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Nozomi

Tokyo experience ?? PLEASE tell me where to shop for trains

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Nozomi

Flight and Apartment booked!... but that’s only the beginning of planning! I will have almost 3 weeks in and around Tokyo in February 2010.

I’ve been to Tokyo a few times but I never had to go hunting for model trains. The Japan rail addiction is stil quite new for me (less than a year). From my experience it’s going to be very difficult to find addresses in this huge megalopolis.

 

Quite a few members of this great forum have been to Tokyo or even live in Tokyo. Could you please let me know the best places to shop for trains (new and used)?

 

I only heard of Popondetta and that there is a cluster of stores around Akihabara.

 

Kato has it’s own hobby centre in Tokyo. Are they selling too? Worth a visit? http://www.katomodels.com/shop/hctokyo_e.shtml

 

Do Tomix, Micro Ace, Greenmax have anything like a ‘flagship store’?

 

Is it true that Toyku Hands has a model railroad department? (I know they have everything you could possibly need for a layout but I’m talking about train sets).

 

I once read something about Tenshodo Ginza, but I only found an internet  site about Tenshodo jewelry…

 

Well, to find these stores (there must be dozens) is my biggest concern for my trip. Your help is exceedingly appreciated.

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westfalen

Some of the hobby shops are difficult to find, some are upstairs and have only a small entrance at street level. Tenshodo is one of these, it's on the left side of the street leading to Ginza from Yurakucho station on the Yamanote line. I keep my eyes open for familiar signs, like Kato, Tomix etc, as I walk down the street. I usually buy a Japanese model railroad magazine and look at the hobby shop ads, like most businesses they have maps showing how to get there, they will be in Japanese but if there is a railway station on the map you can figure out where it is by comparing the name with those on a map of the rail network. Some of the bigger department stores have model railroad sections in the toy department that are worth looking for.

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westfalen

The Kato store would definitely be a place to stop, though not for the best prices (they'll likely be selling at MSRP). What you will find are a lot of stuff to look at and spare parts that may be difficult to find.

 

http://www.pbase.com/atsf_arizona/kato_showroom_tokyo&page=1

They had more spare body shells than I've ever seen in one place.

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Guest ___

Some of the hobby shops are difficult to find, some are upstairs and have only a small entrance at street level. Tenshodo is one of these, it's on the left side of the street leading to Ginza from Yurakucho station on the Yamanote line. I keep my eyes open for familiar signs, like Kato, Tomix etc, as I walk down the street. I usually buy a Japanese model railroad magazine and look at the hobby shop ads, like most businesses they have maps showing how to get there, they will be in Japanese but if there is a railway station on the map you can figure out where it is by comparing the name with those on a map of the rail network. Some of the bigger department stores have model railroad sections in the toy department that are worth looking for.

 

I had a nightmare finding a few shops, one was in Akiba, and we spent an hour looking for it despite the fact the building only had 8 tenants on three floors. I can't rememebr the name and location fo the one I went to in Akiba, off the Ginza Line. I posted this question a couple of years ago.

 

 

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quereadisplay.html?0+48326

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CaptOblivious

I once read something about Tenshodo Ginza, but I only found an internet  site about Tenshodo jewelry…

 

One and the same! What do watches a z scale steam locos have in common? (Tenshodo is to my knowledge the only maker of japanese z steam). I'll post a better link later. Prices are good as is the selection, so they are worth a visit (I buy a lot from them online)

 

Here are the links:

Tenshodo Ginza

http://www.ginza-tenshodo.com/

Tenshodo Models (same company, different website)

http://www.tenshodo-models.com/

Tenshodo's online store at Rakuten

http://www.rakuten.co.jp/tenshodo/

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bill937ca

There are several chains in Tokyo.  The links are generally in Japanese and need to be translated with a machine translator.

 

Models Imon has photos of the street location and maps on its web page.

 

http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX083.MBR/SHOP'>http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX083.MBR/SHOP    (Akihabara)

 

http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX082.MBR/SHOP'>http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX082.MBR/SHOP  (Yokohama)

 

http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX086.MBR/SHOP'>http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX086.MBR/SHOP (Ikebukuro)

 

http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX08.MBR/SHOP#OOI'>http://www.imon.co.jp/MODELS/INDEX08.MBR/SHOP#OOI   (all locations)

 

http://www.imon.co.jp/

 

Tam-Tam has a store in Akihabara.

 

http://www.hs-tamtam.jp/modules/tinyd2/index.php?id=4

 

Popondetta has a branch in Akihabara and is one of the few with a street level presence.

 

http://www.popondetta.com/akihabara/index.html

 

Also Green Max has Crosspoint Stores.

 

http://www.gm-store.co.jp/

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Guest ___

I found Popondetta and Tam-Tam to be pretty high though. I had heard there were a few shops in Ikibukuro that were cheaper, but damned if I can recall where they were located at.

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to2leo

Akiba has a upstairs shop that sells cheaper than Tam Tam and especially Popondetta. at 35% off by cash.  The shop is a mess but still very organised than many non-Japanese hobby store I seen.  Check my map.

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Guest ___

Akiba has a upstairs shop that sells cheaper than Tam Tam and especially Popondetta. at 35% off by cash.  The shop is a mess but still very organised than many non-Japanese hobby store I seen.  Check my map.

 

I bought my Tomy-Tec bus and one of those EF65 Chokoegg things there, but the selection was pretty limited and the guy sent me next door to Popondetta. I will admit, I did get in trouble at Popondetta because they had an entire bookshelf with about five shelves full of used back issues of Japan Railfan, inwhich I bought like ten books, making my trip to Kyushu and then home a lot harder because of te weight of carrying it all.

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Nozomi

Well these infos, links and the map will be a big help to find the stores.

 

Thank you all !!

 

As you might expect, I have another question. What about payments with credit cards. I can’t imagine walking around with huge amounts of cash. I’m aware that Japan is a cash-is-king country but for purchases worth hundreds of dollars I would consider it to be safer  (*) with credit cards. I don’t mind paying list prices or getting just a small rebate. I safe the shipping cost of around $80 per set.  So if you know stores which accept non-Japanese issued cards please let me know.

 

(*) Tokyo is a very safe city even by Swiss standards. I not afraid of being robbed it’s more likely that I lose my cash....

 

Once again, thank you guys!

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CaptOblivious

Well these infos, links and the map will be a big help to find the stores.

 

Thank you all !!

 

As you might expect, I have another question. What about payments with credit cards. I can’t imagine walking around with huge amounts of cash. I’m aware that Japan is a cash-is-king country but for purchases worth hundreds of dollars I would consider it to be safer  (*) with credit cards. I don’t mind paying list prices or getting just a small rebate. I safe the shipping cost of around $80 per set.  So if you know stores which accept non-Japanese issued cards please let me know.

 

(*) Tokyo is a very safe city even by Swiss standards. I not afraid of being robbed it’s more likely that I lose my cash....

 

Once again, thank you guys!

 

 

 

 

On my visit to Tokyo, I just carried cash. But I first found that my bank had a partner bank in Tokyo with lots of ATM machines that wouldn't charge me a withdrawal fee. See if you can find something similar, so that you can carry around only the cash you need and not worry about racking up ATM fees. That might be your best bet.

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to2leo

Credit cards are widely accepted in Akiba and Tokyo with 5% fee.  Before you fly, contact your credit card company to state where you will be going.

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Kabutoni

IMO it's best to carry cash around, as some shops don't accept credit cards. When I was there I payed in cash only, but that was 6-7 years ago. Still, I'd drag around cash, just to be sure. Yeah, I'm a bit old-skool. My gf calls me 'grandfather' or 'ojii-san' for such things... I'm only 24-years old... :lipssealed:

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Guest ___

I'll be honest. On my first trip to Kyoto, I was able to use credit everywhere. On my second trip which was Tokyo, I had one hell of a time finding anyplace that took credit, including freaking 7-11. Smaller merchant like hobby shops definitively prefer cash, though I did hit the Yamashiroya in Ueno which did take Visa, as would Laox.

 

I was so amazed in the contrast when it came to cash vs credit between kanto and kansai. I spent my last 40 bucks on Suica to insure I would not spend it on thing in Kyushu, and ended up needing it. there's a bog story to this, but I digress. Anycase, I got to Miyazaki, and everyone took credit including 7-11.

 

As a whole, I do find Japan is a cash preferred country. I found I had an easier time paying for things with my Suica card than a Visa card.

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to2leo

Hi I was in Tokyo two weeks ago so using your credit card is not a problem in most hobby stores especially in Akihabara in which I spent 6 hours to every single one of the train hobby stores.  Again some will charge you 5% credit card fee.

 

I would highly recommend you to bring cash.  It is much easier, cheaper and faster.  Japanese products are very reliable so credit cards' warranty are overrated in that country.  Also, you need to consider the credit card exchange rate +2 to 2.5% transaction fee.

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Nozomi
I spent my last 40 bucks on Suica to insure I would not spend it on thing in Kyushu, and ended up needing it. there's a bog story to this, but I digress. Anycase, I got to Miyazaki, and everyone took credit including 7-11.

 

As a whole, I do find Japan is a cash preferred country. I found I had an easier time paying for things with my Suica card than a Visa card.

 

I plan to buy the suica plus n'ex ticket at jr station in narita. I know that you can pay this combined ticket credit cards. I also know that I have to top up the card with cash at made for that machines. Is it' possible to up suica at narita station together with buying suica? I would store a large amount on the card and use it for vending machines, tickets around tokyo and at kombinis.

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Guest ___

Hi I was in Tokyo two weeks ago so using your credit card is not a problem in most hobby stores especially in Akihabara in which I spent 6 hours to every single one of the train hobby stores.  Again some will charge you 5% credit card fee.

 

I would highly recommend you to bring cash.  It is much easier, cheaper and faster.  Japanese products are very reliable so credit cards' warranty are overrated in that country.  Also, you need to consider the credit card exchange rate +2 to 2.5% transaction fee.

 

Capital One users don't have to pay that, which is the only reason why I have it. No exchange rate fees.

 

I plan to buy the suica plus n'ex ticket at jr station in narita. I know that you can pay this combined ticket credit cards. I also know that I have to top up the card with cash at made for that machines. Is it' possible to up suica at narita station together with buying suica? I would store a large amount on the card and use it for vending machines, tickets around tokyo and at kombinis.

 

My Suica card wasn't linked to my credit so I'm not sure about that. I thought mainly it was the Mobile Suica that linked to the credit accounts, but I don't know much about doing that to a card, though I'm sure it is available.

 

I know a lot of places in Tokyo will take the Suica card for food. I bought lunch at the McD at Shiunjuku and paid with the Suica.

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westfalen

When I travel to Japan I mainly rely on cash, I take what I need with me from home. It's no big deal carrying large amounts of cash on you as all the locals do it. I take a credit card mainly as backup. Japan must be one of the last cash societies, you can hand over a 10,000 yen note at the 7-11 for can of coke or candy bar and no one bats an eyelid.

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to2leo

Apparently according to my fav exchange store, the Japanese money bill are made of very high quality and it is very hard for people to imitate.

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Mudkip Orange

you can hand over a 10,000 yen note at the 7-11 for can of coke or candy bar and no one bats an eyelid.

 

You can do the same thing in Mexico City, just hop off the tren urbano and find a place to grab a Pepsi.

 

Of course you're about 1000% more likely to get mugged, but still.

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clem24

LOL I am a little late to the party that is this thread.. But.. When I bought stuff there using my credit card, they asked me a few options. I was using a plain jane Mastercard. There were something like 2 or 3 you can choose from. I have NO CLUE what each option was. Probably one was credit, one was debit, and one was something else. In any case, I was standing there like an idiot, and the guy couldn't really explain to me what each option was as my Japanese is quite limited. In any case, I was like f-it, and told them option 1. The worst that can happen is it gets declined. Well, it worked. At a few stores (Tam Tam in Akiba was one of them). So.. Choose option 1!  :grin

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mbloes

Also, take the time to make a list because you WILL be overwhelmed when you get there.  Start looking hard at your layout for the little stuff that you just haven't gotten to because the detail thingies that you need aren't readily available where you live.  You will go into a store and get to a parts rack and see 20 different kinds of laser-cut fences or 20 different kinds of residential gates and if you haven't figured it out you will just want them all. Look at back issues of magazines, the Kato & Tomix catalogs (especially the spare parts) and the J-hobby sites for ideas.

 

Some ideas include:

traction wheels (the rubber o-rings) for the power cars that can't make it up the hills any more

unique couplers (you know, the ones you broke when you dropped that car)

decals / dry transfers (when you used them all up because you couldn't get them right)

single add-on cars

spare cases

J-only books and mags (as you know, shipping for these is expensive because they are so heavy).  Even general bookstores like Kinokuniya will have a big hobby section that includes MR.

 

The bottom line is that you will be glad you took the time to do this.  If you don't, I guarantee you will be kicking yourself when you get back because you forgot something!

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Hezekiah Strawbody

LOL I am a little late to the party that is this thread.. But.. When I bought stuff there using my credit card, they asked me a few options. I was using a plain jane Mastercard. There were something like 2 or 3 you can choose from. I have NO CLUE what each option was. Probably one was credit, one was debit, and one was something else. In any case, I was standing there like an idiot, and the guy couldn't really explain to me what each option was as my Japanese is quite limited. In any case, I was like f-it, and told them option 1. The worst that can happen is it gets declined. Well, it worked. At a few stores (Tam Tam in Akiba was one of them). So.. Choose option 1!  :grin

 

Credit card payments in Japan can be processed in one payment, or split of a number of months, so they were asking you that. Just hold up 1 finger to indicate that you wish to make the payment as a single transaction.

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