Many people know the major neighborhoods of Tokyo, Shibuya for trends, Harajuku for youth culture, Shinjuku for nightlife, Odaiba for dating, Akihabara for otaku and so on. But there are plenty of less visited areas that offer as much travel entertainment if not more!
Head towards Nakano Sun Mall to reach Nakano Broadway
So I want to introduce Nakano Broadway. Some of you may know it, and been there, it's in the travel guides but often just getting a paragraph or mention. It's further out of the tourist beaten path, but it can serve for a whole day's itinerary if you have interests that align with the shops within.
Now when I mention "collector" in the title of this post, I mean to say a collector that's more on the... nerdy side. I did see several antique shops in Nakano Broadway, but the majority of the shops are geared to anime, game, and toy otaku in some way. But I would hazard that most travelers to Japan will have some interest in these items or atleast curiosity.
Inside Nakano Broadway
Lots of figures for sale!
You will find tons of the general anime otaku shops, filled with figures, posters, goods etc. Porn shops, shops for idol goods, game arcades. But one of the most exciting things about Nakano Broadway is the vintage goods. Not only antiques, but vintage anime goods and toys (both western and Japanese) If there is something old/out of print you are searching for, perhaps you can find it here.
A variety of vintage items (oh those Sailor Moon masks XD)
A school uniform shop, wanna dress up like a student? XD
For me the stores with western vintage toys were especially interesting, spotting things that I hadn't seen for a long time. Of course I can find any of those old toys much cheaper here in the states, but for collectors located in Japan it could be a good option. But Nakano Broadway isn't just about old toys, you can find lots of shops offering sought after current toys like Duffy or UFO catcher prizes!
All sorts of limited run Duffys!
The nerdy offerings extend to some Super Dollfie and fashion doll shops and cosplay shops too. I looked around a cosplay shop a bit and costumes seemed to start around 20,000 yen with very good quality. Between the anime goods, vintage toys, antiques, and collector items of all sorts you can certainly spend a day exploring the 4 floors of Nakano Broadway.
Vintage dolls from America
AKB48 gacha machine
After you exit the Nakano Station (directions at the end of the post) you will see the Nakano Sun Mall, a covered shopping lane leading up to Nakano Broadway. Nakano Sun Mall is lined with discount shops, drugstores, fastfood joints and arcades so you can also find alot to do there. Nakano Broadway was built in 1966 and it really looks it! The walls are aged and the ceilings rather low.
I had often thought of going to Nakano Broadway, but never got around to it as I figured Akihabara could take care of the nerd end of my travelog. But Nakano Broadway proved to be a great point of interest, it had a lot more things that I could find interesting (not just nude anime figures haha) and it was all condensed into a mall which is especially great during bad weather.
From Shinjuku Station get on the JR Chuo line. After you reach Nakano Station exit on the North side to reach Nakano Sun Mall and Nakano Broadway. Its a very short walk.
You can also use the Tozai subway line to reach Nakano Station, which is the terminus.