Nipponbashi – Gamer’s Heaven

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

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Picture a Winter’s morning in Japan. You’ve decided to go to Nipponbashi with your friend, who has told you to bring your money as you’ll find everything you’ve ever wanted. At first I didn’t quite believe my friend, Nick, when he told me he managed to find everything on his wishlist the first time he went. I mean, at home, when we write a wishlist for video games we spend what could be years just finding those games; that’s not even considering how costly some titles would be, like Mother 1 + 2.

But on a Sunday in Winter, I too was able to find my heart’s desire in Nipponbashi, from original NES games to Xbox 360 games. It was just endless rows of Japanese games in all these stores. The shelves were fully stocked with games; rows upon rows on the shelves. The stores were packed with Japanese locals looking for new games, and foreigners looking for those games they just could never get their hands on at home. In short, it was a gamer’s paradise.


Nipponbashi is much like Akihabara; just the one street containing a lot of shops. The difference between Akihabara and Nipponbashi is that Akihabara is a much wider street and is more colourful because of the anime and manga stores that dominate it. Nipponbashi, on the other hand, is more electrical and gaming-based. But be careful, as a long entrance or plastic hanging from the entrance of a store means it is likely an 18+ store, if you get what I mean.

Both Akihabara and Nipponbashi attract cosplayers as well, but you’re more likely to see them in the warmer months as Winter gets too chilly for them. Both streets have maid cafes though, so don’t worry if you made the trip and think you’re missing out on the girls. Nipponbashi also has toy stores like KiddyLand that feature Pokémon figurines and puzzles on the first floor. But as you climb the levels of the store, they slowly change into model cars, ships and trains. Seriously, this store was not just made for the kids; anyone with a passion for model cars, ships and trains would have had a ball in here.

There were also a few anime and video game merchandise shops, where I was able to indulge in some Monster Hunter goodies. They even had Gundam mecha replicas for those enthusiastic fans out there! You’ll definitely find something you like or love in Nipponbashi. I’d say with confidence that you wouldn’t go home without seeing something you liked, if you didn’t already have it.

Head over to the next page to check out my loot!

About Jodie Langford

Jodie joined the Oprainfall Staff as a translator during the winter of 2012. If you see an article on the website with an entirely Japanese source, odds are she’s had a hand in bringing the information to you! She enjoys most RPGs, especially Monster Hunter and Pokemon.

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  • So jealous! Going there would be amazing! There are so many Japanese Final Fantasy consoles and games I want to get my hands on but can’t afford a trip to Japan at the moment 🙁

  • I’ve actually been here and it really is the most exciting place to shop for video games. I purchased a Super Famicom Wii controller here along with Mother 3. I wish I had more money during my visit I would’ve loved to have bought Mother 1 for the original Famicom.

  • Vinicius

    That’s not heaven, thats hell. You havew to sell your house, car and wife to afford everithing you want from there.

  • Great store migth have to go agine my self… if i can pull the chance to with work

  • I just got back from Japan not long ago myself… and kinda went nuts in Akihabara… I left for Japan with one suitcase, I came back with an extra bag.
    First: a piece of advice: ALWAYS write the japanese name of the game down. I was trying to get Valkyria Chronicles 3, which, unknown to me, is Senjo no Valkyria 3 in Japan… I couldn’t find it anywhere since they didn’t know what I was talking about.

    I wound up buying Ni No Kuni DS, Madoka Magica Portable, Never 7, Remember 11, Valkyria Chronicles 3, Clannad Memoria Edition, Persona Music Live, a huge Madoka Figurine, the Tales of Symphonia and The Last Story soundtracks, a Kingdom Hearts selection soundtrack, Key+Lia’s best soundtrack, Fiction II by Kajiura Yuki, the Japanese soundtrack of Wicked (hearing them try to pronounce some of the names is hilarious)… and for good measure, I won a Mami figurine out of a crane game.

  • Bob

    I’m thinking about getting a Japanese 3DS when I take a trip to Japan later. Anyone have any tips?

    • Jodie Langford

      Hi Bob,
      It would depend on whether or not you want a Brand new 3DS or a 2nd hand one. In my case I bought the Monster Hunter Edition one because I love monster hunter, though originally I was going to buy a brand new 3DS XL. From there, if your going for a second hand one I would go with a store like SEO. The sold me my 3DS for a good deal (this was on level 2) and I was able to haggle the price down. Of course if you are going for a brand new one, you can find some stores selling it cheaper but the standard price at the moment is about 15,000円 for a 3DS and a 3DS XL is about 18,900円. If you go to big stores like Yodobashi or some of the electrical goods stores in Akihabara if your heading to Tokyo you’ll also be able to haggle if you want to. I’d trust areas like Nipponbashi, Akihabara and the big electrical stores like Yodabashi and Yamada Denki to give you a good quality item.

      The staff are generally nice as well and will show you the item if you want to make sure. When I bought my 3DS the cashier showed me the wear and tear of the item (A really minor scratch) and made sure I understood. For 2nd hand items as well they will usually offer a 1 month

  • Why can’t more places like this this exist in the United States? Most Japanese games here are either “get new and get fast” or “buy at three times the first price on-line (plus shipping and the works).”

    • Jared Cyhowski

      Actual stores in the United States import these items and need to pay for shipping costs. They also need to pay rent for their business, employees, etc. It’s a niche marketplace so they charge what they can. Remember that certain media costs more in Japan on average anyway.