18th August 2016.
Nakano Broadway is a massive multi-levelled labyrinth filled with plentiful stores selling anime and manga-related goods from new to the very old – situated in Nakano which is a few stops away from Shinjuku on the Chuo Line. While Akihabara is the place to go to bag the latest and greatest in otaku-related merch, Nakano Broadway can be regarded as the archival haven of such surplus of goods. Hearing many cool and fascinating stories from people going to Nakano Broadway it was a given for us to spend a day out there to see what the fuss was all about.
Warning: This post contains a couple of NSFW photos. Just scroll past them quickly if someone is behind you.
As the shopping mall is dominated by dozens of Mandarake stores people also come in to sell off their otaku-related goods (some even with bounties) because you can only fit so much in your average Japanese apartment so Nakano Broadway will always be replenished with new (old) stuff.
From the endless aisles of ancient issues of Shonen Jump magazine to never-ending rows of obscure vintage manga you’ve probably never heard of – Nakano Broadway can also be touted as a museum of sorts for the culture of anime and manga displaying products and items from eras past that you can theoretically buy, that is if you’re willing to pay up the seven figure price tags.
After a 40 minute train ride from Sumida we arrived in glorious Nakano!
Before we headed into Nakano Broadway we took advantage of the dull cloudy morning and went on a casual walk around the residential vicinity.
There was construction taking place on this street that had a prohibited Pokémon GO sign so naturally I did what I had to do (Japanese police please do not sue me).
I really appreciate the way Japan neatly stacks and wraps their rubbish away making them look highly presentable on the streets as they don’t have general trash collection bins. And yes I unironically took photos of someone’s trash.
After our dilly dallying we entered the shopping arcade which will take us through to the entrance for Nakano Broadway!
Was feeling a little peckish so I picked up this Mini Snack Gold Pastry and some Gatsby facial wipes. These wipes are so extremely minty on your face.
One of the first things we saw upon inside Nakano Broadway was an arcade on the left as you walked in. Doge was still going strong in Japan.
Gave into the Vocaloid overlords and played a sesh of Project DIVA Arcade. Didn’t want to make a fool of myself so I played on Standard.
Tried out Skal for the first time! I’ve never seen Skal being sold in combinis or supermarkets until I first saw it at this vending machine in Nakano Broadway (in a somewhat tiny bottle). I was really excited to see how good this drink was after seeing it used as the drink icon in Robotics;Notes as Dr Pepper was for Steins;Gate.
It turns out Skal is nothing more than a carbonated milk drink similar to Calpis…
The most strangest experience I had at Nakano Broadway was seeing this crossdressed Hayate (Hermione) figure – the only figure product in a glass display cabinet with what seems to be gravure idol telephone cards in what looks to be a collectable phone card shop.
For some reason the phone cards themselves are ridiculously priced up to an exorbitant £5000 and to this day I have absolutely no idea why. The Hayate figure was surprisingly cheap at 500 yen in contrast which was an automatic and mandated buy for me regardless to how I was going to pack it in my luggage.
Nakano Broadways has a general no photos policy meaning it was difficult for me to take any nicely framed shots with my loud DSLR shutter without a staffer coming over to delete the photo off my camera. It never happened but I assumed that would happen.
Nakano Broadway is essentially a glorified Mandarake department store with each aspect of its store is partitioned off into smaller stores. For example this Mandarake store was dedicated to collectible shikishis (signed boards), with dozens of others dedicated to artbooks, doujinshi, manga magazines and more.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed at how much stuff there is to see at Nakano Broadway, a day simply isn’t enough to fully cover everything the place has to offer.
I remember feeling so dizzy and overwhelmed coming to terms with the sheer amount of things I wanted to take time and explore. I was fawning over everything around me rather than taking photos most of the time. It became a matter of prioritising what interested you than being able to look at everything.
There were a bunch of retro arcades scattered sporadically across Nakano Broadway if you wanted some place to chill from the extreme window shopping. Loitered around here for a while watching this man play (strip?) mahjong against a 2000-era waifu.
There was a Mandarake shop dealing with sakuga in Nakano Broadway selling animation keyframes of anime from yesteryear to the most recent season! Much of the newer key animation sheets require you to bid as shown here with this Assassination Classroom and Seraph of the End genga. You can either bid in-store or online though it’s a tricky process for tourists due to how long some bids take place.
It was interesting to see the stage play book for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which had recently came out at the time release in the original English edition in Japan first while holding pre-orders for the Japanese translated edition coming out at a later date.
After a long day at Nakano Broadway covering and inspecting as much ground as we could, we met up with Otomega in the evening who took us on a grand walk over to Nakai in Shinjuku where he was staying at during his time in Japan and have dinner.
We were planning to eat at this CoCo Curry House but unfortunately they were full.
We ended up eating at Hidekaya and had some delicious ramen and gyozas. The menus had *some* English and you were given a bunch choices for your ramen, from the soup base to the firmness of the noodles.
We continued to walk around the Nakai vicinity to walk off our dinner before we called it another day.
Things I’ve picked up at Nakano Broadway! Mostly a bunch of Nisekoi volumes to finish off my collection with each volume costing as low as £1!
My treasured gem of the day goes to the Hayate figure I got from the random telephone card shop at the stupidly low price of 500 yen!
Also picked up this cute Umi nendoroid at Nakano Broadway as well for a good price!