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railsquid

Hobby/model shops in Tokyo's Ikebukuro area

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railsquid

I had some time to kill in Ikebukuro the other day so thought I'd check out any model railway vendors in the area. Not that I pass through there often, but always useful to know what's where.

 

First up was Popondetta in the Tobu department store on the west side of Ikebukuro station. 7th floor, zone 8 (8番地). Very small unpartitioned store section, doesn't even seem to be branded as Popondetta, more like Popondetta is running Tobu's model train section for them. Small range of the usual popular items, mainly Kato/Tomix, with some accessories. And eye-watering prices, they seem to be selling stuff very close to catalogue list price. I did end up buying a Tomytec building kit which I've been looking out for for a while (I think it's been discontinued), but other than that I don't see any reason to darken their aisles again (unless I find myself in the immediate vicinity with time to kill).

 

I then toddled off to Hobbyland Pochi on the east side of the station, which is on the 5th floor of a small commercial building. Even smaller than the Shinjuku branch; reasonable range of 2nd-hand stuff at what seem to be reasonable prices.  Didn't buy anything. The Ikebukuro branch of Hobbyland Pochi will close on July 28th 2015 and reopen on August 1st in Akihabara as the 3rd (!) Hobbyland Pochi store there.

 

On the way back towards the station I went past Labi (aka Yamada Denki) - not the large store opposite the station which used to be the Mitsukoshi Department store, but the "Mobile Dream Store" (モバイルドリーム館) which had an enticingly labelled "Hobby - For Mania" floor, albeit without any mention of model railways. And lo and behold, they had a whole aisle of the stuff at competitive prices (comparable to Yodobashi Camera). Fairly wide albeit dated selection, predictably dominated by Kato/Tomix, though they did have a random selection of Greenmax stuff at the aisle ends. Not so much in the way of accessories, apart from track. Annoyingly the prices are displayed excluding sales tax, but there is a 10% point rate on most stuff. As of April 2016 this store no longer has any model railway stuff.

 

Other stores I am aware of but didn't have time to visit:

 

- IMON

- Katsumi

- Modellbahn (seems to specialise in overseas import; website has some pages missing) Modellbahn has moved to a location close to Shibuya station

- Hobby Shop Toshima Kogei (somewhat further away from the station)

Edited by railsquid
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railsquid
On the way back towards the station I went past Labi (aka Yamada Denki) - not the large store opposite the station which used to be the Mitsukoshi Department store, but the "Mobile Dream Store" (モバイルドリーム館) which had an enticingly labelled "Hobby - For Mania" floor, albeit without any mention of model railways. And lo and behold, they had a whole aisle of the stuff at competitive prices (comparable to Yodobashi Camera). Fairly wide albeit dated selection, predictably dominated by Kato/Tomix, though they did have a random selection of Greenmax stuff at the aisle ends. Not so much in the way of accessories, apart from track. Annoyingly the prices are displayed excluding sales tax, but there is a 10% point rate on most stuff.

 

 

I remembered I actually bought something there, a small structural item from Kato which I'd never seen before and which looked a bit dated from the package design, and after opening it and taking a careful look at the instructions, the Kato Tokyo address still had the old-style 3-digit postal code. Which leads me to think they might have taken over Sakuraya's stock after it went bankrupt, and are keeping it on the shelves until it all goes. Which will take a good deal of time by the looks of things.

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railsquid

Lucky me, another trip through Ikebukuro so checked out the stores close to the west exit:

 

Other stores I am aware of but didn't have time to visit:

 

- IMON

 

Very close to the west exit, on the 5th floor of a commercial building with a small and slightly alarming elevator which would be tight with two people.

 

Nice, relatively spacious store with a reasonably wide selection at reasonable prices, including some scenic stuff which I haven't seen elsewhere. Also lots of parts/spares. No second hand stuff. Large rental layout.

 

- Katsumi

 

 

Basement of a building near the Metropolitan Theater. I didn't notice before, but Katsumi is HO only at eyewatering prices. Beautiful trains, but who has space to run them, let alone afford them? There's a large-ish exhibition layout behind glass.

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bikkuri bahn
- IMON

 

They have numerous stores in the greater Tokyo area. One of the places where I get HO scale stuff in Tokyo, when I can't go to Kansai (which IMO is better for HO).  Not the most attractively priced, but they have a point card system.  One store (Oimachi) is interesting in that you have to go through a men's clothing store in order to get to it (on the second floor after going up a flight of steps). Note that stores have different levels of stock coverage- for example, the Akihabara store doesn't carry HO.  Come to think of it, even the huge Yodobashi Akiba store has piss-poor HO stock- the equally big Yodobashi Umeda store is much better- perhaps because they have an aggressive hobby competitor in Joshin.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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railsquid

- Modellbahn (seems to specialise in overseas import; website has some pages missing)

 

Small shop tucked away on the 4th floor of a nondescript commercial building south of Ikebukuro station.

 

HO only; as the name suggests mainly European (nothing British), I think there was some N. American stuff too. New products only. I took a polite look around and left.

 

Edit: now moved to a location near Shibuya station.

Edited by railsquid

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JR 500系

I just read this off Hobbyland Pochi website:

 

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It seems they are re-open for business and there's a fair going on from 19th Sept to 21st Sept. Would be nice to check out it for those near the area ~~

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railsquid

No, that's the Shinjuku store's event only (previous events at the same location in Ikebukuro were a joint effort between the Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stores); it's held in a basement event space not far from the former Ikebukuro store.

 

I might go along anyway :).

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bikkuri bahn

Hmm, I'll be in Tokyo then, and I see they will have an HO "corner" with stuff gathered from all the nationwide Pochi stores. Though that may still amount to a hill of beans...

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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railsquid

If I recall correctly, the HO "corner" was more of an aisle and had quite a lot of stuff, though whether it was any good I can't say.

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bikkuri bahn

Unfortunately I can't make it to the first day.  Anything good will be snatched up then.  One thing I learned, if you see anything good in HO, buy it then and there.  Especially Kato goods vans like the black wamu 90000 (you can never have too many freight cars)- foolishly passed up buying at Yodobashi last month.  A couple days later, gone.  The other Kato like the E5 and blue train stuff, untouched....

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railsquid

Well, Ikebukuro's attractiveness as a model railway destination has taken another hit - the Yamada Denki store has been transformed into an outlet for the kind of stuff the tourist hordes from that big country on the mainland love to purchase en-masse, the small and lacklustre (but with some good prices on track and the occasional surprise bargain) model railway section has vanished into the retail ether.

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Space Beaver

Little update:

 

The Popondetta branch inside the Tobu department store closed about two months ago, and has apparently been replaced by a musical instrument shop. 

 

A pity as they seemed to stock nearly all available Tobu/Seibu/Chichibu models and had a 50¥ bargain bin full of useful old Tomix stuff.

 

Though on reflection its not terribly surprising it closed. On weekends it was crammed with families with children gazing into the very low down display cases but seemingly nobody buying anything.

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railsquid

That leaves (AFAIK) IMON and KTM in the immediate Ikebukuro area.

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