Monday, October 28, 2013

Kobe Toy Shopping (2013)

Welcome to Kaiju Korner's 2013 guide to toy shopping in Kobe, one of Japan's largest and most dynamic cities. Kobe has a lot to see in its own right, from distinct architecture to a famous harbor, gardens, and historic districts.

It has also has a couple of well known shopping arcades which stretch on for long distances. And both of those have clusters of toy shops.

Toy + Hobby Area 1: San Plaza/Center Plaza/Plaza West

This set of three shopping complexes, which are connected by walkways, is located in a nice covered mall. It's near Sannomiya station, and the easiest thing is to enter at the above spot.

After a few meters, you'll see this entrance to San Plaza. Most of the toy, game, and other shops of interest are on the 2nd and 3rd floors. To see all the shops in all three complexes, remember to take one of the corridors connecting San Plaza to Center Plaza, and then another from Center Plaza to Plaza West. It sounds confusing (and it can be from all the signage), but once you're inside one of the buildings, it will feel like one giant complex, so don't worry too much about the naming of things. Once you hit the end of Plaza West, you'll come to a big wall, so you'll know where to stop.

There are little arcades, video game shops, as well as stores selling manga, anime, model kits, books, records, and of course toys.
 More after the jump:

I have a hard time walking by a good Puzzle Bobble machine without stopping to play!

You can get a kimono made too...

Check out all these toy + hobby shops!

Any Bronies in the hizzy? If so, they've got you covered, too.

Toy + Hobby Area 2: Sannomiya station to Kobe station (beneath the JR train tracks)
If you look out the window from the San/Center/Plaza complex, you'll see a set of tracks running roughly parallel to the mall you're in. Beneath these tracks is a very old series of shopping arcades containing many hidden treasures.

The first arcade starts near the Hankyu Sannomiya station and continues to Motomachi station.

The arcade has some nice shops selling crafts and other goods.

But the much more interesting arcade, which goes for quite a distance, runs from Motomachi station to Kobe station. You'll have to cross traffic intersections at several points, but it's easy to see where the mall continues after each crossing.

It's like something from American Pickers!
This section of the mall has many shops that have been there for what must be decades. There are antique shops, used camera stores, record shops, and toy shops, to name a few.
The arcade has also taken on more of an artistic flavor in recent years. You can see artists and artisans working on their crafts in small studios...
...and there is currently a series of installations in some of the once empty spaces.

The nice fellow working here is a Jack Kirby fan.

Moz Laito has an amazing selection of vintage toys, but you may pay a premium for the quality.

There's even a shop dedicated to collectible cars!
And that's a look at some of the toy shopping you can do in Kobe. I hope you enjoyed the tour!


Anonymous said...

Nice work Andy - J~

BieredeRoute said...

THanks a million!

andy b said...

You're welcome. Have fun! :O)

terebi-kun said...

My wife is there for work, your guide will be a great asset so she can bring a cool gift. Thanks a lot!

andy b said...

You're welcome. Please keep in mind the post was written 4 years ago, and a lot can change in that time.

I hope your wife has a great time and can find some cool things in Kobe. :O)

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