Nakano Broadway, a Charmingly Retro Subculture Mecca in Tokyo
Nakano Broadway. Five glorious floors containing anime, manga, collectibles, electronics, restaurants, shops, game arcades and maid cafes. All wrapped up in a nostalgic Showa era (1926-1989) feel.
Opened in 1966, Nakano Broadway just celebrated its 50th birthday in 2016. The mall is part of a 10 story building that hosts apartments from the 5th floor upwards. On the roof is a swimming pool, a garden and a golf range.
While Nakano Broadway does gather to lovers of everything otaku (28 branches of the legendary Mandarake shop are crammed in here), you definitely don't need to be a manga or anime enthusiast to enjoy this place. Read on to discover some of the best shops in Nakano Broadway!
Nakano station is a mere 4 minutes from Shinjuku by train. Getting to Nakano Broadway is easy, just take the North Exit and dive into Nakano Sun Mall, a covered shopping street that leads you into Nakano Broadway.
The Gundam-esque entrance welcomes you into Nakano Broadway. Below is a tour of the five floors of Nakano Broadway with some shops that I recommend.
Mandarake HenyaFirst and foremost, the otaku temple. It specializes in antique toys and retro items but you don't need to be a collector to find this place interesting.
Inside, you will find an alternate dimension. The shelves look like they're floating in mid-air and there is always a strange alien-like music playing.
Mandarake Anime KanAnime cels and storyboards from both classic and recent anime are sold here. If you know a few anime series you'll have a lot of fun walking through this museum-like display.
Dolls everywhere. All kinds of dolls. From Barbie and Licca-chan to high quality doll parts to make your own custom doll.
Dolls and doll wigs
You can customize your doll with the clothes and wigs that you like!
Here you can find entire sections dedicated to Sailor Moon. I had never seen so many Sailor Moon toys all together. After all these years the series is still popular, both in Japan and overseas.
Pay*de*feDreamy, strange style clothing and accessories, all created by designer Lim. Definitely check it out if you like unique and alternative fashion.
This tiny shop is worth a visit even just for the strange interior! Watch out for the deer.
Gallery Little HighThis art gallery always hosts interesting exhibitions. The one in the picture was called "Mysterious Stone!" by artist and artisan Hirotoshi Ito.
Mandarake Honten (Bookstore)Look for the steampunk decorations and the line of people reading manga outside. If you like Japanese comics, in this store you'll find everything you're looking for.
Across the hall from Mandarake Honten, Honten2 stocks even more comics, light novels, magazines and more.
Mandarake Honten2 (Bookstore2)
The inside is small but filled with figures and old toys. They also stock Disney toys!
Also known as the Xenomorph store, Blox sells a mixture of Japanese and foreign items. Here you'll find Hollywood movie goods as well as characters from Japanese anime, movies and games.
GaocchiIf you want to explore some of the Showa era nostalgia, head to this place and squeeze through the crammed shelves. Anything Showa is sold here: toys, masks, collectible erasers, sofubi, baseball cards and much, much more.
Chojin Hakaba / Hakaba no Garou
As you might have guessed from the picture, Chojin Hakaba deals mainly in Kinnikuman apparel. Inside the shop is Hakaba no Garou, a gallery hosting special events. It's always worth to check this place out because you never know what they'll be selling when you go.
Mandarake Cosplay KanGetting ready for the next convention? Cosplay Kan will help you transform into your favorite character. They stock full costumes, wigs and other accessories. Some of the costumes are second hand, though in really good condition, so you might find some very interesting prices here.
The most popular cosplay series right now is "Yuri!!! on Ice"
Classic figurines the likes of One Piece, Dragon Ball, and Evangelion can be admired on this store's shelves. The details are amazing and the design impeccable.
Merry-Go-Round Toy Store
It's an odd mix, but Micro Kan mainly stocks Ghibli goods, wrestling masks and Kinnikuman erasers.
Mandarake Micro Kan
Kinnikuman and other collectible erasers for 100 yen. They have entire shelves covered in these.
Nakano Broadway couldn't do without a shop for gamers. Here you'll find used consoles and game software of all kinds.
Famicom games at Mandarake Galaxy
Have you ever tried gacha gacha, the Japanese capsule toys? Nakano Broadway has a lot of them, scattered around all five floors. Hal is an entire shop dedicated to these fun coin-eating contraptions.
Everything coin related is in this shop. Their main business is buying coins, bills and other items, but they have a very interesting display worth seeing, especially the Japanese coins.
1st FloorThe first floor of Nakano Broadway hosts clothing shops, recycle stores, a tea shop and many other establishments.
A branch of Fujiya cake store is here, with it's popular mascot Peko-chan. You'll find many Peko-chan figures and items sold in the stores above. Mandarake Henya has a whole section dedicated to her.
Feeling like a snack? You can grab some mochi sweets at this store or check out the candy shop.
Lastly, Petit Paris is the basement floor of Nakano Broadway and it's house to a big Seiyu supermarket, a fish market, several restaurants and shops.
Basement Floor (Petit Paris)
Always look out for interesting things like these steamed turtles!
Cafe Peloringa Nakano
Opened in April 2017, this self-proclaimed psychedelic cafe is a sister location to Cafe Peloringa in Shibuya. With its colorful, funky furniture and yummy cheesecakes, what better place is there to take a break from your shopping?
Actual working retro videogames are made into tables!
You'll want to get lost for a while in Kaya's world of unique clothing and accessories. Their retailored dresses and one-of-a-kind jewelry are the reason to come here.
Poking around Kaya
I normally wouldn't include an ATM corner in an article, but Petit Paris has a very special one themed after Attack on Titan. There is a picture spot to kill time while your waiting in line. If you take a picture using your flash...
...the titan will get angry!
Daily ChicoNo one can say no to a savory soft cream, but will you say yes to Daily Chico's challenge? Their extra-large soft cream features 8 flavors and it costs only 490 yen!
You can't choose what flavors you want on your extra-large cone because they literally put all of their flavors on it! Some of the flavors will vary depending on the month, and you can get pretty odd ones too. Our ice cream pile was made of strawberry, café au lait, vanilla, chocolate, calpis, maccha, Hokkaido melon and ramune.
Around Nakano BroadwayThe narrow alleys around Nakano Broadway and Nakano Sun Mall are packed with restaurants, izakayas, bars and Karaoke parlors. When Nakano Broadway goes to sleep, this area comes to life with neon lights and inviting smells, making it worthy to stick around for just a few more hours after dark.
Don't Miss Nakano Broadway If You Come to Tokyo.
Some say it's a discount Akihabara, some call it the better Akihabara. I personally think that Nakano Broadway has its own unique personality and is an experience well worth having. What are your thoughts?
About the author
Laura is an Italian living and working in Tokyo. She loves exploring hidden and unknown places, taking pictures and listening to Punk Rock music. When she’s not busy doing the above, she might enjoy a craft beer or play the sanshin (an Okinawan instrument similar to a shamisen).
Liked this story? Like DiGJAPAN!
on Facebook for daily updates!
THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 08 03,2017 Author：DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team