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Doraemon Future Department Store1/5
Photo: ©Fujiko-ProDoraemon Future Department Store
Shibuya Parco - Pokemon Center2/5
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaPokémon Center
Nintendo Tokyo3/5
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaNintendo Tokyo
Line Friends Harajuku4/5
Photo: LineLine Friends Harajuku
Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa5/5
Photo: Sanrio Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa

Best character shops in Tokyo

Crazy over Mario, Pokemon or Hello Kitty? Get your favourite cartoon characters into your life at these speciality stores

By Kaila Imada
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Many characters from Japanese manga, anime and video games have gotten so big that they command a cult following, with speciality stores selling their very own branded merchandise. And it's no surprise that you'll find a variety of these stores in Tokyo as many of the characters and franchises have roots right here in Japan. 

These shops don't just offer character merchandise though – many of them are designed to create an immersive experience, with games, photo corners and personalisation services such as name engraving. From Pokémon and Nintendo to Hello Kitty and Studio Ghibli characters, these stores will unite you with your favourite pop culture personalities. 

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Fan favourites

Pokémon Center Shibuya
Pokémon Center Shibuya
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Pokémon Center Shibuya

Shopping Shibuya

Right across from Nintendo Tokyo, the new Pokémon Center Shibuya looks like the futuristic lab of the game’s Professor Willow. At the entrance, you’ll be greeted by a life-sized Mewtwo hibernating in a water tank, before you venture into a massive retail space filled with all your favourite Pokémon characters in every imaginable form. Shop for Pokémon plushies, phone cases (with Swarovski crystals, no less), sheet masks, and keep an eye out for limited-edition designs only available in Japan, especially the Shibuya-exclusive Pokémon x Super Mario 8-Bit Scramble collaboration tees and backpacks. As a nod to Shibuya’s famous street culture, there’s also Pokémon skateboards and fashion.

Nintendo Tokyo
Nintendo Tokyo
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Nintendo Tokyo

Shopping Shibuya

Considering ‘Donkey Kong’ came out nearly 40 years ago, it’s about time Japan finally got its own official Nintendo store. Located on Shibuya Parco’s Cyberspace floor, which is dedicated to otaku geeks, this outlet has everything a Nintendo fanboy or girl could ever dream of. Aside from the latest and most popular games, Nintendo Tokyo also offers a selection of merchandise you cannot find anywhere else.

The home-quarantine era’s hit game ‘Animal Crossing’ has inspired loads of merch including tumblers, bento boxes and even pajamas. And you can only buy them here, along with clothing and everyday items featuring mustachioed mascot Mario, Princess Zelda, the aforementioned gorilla and other much-loved Nintendo characters. The gaming corner, meanwhile, is fitted with TVs and consoles for you to test out the latest titles.

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Doraemon Future Department Store
Doraemon Future Department Store
Photo: ©Fujiko-Pro

Doraemon Future Department Store

Kids Odaiba

Manga series Doraemon has finally opened its very first official store in Tokyo. While there’s no shortage of mugs, bags, cookies and other merchandise emblazoned with the famous blue cat-robot, this is more than just another souvenir shop.

For one, you’ll find a play area hidden behind the anime’s iconic Anywhere Door, filled with Doraemon’s gadgets. Then there’s also a ‘post office’, where you can send a Doraemon postcard right on the spot.

Don’t miss the massive Doraemon Time Square installation outside at the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza mall entrance, where you can enjoy tunes from the anime played at the top of every hour. Two Doraemon-themed benches complete the elaborate set-up for the cutest photo-ops.

Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa
Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa
Photo: Sanrio

Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa

Shopping Asakusa

You can’t miss this Sanrio store with its facade of a giant Hello Kitty holding a red apple that forms the entrance. Inside you’ll find a host of Sanrio characters from the aforementioned kitty to Cinnamoroll, Gudetama, My Melody and others, available in all shapes and forms including plush dolls, apparel, suitcases and gift-ready snacks and sweets known as omiyage.

Since the store is located in Tokyo’s historical Asakusa neighbourhood, just around the corner from Sensoji Temple, the shop offers several unique items made in collaboration with local artisans, such as bags from Inujirushi Kaban, a long- established Japanese label known for its rugged canvas bags.

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GBL Miyashita Park
GBL Miyashita Park
Photo: GBL

GBL Miyashita Park

Shopping Shibuya

Love Studio Ghibli films? Now you can shop for the merchandise. Located inside the brand-new Miyashita Park shopping centre in Shibuya, GBL offers a wide range of American casual apparel and accessories featuring characters from the animation studio’s iconic films. The selection is aimed at adults, so expect stylish streetwear including T-shirts and jackets as well as cool accessories like skateboards and L.L. Bean tote bags. Don’t miss the seasonal offerings, which currently include a Hawaiian shirt and skirt collection inspired by ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘My Neighbor Totoro’.

Character Street Tokyo Station
Character Street Tokyo Station
Photo: Tokyo Station

Tokyo Character Street

Shopping Gifts and souvenirs Marunouchi

Don’t want to bounce around the city visiting each and every individual character shop? Just make your way to Tokyo Station as this landmark building houses an entire section dedicated to the country’s most popular characters from manga and anime.

This one-stop shopping destination offers an interesting, albeit somewhat overwhelming, crash course on the who’s who of Japanese manga and anime.There are more than 30 shops dedicated to household names such as Pokémon, Studio Ghibli, Doraemon, Rilakkuma, Crayon Shin-chan and Hello Kitty.There’s even a few stores dedicated to foreign imports that have made it here in Japan, such as the cute bunny Miffy, the Moomin family and, of course, Snoopy. Just make sure to set aside plenty of time as there is lots to get through.

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Line Friends Harajuku
Line Friends Harajuku
Photo: Line

Line Friends Harajuku

Shopping Harajuku

Line is undoubtedly the most popular messaging app in Japan – and for good reason. After all, who can resist the original characters and cutesy themes you can use to personalise every chat? The Line Friends store in Harajuku is like walking into an adorable digital universe. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by a supersized plush version of Brown the bear. The store stocks three floors of merchandise featuring exclusive characters you might recognise from Line's apps, stickers and emoji, as well as the entire lineup of BT21 characters – Line’s collaboration with K-pop sensation BTS.

More great Tokyo shops

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