Hey guys, due to technical difficulties it’s been a while since I updated, but I have a feature for you on the Nakano Broadway; a shopping center within walking distance of Yadoya Guesthouse.
*The entrance to the Broadway from the shopping arcade.*
Firstly, the Broadway and the shopping arcade preceding it is a great place for grocery shopping, with three supermarkets in its general vicinity. Notable is the basement, which heavily discounts its perishables after 6.00pm. General items normally found in convenience stores are cheaper here, too.
*A candy stop on the ground floor. Japanese candy makes for a great souvenier provided you don’t eat before you fly home!*
Of course, there are places to eat out as well, recommended for a quick meal are the coin-operated restaurants which will set you back around 500 yen. There is a shop in the basement that serves ice-cream, too. If you’re looking to eat while window shopping, I would recommend the tempura restaurant on the second floor for its authenticity. Clothes shopping here is limited when compared to Shibuya or Harajuku, but there are some novel places tucked away.
*Places like this are a common sight*
The main attraction of the broadway however are the multitude of stores in its three upper levels selling manga and anime related merchandise, music and electronics akin to Akihabara (maid cafe included), but gernally more affordable. For those who are interested in Japanese popular culture (such as myself), this is a treasure trove of rare finds due to its large number of second hand stores.
My personal vavourite is the used video game shop Mandrake Galaxy on the second floor, featuring games primarily from the 80s-90s. Prices here are arond a third lower than in in Akihabara, so if you’re a nostalgia junkie looking to pick up a Famicon this would be the place to do it.
*More… obscure titles are astronomically priced*
With regards to otaku culture, the upper floors of Broadway sell a myriad of anime themed figurines, as well as collectible trading cards and old promotional posters. Perhaps most interestingly there are shops selling original animation cells, with those from popular anime such as Ghibli films fetching very high prices.
*From the Miyazaki film “Princess Mononoke”
There is also a large book store on the second floor, with a large selection of manga. Interestingly, there are some bilingual comics that are printed with both Japanese and English on the pages.
*They still have bookstores in Japan despite the number of people reading the books on display for free.*
As for music, there are huge collections of second hand CD, vinyl and even tapes for J-pop artists as well as other idol related memorabilia. At the time of my visit the New Year’s sales were in full force, and obsessive fans could be seen clamoring to spend their gift-money on their favourite pop-stars.
The video game arcades on the ground floor, which include the hugely popular “UFO” style crane games may be worth a peek if you don’t feel too intimidated. The infamous pachinko parlous can be sought out by their sound alone.
*Arcades are very popular in Japan, populated by all sorts from teenaged girls to senior salarymen looking to blow off steam*
If you have even a mild interest in Japanese popular culture then it’s worth your time to check out the Broadway. Somehow, it has a more authentic feel to it than Akihabara, and is much more affordable. As well as this it functions as a great place for eating out and grocery shopping if you are on a budget. Make sure to visit the Broadway and the shopping arcade preceeding it if you are staying in Nakano or just passing through!
You’ll hear from me soon, thanks for reading.