Text and images by JAYVEE FERNANDEZ
Located at Shibuya Parco, Tokyo’s first Nintendo Store is the wet dream for new and old fans of Nintendo’s favorite video game icons.
As a cookie cutter child of the ‘80s who spent his childhood alongside the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System, I was thrilled to have scheduled a trip to Tokyo a month after the grand opening of the Nintendo Store in Tokyo. As I was on schedule for a business trip, I only had one afternoon to make my way into Nintendo mecca with the 10 year old me feeling giddy and excited.
Shibuya Parco is a fashion and lifestyle mall located on the elevated side of Shibuya, roughly a seven-minute walk from the train station. I was expecting to see signs and ornamentals of Nintendo characters outside the mall, but alas if you didn’t know what you were looking for, the mall looked pretty much like any cookie-cutter lifestyle mall in Tokyo. That is, until you make your way to the sixth floor.
Not only is the sixth floor the Nintendo Store, it is also the location of the Shibuya Pokemon Center, the Shonen Jump Store (Dragon Ball Z and One Piece!) and the Official Capcom Store (Street Fighter! Monster Hunter! Resident Evil!). Expect to spend more than three hours on this floor alone.
It’s important to note that only the Nintendo Store had a line. That is after a month of operations. On a weekday. At 2 p.m.
The line extended from the sixth floor all the way to the fourth. But thanks to Japanese discipline and orderliness, ushers gave surprisingly accurate waiting times. My two-floor down wait in the stairwell took about 30 minutes. Again, I hate lines, but that was the one day I was free to go so I bit the bullet—bill!—and waited. Surprisingly it wasn’t as grueling as I expected it to be.
Once I got in, I was able to discern distinct zones for the store, each dedicated to one franchise. If I were to imagine it top view, you would have Kirby and Animal Crossing in one area, Splatoon left of center, Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda front and center (of course!) and a little bit of Pokemon at the back. Note that if you’re looking forward to Pokemon merchandise at the Nintendo Store, there isn’t a lot, only because right behind the Nintendo Store is the Pokemon Center, with a huge Mewtwo hibernating in a vat of liquid, just like in the show.
The Japanese seem to have a pretty standard set of merchandising in almost all of these souvenir shops—the essentials are always bag tags, stickers, clear folders, pens, notebooks, and plushies.
Each section had its share of highlights.
The Legend of Zelda merch seemed to be geared toward older fans with amazing leather bags, luggage tags, neckties, whiskey glasses, and Triforce pens as the main showcase.
The Kirby section was easily the most adorable, with keychains, clear folders, gacha packs of “Kirby’s Happy Room,” and plushies.
Super Mario was rather ubiquitous with 8-bit and cartoon versions of the Italian plumber in different suites from Super Mario 3 (and up) adorning dinnerware, notebooks, folders, pens, erasers, and bags.
The Splatoon area was clearly geared toward tweens and shredders with skateboards and tees as the main highlight.
Here’s a quick souvenir guide.
In terms of price, the clear folders were the most affordable and memorable souvenirs you could buy, ranging from ¥350 to ¥400 (P125 to P200) depending on the design. The Zelda bags, sweaters, and ties are on the more expensive side at about ¥10,000 (about P4,700). A small bottle of erasers featuring Nintendo characters and icons will set you back ¥200 (P100), which is really cool since you get to pack it yourself. The highly coveted Nintendo Store Tokyo tee is available in gray and red and will set you back ¥4,000 Yen (P2,000)—a bit pricey but it’s the one shirt you absolutely should get.