No trip to Tokyo would be complete without trying to buy as much Otome merchandise as humanly possible. As many of you otome fans will know, it’s near impossible to get any really nice goods overseas, and when you can find them, they’re insanely overpriced. So while I had the chance, I figured I’d spend my life saving on enjoying the land of Otome. I hope you all enjoy this quick guide on places I visited, and where recommend checking out!
Shopping, Shopping and more Shopping!
Otome shopping in Tokyo can feel crazily overwhelming, there are so many things to pick and choose from. To make things a bit simpler, I’ll try to divide my shopping into buying ‘new’ and ‘used’ goods. My first, and only stop, for brand new goods was at Animate. I talked about the Animate at Ikebukuro in a previous post, for Akihabara there are two stores, and both are quite small. However despite their sizes, like the Ikebukuro store, they’re pretty much floor to wall filled with merchandise. Animate sells a mixture of specialised character goods – for example you can buy badges or plushies of your favourite babe – and blind bags. Now blind bags area little tricky, you pick one at random and just have to hope your favourite is in there. Now I seem to have ok luck with them, and I enjoy the surprise, but it is kinda hard to justify spending 500 – 800 yen on essentially what is a lucky dip. So if you have a character in mind, where you can visit is some ‘used’ stores!
Now in Australia, ‘used’ or ‘second hand’ stores aren’t the greatest, the stuff is usually pretty gross. But in Tokyo buying items second hand is pretty much like buying it brand new, usually it still comes in its original wrapping/box and it’s always so clean! Better yet, you can buy second hand items are crazy prices. There are two companies of used goods that I recommend, the first is K-Books. In Ikebukuro, there’s the famed ‘Otome Road’, which is crazy hard to find. It’s essentially across from this park near sunshine city mall (if you see cats in the mark you’re in the right place!). The road has about 3(?) K-Books, all stocked to the brim with otome merch. There’s entire walls dedicated to Hakuoki and Code Realize. The best part? Most people actually sell the blind box prizes to K-Books if they don’t like the character/ got a duplicate. However, there is a catch! If you’re favourite babe happens to be very popular, you may end up paying for more. For example I found Frankenstein and Impey blind boxes for about 300 yen, down from 500 yen. However, for Van Helsing and Lupin, the price was often jacked up to maybe 700 or 900 yen.
My other top second hand shop is called ‘BookOff’. There’s one in Ikebukuro, but the best one is in the Shinjuku West Exit. This store sells both merchandise and games, whereas the Ikebukuro one just sells games. You can get some really crazy deals, like I bought a Tokiya figurine for 108 yen! Buying games brand new can be crazy expensive, at BookOff I bought the above 3 games for 9000 yen, about $30 per game – which is pretty decent price. Now I just gotta learn Japanese to be able to play them!
Purikura & VR Experiences!
Now usually purikura photos are meant to be done with friends, but I was travelling solo, and heck I wanted some nice pictures! That was when I discovered Puri Prince (although I’m sure there are many other types). It’s pretty much a photoshoot wth a 2D boy where you pretend you’re on a date together. After posing for the pictures you get to decorate them and if you decorate them enough you unlock a special picture of your babe. It’s super fun and cost only about 400 yen, and you get 2 sets of photos. I really enjoyed playing with it and didn’t feel awkward being solo at all!
Now, this was something I didn’t get a chance to try, but there seems to be a bunch of Otome VR Experiences. Most notably, in the Akihabara Sega Arcade VR zone, Voltage has introduced a wedding VR simulator with 3 of their top guys. Unfortunately when I went there was a bit of a line , and I was happy enough wth my purikura pictures. If you do decided to do the VR zone, it cost 800 yen for the experience and you can pay an extra 700 yen for a photography together and a marriage certificate!
Collaboration cafes seem to pop up everywhere, so don’t stress about researching before you visit Tokyo. I gotta admit, many of them are overpriced and the food doesn’t taste very good, but it’s the experience of stepping into a room completely decorated with your favourite series or game. Often you can also buy cafe exclusive goods such as acrylic stands or posters there as well. I found the above tweet’s cafe while wandering around Akihabra, there were also quite a few going on in Ikebukuro while I was there.
Overall, there’s lot of crazy and fun otome related things you can do while in Tokyo. If there are any events on they’ll mostly be centred around Akihabara or Ikebukuro, so keep a look out for posters advertising what’s going on. Most importantly with shopping, check out second hand stores first before you buy brand new and keep an eye on your wallet, it is so easy to go over budget. But most of all – have a lovely time! I hope you found this guide interesting, next week I’ll be posting another one on BL shopping in Tokyo!!