote
Nakano Broadway is a brightly lit behemoth pulsing with action. Bargains abound—a new dress for ¥500, socks and leggings for pocket change—while the raucous sounds of arcades and purikura reverberate down the narrow corridors. On the upper floors is a nerd mecca: comic books, cosplay and toys compete for space in this noisy, colorful, mishmash of a shopping center.
Rolex, Hermès, Patek Philippe, Chanel; Casio, Seiko, Citizen; Bulgari, Tag Heuer, Omega. Watch faces gleam from every corner as the smartly besuited staff tick off the merits of this piece or that to the well-heeled customers.
Jack Road carries new, used and antique watches for men; its sister store just across the aisle, Betty Road, does the same for women. The shop, opened in 1987, started as an antique shop but soon homed in on wristwatches, and now serves an international clientele searching for that special something.
With over 3,000 pieces, you’re sure to find something, whether you’re searching for a handsome and functional piece or a rare collector’s item.
Anime Shop Commit
Before the animation world moved to digital, creating many of Japan’s most famous titles was a painstaking process that involved painting thousands of individual cellophane sheets, or cels, which were then filmed. These cels were often sold to collectors at the end of an anime’s production run.
Anime Shop Commit is the last shop in Japan dedicated to selling cells directly to customers. It has a massive selection that includes the most famous anime titles from the 1980s and 1990s. Going through the inventory, however, takes some time, so be prepared to search long and hard for your original piece of anime history.
Opened in April 2014, Plabbit is one the newest shops in Nakano Broadway.
Plabbit creates, assembles and customizes plastic Gundam models. From simply adding panel gap lines to full-chrome electroplating, complete custom paint-jobs, metal accessories and custom modifications, there’s no limit to what customers can order to make their model unique.
The turnaround time for custom work is upward of a month, but for customers who can’t or don’t want to wait, Plabbit also sells a selection of pre-built custom models at its showroom. While the custom models aren’t cheap, each example is truly a one-of-a-kind master artwork.
Pony is the only actual toy shop in Nakano Broadway. While there are many stores that sell toys, those toys are mainly second-hand and collectable items sold to a predominantly adult customer base.
Pony sells a huge variety of new toys to children and parents, though the shop does have wares that cater to hobbyists’s tastes as well. The only shop in the center that stocks new official Studio Ghibli plush toys and accessories, Pony is a fun and fascinating place to visit.
Kimono are the most famous example of Japanese fashion. While they’re fairly easy to find in Japan, they are also prohibitively expensive and often require specific fitting sessions.
Tansu-ya sells high-quality used kimono. As with most second-hand goods in Japan, “used” is a relative term for kimono, as they are often well cared-for. Prices, however, are a fraction of the cost of brand-new kimono, making those at Tansu-ya excellent value. Tansu-ya also sells a selection traditional Japanese clothes and accessories that make perfect souvenirs.
Print Mouse is a print shop specializing in printing onto hard plastic products. Customers can bring in any image they want or use the shop’s computer to search for something to be printed onto iPhone and iPad cases, keyboards, mobile battery chargers or simple plastic sheets (up to A3 size). Prints are photo quality and full color. Customers may also create a custom layout with a number of images and typography. Print Mouse’s in-house designers can sit with a customer to ensure the final print is tailored specifically to the way he or she wants it.
Home of the famous rainbow soft-serve tower cone, Daily Chiko has been in Nakano Broadway since the center opened. The shop serves eight flavors, three of which are seasonal. There are three size options to choose from. The small and medium allow customers choose their flavors, but the large is the rainbow tower that stacks all eight. It takes more than six months to master the art of building the mighty tower.
But with great ice cream comes great responsibility: if a customer drops his or her beast of a cone, there is no refill! Daily Chiko suggests using a spoon and taking extra special care while eating.
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