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What's in Sapporo

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Anyone have any good shops they know of near Sapporo Station or vicinity?

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bikkuri bahn

There are none.  Just Bic Camera and Yodobashi for general hobby supplies, plastic kits and some n scale. The last nice hobby shop in the city center went belly up several years ago.  Hokkaido is pretty bad as far as dedicated model railway shops (in fact I think there are none, or of any consequence). I do my shopping by internet, or visit the shops in Tokyo/Yokohama/Kansai when I'm down there.

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Kabutoni
There are none.  Just Bic Camera and Yodobashi for general hobby supplies, plastic kits and some n scale. The last nice hobby shop in the city center went belly up several years ago.  Hokkaido is pretty bad as far as dedicated model railway shops (in fact I think there are none, or of any consequence). I do my shopping by internet, or visit the shops in Tokyo/Yokohama/Kansai when I'm down there.

 

Ouch... That's kind of unexpected. I feel for you man!

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bikkuri bahn
Ouch... That's kind of unexpected. I feel for you man!

Hokkaido doesn't have the population base to support a full fledged model railway shop (in fact there are fewer railfans too, which can partly be attributed to the lack of private railways and dense networks, in addition to the low population). Also, given the isolation of this island and expense of getting here, you don't have customers coming from neighboring prefectures to shop (as you might in a place like Fukuoka). The rise of the internet and the arrival of the big-box electronics chains with hobby sections pretty much killed off the weaker retail shops, and those chain stores satisfy the needs of casual modelers (90% of the hobby community).  Hard-core hobbyists just order on-line, as they pretty much know what they need/want.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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Kabutoni

Sounds fair enough, but still. Pretty sad anyway, especially when considering the tram networks in the Sapporo and Hakodate. Railroading is still a niche, even for a country like Japan. Sometimes, in Europe it seems a bigger thing, considering how relatively small the model train hobby shows here are.

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bikkuri bahn

Actually, there are more railfans in Japan than in any other country.  Of course, that includes many casual ones that may only buy the occasional Tetsudo Fan magazine or ride behind a steam locomotive at Chichibu, etc. You must not discount the fact that many people just don't have the space in their homes to have a permanent model rlwy layout, and that having shows and public exhibitions is expensive (2000 yen entrance fee for the JAM convention- I'd rather ride trains with a 2000 yen charge on my Suica!) But still, the number of model railway enthusiasts in Japan probably is greater than the total number in all of Asia and Oceania combined- just look at the relative size of the industry.

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Kabutoni

Sure, I know that this is the largest model train industry in the world (maybe even bigger than the whole world, except Japan, combined) and railfans have been around since dirt (read: trains) in Japanland. However, from my experience (that's why I wrote: "it seems like"), model train shows in Europe (e.g. Eurospoor, Modellbahn Messe Köln) tend to be much bigger in size than, let's say, the JAM. An entrance fee of 2000¥ is pretty reasonable IMO, since it's around the same price as big shows in the Netherlands.

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cteno4

would really be interesting to get worldwide numbers on hobbyists and money in model trains. Bill had dug up some numbers suggesting hobbyists in many millions, suggesting more in japan than the rest of the world combined. 

 

money might be able to be found. i know bill once found tomix, kato and i think microace revenues. compare then to atlas, bachmann, ect for the rest of the world. i think kato non japanese is at most 20% of their total by design.

 

shows here for the small to medium are usually attendance of 2000-8000 and $5-10 for dealer and layout viewing. The big conventions usually are much more at $50-100 for convention fee for everything or they usually have just a day pass for dealer and layout halls for the public at around $10. shows here are having a tougher and tougher time keeping going. dealer tables pay for a good chunk of the costs and the cost of travel has really gone up (long distances to go here in the us between shows) as well as the internet biting into their sales at shows. with fewer vendors there is less for the public to come for. layouts are nice but the show has to pay some for them to attend and lots of free passes to layout members.

 

local hobby shops are really going poof. ones that are left are much more on r/c stuff and maybe some token trains. few of the bigger train shops seem to be hanging in there that have successfully set up large internet businesses that let them get the volume to maintain a shop with some discount on the shelf items and pay the rent. but even these are moving to the burbs or warehouses as retail space costs have soared on them in the last decade or so. mb kleins (modeltrainstuff.com) moved way outside baltimore more of a warehouse space. its kind of in the middle of nowhere now, but luckily a mile from the biggest 4x/year train show in the area...

 

cheers

 

jeff

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nscalestation

It's been years ago but there was a well stocked model railroad area in one of the large department stores near Sapporo station.  I only found it by accident while going up the escalator but ended buying several items there.  I think the store might have been Sogo ?  but not sure.

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bikkuri bahn
It's been years ago but there was a well stocked model railroad area in one of the large department stores near Sapporo station.  I only found it by accident while going up the escalator but ended buying several items there.  I think the store might have been Sogo ?  but not sure.

Yup, that was years ago (more than 10+). I remember that place, they had a HO Kato D51 in stock.  Boy, do I wish I had bought that one then... Sogo is long gone, and that floor is full of clothing stores, or perhaps it's the one with a game arcade...

 

 

However, from my experience (that's why I wrote: "it seems like"), model train shows in Europe (e.g. Eurospoor, Modellbahn Messe Köln) tend to be much bigger in size than, let's say, the JAM.

It helps that Europe is a tangle of interconnected nations with high incomes and a tradition of pursuing esoteric hobbies.  Japan is a nation of islands adjacent to nations (save perhaps Taiwan) where railways as a hobby don't really attract interest from the native population and/or buying model railways are beyond the means of most.

 

 

An entrance fee of 2000¥ is pretty reasonable IMO

It used to be 1500 yen, and free before that :sad: I was planning to go,but only if the weather was bad.  Given my limited time in Kanto, I figured I'd get better cost performance out of riding trains than seeing dozens of temporary loop layouts, though I would have liked to see the 1/80 9mm narrow gauge modular layout, if it was there.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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Kabutoni
It helps that Europe is a tangle of interconnected nations with high incomes and a tradition of pursuing esoteric hobbies.  Japan is a nation of islands adjacent to nations (save perhaps Taiwan) where railways as a hobby don't really attract interest from the native population and/or buying model railways are beyond the means of most.

 

It helps only a little, since all nations speak a different language, it results in difficulty in communication and thus a lesser interest in joining shows in even neighbouring countries. Language/communication is a BIG issue (I have the 'luck' to speak four languages). Japan also has a long history in pursuing esoteric hobbies and interests in the strange, so that's a bit of a moot argument.

 

From what I can tell, the space factor is the biggest restriction to big shows. It kind of speaks for its own... No space of funds for a space to make a big club layout that is modular and movable. That might explain the popularity of T-Trak, since it takes up little space. Also, rental layouts are therefore popular, since only shops have space available for layouts of a respectable size for running full-size trains.

 

Then again, I haven't taken a look around for local clubs though... I doubt here is one around because of the rental layout in TamTam Sagamihara and Minamo in Machida.

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beakaboy

sorry to butt in, but its very interesting! I am intrigued that HO is becoming so popular now in Japan and more manufacturers are producing it, if space is still an issue!  Do modellers run their HO at a local club  or is a lot of the HO being sold outside Japan? John

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bikkuri bahn
sorry to butt in, but its very interesting! I am intrigued that HO is becoming so popular now in Japan and more manufacturers are producing it, if space is still an issue!  Do modellers run their HO at a local club  or is a lot of the HO being sold outside Japan? John

I don't think most dabbling in HO will ever have a permanent layout- just a temporary setup on a tatami mat at most.  Unfortunately, the concept of limited space modeling in HO has not caught on in Japan, like the excellent examples seen in the UK for many years up to now.  This conversation has been done before, but in Japan there is still the thinking that operating model rr layout= tailchaser layout.  I don't know if HO scale is becoming more popular here- certainly the manufacturers would like it to be.  Perhaps it appeals more to older customers, due to its larger size being easy to see, less "toylike" appearance, detail realism and prototype offerings that focus on the JNR era, which is enjoying a nostalgia boom. And those older customers have money to burn.  Thus you have people willing to blow 50000 yen on a steam locomotive (like, ah, me, though I'm not monied).  I don't think Japan outline HO is being sold much outside of Japan, except maybe to some of the forum members here :)

 

*re. Clubs- not many, once again the cost of renting space issue.  You have the rental shops, but it seems most focus on the big market of N scale.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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bikkuri bahn
. Japan also has a long history in pursuing esoteric hobbies and interests in the strange,

Yes, surely, but do those other Asian countries do?  The market is much bigger in Europe, when you have more modelers sharing their love of miniature trains, despite language differences.  Europe is much more culturally unified than Asia will ever be.

 

Anyway, too much rambling from me (summary- railfanning very big in Japan, model rlwys- not as big, but biggest in Asia)... I hope shashinka got his answer- i.e. better do your shopping in Tokyo, and just ride and photograph the trains in Hokkaido.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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Kabutoni
Yes, surely, but do those other Asian countries do?  The market is much bigger in Europe, when you have more modelers sharing their love of miniature trains, despite language differences.  Europe is much more culturally unified than Asia will ever be.

 

True, Japan is an island nation, quite far away from other countries. Neighbouring nations don't really have the best of relationships on any level -well maybe only on a commercial pop-cultural level. Europe consists of the EU and allied nations with open borders, relatively small countries and easy transport networks. Yes, it makes it perfect for international shows and yes, language barriers within the same language groups (Indo-European: Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Slavic, etc.) are not so very hard to break.

 

It was just a big surprise for me to see shows/markets like the JAM and JNMA being so relatively small and relatively sparse compared to the global market share.

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bikkuri bahn

Another possible reason is I think model railways as a hobby is more of a solitary hobby in Japan than say, the US or Europe.  One thing is the space issue mentioned for clubs and exhibitions.  Also, people are busy with long work hours and limited vacation time, which cuts in on opportunities for organized social gatherings.  Of course, retirees have more time, and if they have income beyond their basic pension, the means to form/join clubs. It will be interesting to see how things develop in the future.

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Nick_Burman
It will be interesting to see how things develop in the future.

BB,

 

As far as HO is concerned, there seems to be a noticeable increase on the take up of the scale in Japan. The thermometer is the increase in the offer of stuff by several manufacturers - starter sets by Kato, buildings by Cosmic, Tramway and AClass freight and passenger equipment, even Arumo kits. I guess this is mainly to cater for an over-50 population who wants to remain in the hobby but whose eyesight isn't what it was. The same phenomenon is happening in the USA, where folks are graduating from HO and N to (less so) S and O scale because they can't see teeny-weeny bits any more, except that in Japan it's N to HO.

 

Cheers NB

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Guest ___

Well, I'm back, baby. And I can tell you they virtually nothing in Bic Camera, Yodobashi had a decent selection and a ton of TomyTec stuff. I also found a small hobby shop that had a decent selection in the Tanuki Square Shopping arcade located off of Sapporo-dori between Sapporo-dori and NORIA Ferris Wheel. they had a decent selection of HO stuff as well.

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wazzd

There is a large Poppondetta store in Sapporo that I visited last week, helpful staff and a  great selection of N scale including second hand...... and a layout that you can rent some time on to run your trains.

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EH500 (12)

Any chance to snatch some N gauge stuff from the local Bookoffs?

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Suica
39 minutes ago, EH500 (8) said:

Any chance to snatch some N gauge stuff from the local Bookoffs?

Sapporo actually has a really good Hardoff/Hobbyoff https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bookoff/@43.0715826,141.3657108,294m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!1m2!2m1!1shardoff+sapporo!3m4!1s0x5f0b296c5bd27de9:0xe8de33f9458aa353!8m2!3d43.0717847!4d141.365924?dcr=0

 

@wazzd I've been to the Sapporo Popondetta store in January but found it pretty weak as far as Popondettas go. The new stuff was kinda expensive and the used model selection wasn't even that big and generally more expensive than in other Popondetta stores as well.

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wazzd

Yes I found lots of N and some HO in the bookoff shops, even a Tenshodo HO C62....we visited them in every town we went too....my son was looking for retro games so they were on his list, the prices in Hokkaido were marginally better though, I didn't end up buying any trains but did get a couple of good books and magazines.

 

Edited by wazzd
bad grammar! lol

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