Visiting Every Mandarake

Hello everyone and welcome back to Tiro Finale! For those of you who follow the blog, you would probably know that I am a big fan of Mandarake. The hobby store not only served as the foundation of my hobby at the beginning but, till today, serves as one of my few go-to places for finding rare and otherwise unattainable merchandise. While I have shopped from every Mandarake store online, the same cannot be said about visiting their actual brick-and-mortar stores in Japan. Of which, they actually have quite a few off.

Starting off as a used-manga store in Nakano Broadway back in 1987, Mandarake has since grown to huge global proportions with an international online operations together with a nationwide regional platform of physical stores. In total, Mandarake has 11 physical stores and a storage warehouse. These include stores in:
  1. Nakano 
  2. Akihabara (Complex) 
  3. Shibuya
  4. Ikebukuro 
  5. Utsunomiya
  6. Sapporo
  7. Nagoya
  8. Umeda
  9. Grand Chaos
  10. Fukuoka
  11. Kokura
  12. Sahra (Warehouse)
The stores written in red are all those that I have the opportunity to visit in the past. Some of them several times, most noticeable Mandarake Nakano and Akihabara. But, outside of Tokyo, the only other Mandarake I have ever visited is Sapporo's. With opportunity presenting itself, I was now faced with the big question, would i be able to visit every Mandarake store in Japan?

Mandarake Sahra
First up, we have Mandarake's dedicated Sahra warehouse where many of their overstocked goods in the physical stores go to. If you are a frequent customer of Mandarake, you would realize that only the Sahra store is able to give you each individual item's weight and, therefore, immediate shipping estimates. That is because all stock that goes into the Sahra warehouse is catalogued and tagged before storage. When they need to be collected (to fulfill a customer's purchase), the staff members know exactly where the item is. 

Sounds cool right? There is only one catch, these sort of operations work only on an industrial level and not so much on a consumer basis. As such, you may actually physically pay a visit to the Sahra warehouse but, you cannot actually purchase anything from the store. This means, Mandrake Sahra is a no go. On a side note, getting there is also really difficult if all you have to rely on is public transport.

Mandarake Ikebukuro
Mandarake Ikebukuro is special. Just like the area it is located in, Mandarake Ikebukuro focuses on "women's manga and dojinshi like boys love, etc". Mandarake even went on to add that it was a "great place for all fans". While I am certainly glad such dedicated hobby stores exist, I personally am in in no rush to visit this particular store. 

Mandarake Utsunomiya
The next store starts to pull us a little further away from Tokyo but, still within the Kanto region. Mandarake Utsunomiya, as its namesake, is located in the city of Utsunomiya in the Tochigi prefecture. Utusnomiya is a 50 minute shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo city which costs 10,000 Yen for a return trip. Seeing as Utsunomiya is near the historic city of Nikko, I might just pay a visit to the city one day.

Mandarake Nagoya
Now, things begin to go much further as we move down South towards the Aichi prefecture for Mandarake Nagoya. I had contemplated visiting Nagoya in the past especially since inexpensive midnight bus trips existed. I am certainly looking forward to visiting this part soon. 

Mandarake Umeda
Despite having visited Osaka before, I never had the chance/time to visit Mandarake Umeda. Maybe on my next visit to the Kanto region, it would be wise not to miss out on this. 

Mandarake Grand Chaos
Not too far from the Umeda store is Mandarake Grand Chaos which is also located in Osaka. If you are ever in the Kanto region, it would be wise to pay both these stores a visit. Lest you make the same mistake as I did back when. 

Mandarake Fukuoka
Now, here is where things start to move pretty far away from Tokyo as we move to the two south-most Mandrake stores in Japan which are located in the Fukuoka prefecture. The closest station to Fukuoka is a 6 hour train ride from Tokyo! At this point, it would be more efficient to fly there. 

Mandarake Kokura
While Mandarake Kokura may be located in the Fukuoka prefecture, it is still a 45 minute train ride away and that is via shinkansen. As such, visiting the two just because you happened to be in the area would be a bit of stretch too. 

At the end of the day, the goal of visiting every Mandarake is indeed a cross-country effort and that is before we even factor the really fringe store like the one in Sapporo. With a nationwide distribution in every major city in Japan, visiting every physical store is a rather difficult challenge even for a local. To go out of your way to visit every single one, that would be equally unrealistic too. 

That said, I still do intend to add a few more ticks to my list of stores visited and you can be sure to find out all about it first here on Tiro Finale. Until then, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!

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