Nakano Broadway: Tokyo’s other Otaku Heaven

Any visitor to Tokyo interested in anime and manga will surely have Akihabara high on their to-do list. However, on the other side of Tokyo, Nakano Broadway is just as much a must-see for fans of Japan pop culture. A short walk north of Nakano Station, Nakano Broadway is a four story shopping mall whose second and third floors are entirely dedicated to anime, manga and collectibles. It can be easy to lose your bearings once inside, but the shops listed below are all notable for the range and quality of their merchandise.

Mandarake

Mandarake in Nakano Broadway

Browsing the shelves at Mandarake, Nakano Broadway.

For manga lovers, this Nakano institution is incomparable. Mandarake is a second hand comic book shop, with prices ranging from 105 yen (around $1) for sale items to several million yen for rare, signed or one off pieces such as an original sketch from the Hayao Miyazaki classic anime “My Neighbour Totoro”. With manga lining the walls from floor to ceiling on all sides of this three-floor emporium, you’re sure to find whatever you were looking for and much else besides.

Anime World Star

Anime World Star (sorry, web page in Japanese only) is the shop to visit if you’re looking for original celluloid prints, commonly called cels, from your favorite anime series. Small or partial cels selling for as little as 1000 yen (around $10), and larger, complete cels from just 4500 yen (around $45), they are a unique souvenir that needn’t break the bank. With more than 100,000 in stock at any one time your only problem might be narrowing down the field to a few favorites!

Robot Robot

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The display cases come alive at Robot Robot.

For those who prefer models to cels, Robot Robot should be your first stop. Up on the third floor, it is stacked to the rafters with an astounding range of Japanese toys and collectibles. From six inch high Godzilla figurines right through to life size Ultraman models, if you can’t find a figurine of your favorite character here, the chances are that you can’t find it anywhere.

In this shrine to Japan pop culture it’s easy to lose track of time, so the best thing to do is browse until your stomach tells you it’s lunchtime. Then head down to Nakano Broadway’s basement, where tiny restaurants jostle for space, serving cheap, tasty yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), okonomiyaki (a thick pancake with pork, etc.) or ramen (noodle soup) all for less than 1000 yen (around $10). If you feel like dessert, don’t miss the chance to try one of Daily Chico’s oversized Tokudai Soft Creams, an ice-cream with ten flavors piled on a cone like a sweet skyscraper. These sell for a very reasonable 390 yen (around $4), and watching people work out how to tackle the monster is nearly as much fun as eating one yourself!

If the ice-cream gives you an energy boost, you can make another assault on the stores upstairs. Or you might choose to relax with a coffee, simply people watching and enjoying your day in this unique palace of Japan pop culture. Just don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs!

photo credit: Yohei Yamashita via photopin cc
photo credit: sekihan via photopin cc
photo credit: D.Fajio via photopin cc

31 comments
Veliky Novgorod
Veliky Novgorod

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Norbi Soberano
Norbi Soberano

Missed it when I went to tokyo last spring, I will definitely go to nakano next time I go to tokyo, probably December next year....

Übersetzer Fábio Silva
Übersetzer Fábio Silva

興味深く、非常に良い。Kyōmibukaku, hijō ni yoi.Interesting and very good.Fábio Silva.

Mara Ravasi
Mara Ravasi

I lived in Nakano-ku in 2002-03, Nakano Broadway was my home =) I love that place and its neighborhood. And for those who love taiyaki, there's a delicious shop just outside the gallery, go and have the best taiyaki ever! =D

Chris Jacques
Chris Jacques

Too Late! I use Nakano station to go to work, and went into Broadway for some last minute shopping... FULL of foreigners. :/ Some Chinese guys had HUGE bags of stuff walking out...

Shawn Unruh
Shawn Unruh

I'm ashamed that I did not... my nerd flag is lowered today.

Inna Minyuk
Inna Minyuk

とてもおもしろいところですね。

Kevin Bruner
Kevin Bruner

Shhhh, don't tell everyone! Let everyone else shop in Akiba while the real collectors go to Nakano!

Brian Moran
Brian Moran

I stayed in Nakano when I was in Tokyo in 2012 and it was awesome!!!! Shout out to the best hostel in all of Tokyo, Yadoya Guesthouse for Backpackers Tokyo!!!

Jose Lira
Jose Lira

I'd like to go there! and Mandarake too!

Amelia Deschamps
Amelia Deschamps

I stayed in Nakano during my Tokyo vacation in '09. I got so excited when I saw this image.

Alexander Pinks
Alexander Pinks

I'm not sure about the place but I had fun time in the kurroneko cafe! Lol

Andrew Diseker
Andrew Diseker

I love Nakano Broadway! I found a lot of neat things that were long out of print or unavailable other places...

Matthew Temple
Matthew Temple

I loved Nakano Broadway! Make sure you stop at the Udon noodle place at the bottom level!

William Wan-Lun Wong
William Wan-Lun Wong

Yeah, I went there earlier this year during my Japan tour since they had the IDOLM@STER/Namaco arcade/museum there. That place was quite an experience. Unfortunately due to time constraints I could not visit the "original" otaku heaven....