Day 12: Nakano Broadway, Roppongi, and Shinjuku
The plan for today was to visit Nakano Broadway, have a peek into Roppongi Hills, and end the day at Shinjuku for more shopping. We set off in the morning, navigating throught the usual route from the hotel to the nearest train station.
Nakano Broadway has been talked about as a great place to find similar otaku goods as could be found in Akihabara and this would be our first time there so we were quite excited to see what all the fuss is about. Much of the area around Nakano train station was under construction so we couldn’t see the facade of the Sun Mall Shopping Arcade that would lead into Nakano Broadway. Nevertheless we stumbled into it and walked hastily through as most of the shops were closed for the New Year holidays. Inside Nakano Broadway itself, almost all the shops on the first floor were closed too and we started questioning the wisdom of visiting on this day. A little confused, we exited onto the streets outside to have breakfast at mosburger and reassess the situation.
Deciding to enter Nakano Broadway again and this time explore the upper floors, we returned the way we came. To our delight, Mandarake and its extensions throughout the building were open. We browsed for a little while and concluded that stuff was too expensive. There were some rather rare items on display however, none of which we could afford, but interesting to look at nonetheless.
Amongst the other shops that were open, we found a bookstore (bought a Gundam folder and a photobook which I regret buying now), an anime/game merchandise store (bought a poster and figure), and an anime film cell shop which sold original cells used to create films such as Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. Hands full of loot, again, we returned to the hotel to drop it all off before heading to our next destination: Roppongi Hills.
There was a difference in interest so our party split up, one side foregoing Roppongi Hills for a revisit to Tokyo Tower. Roppongi Hills is an up-market shopping mall with an interesting design where the lowest basement level is connected to the very top floor by one continuous sloping walkway. Obviously not thinking things through very well, we started exploring from the basement (wanted to buy drinks from the conbini) and slowly made our way to the top. Thankfully, the incline was not steep enough to tire us out so nobody was at risk of dying from heart attacks. As we climbed higher, the shops became scarier, with price tags increasing exponentially. There were a few eateries that caught our eye but we decided to give them a miss as we were still quite full from mosburger at Nakano. Before leaving the mall, we splurged on a box of macaroons at Jean-Paul Hevin. The sales staff serving us spoke very good English and was able to explain to us the flavours on display.
With lots of time to spare, we walked down the road somewhat towards Shibuya. Along the way, there were many street stalls set up towards Tameikesanno Temple, no doubt as part of the new year festivities. We picked up a snack or two which we finished just in time before taking interest in a large Nike factory outlet. It was mostly an exercise of price checking for me and I left the store empty handed. Eventually we arrived at Shibuya but being as clueless as we were last time and with no one particularly enthusiastic about the place either, we took the train to Shinjuku since it would provide a different, albeit slightly, shopping environment.
Most of the evening was spent in one Marui (OIOI) or another, there being 4 or 5 different buildings all called OIOI. As luck would have it, one of us found something worthwhile to purchase, plus it was 50% off AND the tax refund counter handed us cash just around the corner. Late dinner was consumed in the area and we returned to the hotel for yet another night of TV, loot sorting, and luggage packing.
Things learnt today:
- Nakano Broadway is not like Akihabara. Not many shops are open on public holidays.
- Roppongi Hills is worth visiting even if your wallets are empty, but probably more worthwhile if you were loaded.
- Shinjuku is a viable shopping area. Stuff isn’t that expensive and they have different sales.
The next few photos are of my loot from the day: