Tokyo Days 14 - The (Disappointing) Hakuhinkan Toy Store

Initially, I had planned to do a coverage of my of Japan's largest toy store, Hakuhinkan Toy Store. But, things quickly took a turn for the worse the moment I arrived at the store. Arriving at the store, which is an approximately 5 minute walk from the JR Shinbashi Station, I was greeted with a huge crowd of tourist from China gathered outside the entrance. I chose not to think too much of it and made my way into the store, telling myself I could always get a shot of the entrance later on my way out.

Upon entering the store, you are immediately greeted with a large selection of Gunpla. Initial impressions were good then as I approached one of these kits for further inspection. That is where things just went downhill, where I immediately noticed the prices charged were higher than retail! Immediately, I put down my camera and halted all further intentions of photographing the store. My worst fears then, had come true. This place was indeed a tourist trap and that was evident from the customer base who were largely visiting tourists. Floor by floor, section by section, everything was sold at a marked up price. Even the Ichiban Kuji lottery tickets were sold at a premium! Unfortunately, many tourists did not know better and went on purchasing anyway. This left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth as Japanese retailers for the most parts were known for offering prices well below retail. Selling at retail is one thing but, above it? I just could not agree with such practices and after a quick browse of the store's 4 floors of various genre of toys, I left sooner than I had arrived.

In a nutshell, the Hakuhinkan Toy Store was merely a tourist trap aiming to capitalize on foreigners who did not know better. For the initiated, it may be a decent place to browse the wide selection of toys available especially considering the size of the shop. Otherwise, the place offers little value else. Instead, allow me to share with you a picture of this corn snack I had today. A very popular snack among both the young and old, this relatively inexpensive snack does not just offer better value but, also a more accurate taste of true-Japan. Fortunately, tomorrow I am off to visit Mulan in Akiba and that should be something worth looking out for. Until then, thanks so much for reading and have a great day ahead!


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