Tokyo, known for its ‘kawaii’ (meaning cute in the Japanese context) fashion and characters, is also a shopping paradise in Asia. Amid the busy JR Tokyo station is the character street. The underground mall at Yaesu exit consisting of at least 21 stores open daily from 10am to 8.30pm. Upon arrival, you would be welcome by the amazing shops carrying colorful and adorable products of popular Japanese characters!
Conveniently located at Tokyo Station
Conveniently located at Tokyo Station, the Tokyo Character Street is one of the many underground malls in Tokyo. Opened in 2008, it has proven to be a hit with many locals as well as tourists. This street where all characters can be found under one roof is a dream comes true for many fans around the globe. Each theme store carries items of popular Japanese characters such as Totoro and other characters from studio Ghibli; hello kitty; rilakkuma and Moomin. The products range from plushies to cutleries to food.
A wide variety of character-based items available for purchase
All items sold along character streets are authentic and official products so be prepared to pay slighter higher prices for them. The qualities of the items sold in Japan are generally good so a higher price is well-justified. For toy collectors, you will not be disappointed with the variety and collection of toys. There are also character-inspired food products such as cookies and chocolates, which are simply adorable. You may be able to find some of these items in other stores but the character street is a one-stop street for all your favourite characters! If you love to cook, you will want to buy some pans that are shaped in the character, which cost around 3000 JPY (25USD) depending on the sizes.
Classic toys for boys and men!
Guys, you get your fair share of childhood characters like ultra-man for those born in 1960s; or Pokémon for those born in 1980s. Pokemon is a popular game monster in various colored characters and has become famous with its video games and shows. You should also visit the famous tomica miniature cars, which are equally popular with adult car-model lovers! Each store carries a wide variety of products ranging from plush toys, figurines, video game sets to even candies and chocolates!
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Best timing to explore Tokyo Character Street
Given that this is a central station, the street does get busy with her passers-by during lunch time as well as evening when the locals knock off from work. The best time to shop will be early morning when they open or in the afternoon when there is smaller crowd, so you can enjoy your walk along the street.
Grab a bowl of Ramen after shopping at the street
The street is not very big so you would most likely spend at most 1-2 hours there. If you feel hungry, you will be delighted to know that Tokyo Ramen Street is just one level above! You will find a vending machine outside the stores where you can select and pay for your choice of ramen (Japanese noodles). There are more than 10 ramen restaurants so choose the one that you are most comfortable with since they offer almost the same dishes, albeit different methods of cooking from different provinces. The most popular store would be Rokurinsha but do expect a waiting queue, especially during lunch and dinner hours. The staff will show you to a seat after that so you can enjoy a bowl of delicious ramen before you continue on your next journey.
Fantastic choice for families and character lovers
For cartoon-character lovers and parents with young children, you or your children would definitely enjoy Tokyo Character Street! Since it would not take long and it is easily accessible via the subway, you have to drop by if you are in Japan!
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