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Hobby/model shops in Tokyo's Nakano area


railsquid

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My travel plans today were diverted by a "human body accident" and as it happens I ended up passing through Nakano so thought I'd take a look at Mandarake inside the Nakano Broadway emporium. It's the first time I've been there for a long time (IIRC the previous, and probably only time, was a quick sweep through finding nothing of interest to me at the time).

 

Anyway turns out Mandarake occupies a number of units in that building, and while I was looking for the rumoured model railway section I stumbled upon Big Yard, retailer of 2nd hand model trains along the lines of Hobbyland Pochi. They have a fairly wide selection of stuff, sorted by region and class number (as far as I can tell), including the odd box of pretty vintage stuff from the 80s; also a small "junk" section. Mainly N, with some odd bits of HO. Prices look fairly reasonable (prices displayed *include* sales tax). Small but relatively spacious store, friendly staff. I didn't find anything which particularly appealed to me at this current time, but would certainly go there if I had something in mind. I did buy a single 0-kei Shinkansen car from the junk section as I've been looking for one with standard couplings which will form part of my test train (its job will be clearance testing).

 

I finally located the Mandarake shop by asking in one of the others; it turns out to be on the 4th floor right at the back. Small pokey storelet, 2nd-hand stock piled up in no particular order, together with a bunch of miscellaneous railway memorablia and railway toys. As of 2017 the store has moved to the 2nd floor, on the left side, towards the rear of the building. It's a larger, less disorganised unit than before. Stock is mainly N, with some HO and even O (for 550,000 yen an O-gauge EF-something-or-other can be yours). N prices looked pretty reasonable, I suspect there might be some bargains lurking in dusty corners. Prices displayed *do not include* sales tax. However it was staffed by a young lady who I suspect from her cosplay-ish outfit and general demeanour might not be terribly au-fait with the subject matter (I could be wrong of course). Also (it just occurred to me) there was no visible test track . Most of the boxes had hand-written lables indicating the general condition (mainly along the lines "Motor/lights OK, accessories unused"). I'd certainly go back and poke around again.

Edited by railsquid
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Well, I went back and poked around in Mandarake and found a Kato C57 steamy thingy for an agreeable price, at least for experimential purposes. The dude behind the register did seem to know his way around model trains, and there is a test track beneath all the other stuff on the cash register desk.

 

While I was there I stumbled upon a third model shop, "Poppoya" (ぽっぽ屋) on the same floor as "Big Yard" - go out of "Big Yard", turn left and it's a few shops down on the left-hand side. Small shop; has new stuff on the right-hand side, 2nd-hand stuff on the left. Prices *include* sales tax. Worth a look if you know what you're looking for.

Edited by railsquid
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I stumbled across this shop in some internet search for something else.  Found you have already found it.  Thanks for the write up about it.  I think Nakano Broadway will be on my to-do list when I return to Tokyo.

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If anyone's travel plans including visiting the Mandarake shop, note that it has moved locations; see original post for details.

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I was just there in Nakano Broadway last September. I have been there a few other times years ago and noticed the greatly increased number of foreigners this time around. The cat is sort of out of the bag and the prices and finds at Mandarake, while still good, aren't as good as it used to be. Nevertheless, I could probably spend days in there if time allows. So much interesting stuff. Unfortunately I find that each time I go I am allowed less and less time there.

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been on Nakano Broadway/mandrake last sunday, and yes i did not find the train section where it was last year. 

But any mandarake store has a new map so is easy to find the new trains section (beside you walk in front of it by chance)

Which is bigger and give more visibility to the stuff they sell.

 

nearby there is another train seller. Not sure if is Big Yard as in original post here, but was good enough :)

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Big Yard (and Poppo) are on the same level/side, closer to the main entrance on the front (Nakano station) side.

 

I recall one other shop selling trains, it was a general retailer of anime and manga and models and stuff with a few shelves of mildly overpriced Tomix/Kato/Microace bookcases, but I've never been able to find it again.

 

Definitely increasing numbers of foreigners; the whole building seems to be perking up (when I first went there 7 or 8 years ago, it was very quiet and subdued), though the upper levels at the rear are still a bit ghetto.

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I love going to Nakano broadway, it's become very popular overseas as a lot of YouTubers that moved to Japan have done videos about it so it's getting more widely known.

 

I visited there in October and missed out on the Girls Und Panzer train the Manadrake store had at the time, but my SO did pick up a Galaxy express set and i picked up a Plarail Eva Shinkansen from them. It was the second time we went and we set aside the whole day to be there, thankfully due to only opening at mid dayish that isn't too difficult. 

 

I do recommend if you go, there is a store on the way leading up to the broadway that does these curry ball things (not sure what they are called) for 500yen and they are delicious 

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i suppose that the increase in foreigners is to be related with the fact that mandarake has his internet page in multiples languages as well twitter accounts, so he pull foreigners to go there.

Still, as Railsquid write, when you go up to 3rd or 4t floor is still very "ghetto" but lovely to loose yourself in.

 

as for food on the way there from station. there is a sushi place with shinkansen sushi delivery ;)

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