Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Extremely Long Rambling Guide for Buying 60cm Dolls and Accesories in Japan

Last Updated: 2020.06.27



Northern Japan

Full disclosure - I personally have not visited Sapporo. While I can point out certain stores in Sapporo, I don't have personal experience of having gone there so I can't make any suggestions or recommendations.

Sapporo
  • Volks [Tax Free 5000 JPY]
The store is on the B2 floor of a tall corner shopping mall. The tax free paperwork is handled in the building across the street.

Sendai
  • Volks  - The building you're looking for is "EBeanS". It's a very short walk from the Sendai train station.
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  • Gee! Store - It's a short walk from the EBeanS building.
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Utsunomiya

Utsunomiya is about an hour away from Tokyo via the Shinkansen. As for the stores, both Volks and Mandarake [Tax Free 5000 JPY] are located in the same building on different floors. The building you're looking for is the Festa building.
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Tokyo

Akihabara

Akihabara Radio Kaikan: Volks Dollpoint (8F) [Tax Free 5000 JPY], Azone Label Shop (7F), one of the DOLK (7F) stores, and Dolly Teria (5F) are all located in this building. The selection of dolls and related items will be limited but there's a Jungle (7F) store in the building as well. Amiami (4F) offers a selection of Azone, Obitsu, and Nendoroid dolls.
 
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Mandarake Complex: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] It's a tall building. The doll section is on the second floor.

Gee! Store: This store is a little hard to find but see the photo below so you'll know what to look for. The first floor of this building has nothing but Gachapons so you wouldn't think to look here for doll products. Just go in and there are both stairs and an elevator at the back end of the building. Go to the 4th floor to shop for doll products.
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DOLK: This location of DOLK is separated into two floors. You can't get to the second floor from the first. Finding the first floor of the store is the easy part. After you're done visiting the first floor, exit the store. Turn right and go forward. Turn right at the next corner. On your right, you'll see an entrance which will go upstairs. Go up the stairs to the second floor.
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From-SEN: This store is also in an easy to miss building. Find the place at the image below, and then go up the stairs. (Image stolen from here.)

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Once you're at the second floor, you'll be able to take the elevator. (If you want to burn the calories, you have the option to keep taking the stairs.) The store is on the 8th floor. Take the elevator to the 7th floor (because that's as high as it goes). Walk up a flight of stairs to the 8th floor to get to the store.


Dollce: While you can buy Dollce wigs from any of the Azone Label Shops, you can get them slightly cheaper if you buy direct. The thing to keep in mind is, hours are extremely limited. The store hours are Monday 17:00 - 20:00, Fri/Sat/Sun/Holidays 12:00 - 20:00.
 
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Nakano
 
The place to go is Nakano Broadway. Get off at the JR Nakano station and exit north. Keep going north until you see "NAKANO BROADWAY" in big, bold letters.
 
Once there, you'll notice there are something like 20+ Mandarake [Tax Free 5000 JPY] stores scattered throughout Nakano Broadway. The doll section is on the 4th floor.
 
The second store you'll want to go to is Parabox (3F). Just be careful about what day of the week you visit. Parabox is closed on Wednesdays. If you're paying by credit card, take 10% off the listed price tags. If you're paying by cash, take 15% off.
 
 
Gotanda
 
Mirai Store: [Tax Free 10000 JPY] The only place to go for Smart Dolls.
 
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Harajuku
 
Tenshi-no-Mado: "Window of an Angel", or "Angel's Window". (Google's translation is hilarious.) A Volks store which deals with nothing but Super Dollfies. This place also has a basement where welcoming ceremonies are performed.
 
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Ikebukuro
 
Dolly Teria/Closet Child: Dolls are located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Arcland Building.
 
Azone Label Shop Ikebukuro: Located on the 3rd floor of the Jouhoku Jidousha Kaikan building.
 
Mandarake La La La: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] There are now two Mandarake stores in the Ikebukuro area. If you're shopping for dolls, you want to go to the "La La La" store. The other location in Ikebukuro is "Nayuta". As of this writing, there are zero doll items in Nayuta.
 
 
Shinjuku
 
Dolly Teria Shinjuku: Located on the 6th floor of the Waseda ST Building.
 
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Shibuya
 
Mandarake Shibuya: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] Located two floors underground. Take the elevator down to 2BF.
 

Tokyo area (but not Tokyo proper)

Musashi-Kosugi
Parabox: This is a factory store and headquarters. You'll find a larger selection of Obitsu parts, Parabox original dolls, clothing, accessories, etc., than the Nakano Broadway location. The same rules apply - closed on Wednesdays, 10% off listed price when paying with a credit card, 15% off when paying by cash. As far as how to find the store is concerned, look for the Lawson store pictured at the Google Maps link. The entrance to Parabox is next to the Lawson store on the street level. Look for this entrance at the link. Go up the stairs.


Yokohama

Dolly Teria/Closet Child Yokohama: Located on the second floor of the Katsumi Building.
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Volks Yokohama Showroom: Located on the 9th floor of the Yokohama Vivre department store. Take the elevator up to the 8th floor (because that's as high as it goes). You'll see a flight of stairs and some signs for how to get to the 9th floor.
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Azone Factory Shop Shonan: (Southwest of Yokohama.) Once you're at the Shounandai train station, take the west exit and proceed to the bus stop. Take bus #34, get off at the Ishikawa (Fujisawa-shi) bus stop. Cross the street and walk a short distance to get to the store. The Ishikawa bus stop back to Shounandai Station will be almost directly in front of the factory store. There's one bus every 30-40 minutes, so plan your trip carefully. The same thing can be said for the ride back. Open M-F 10:00~19:00, closed on weekends and holidays.
If you're impatient with the frequency of bus #34, take bus #17 or #26, get off at Jushouji-mae, and then walk for about 7 minutes. If you're impatient with bus #34 for your trip back to Shounandai train station, go to the other Jushouji-mae bus stop on the opposite side of the street. Take bus #17 or #26 back to the train station. Buses #17 and #26 are very frequent. The advantage is this frequency. The disadvantage is the walking to and from the store.
 
Funabashi

Volks Lalaport Showroom: This Volks store is located in a large shopping mall (called Lalaport). There's a (tiny) shuttle bus which goes from the Minami-Funabashi train station to the mall but the hours are limited and it's slow. As long as you're not suffering from ambulophobia, it's better to walk there. Walking there has become easier compared to in the recent past because there's now a moving walkway.
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Take the west side exit of the Minami-Funabashi train station and head west. You'll be walking under a large bridge. You'll see an Ikea store to your left. Eventually, you'll see some stairs and an elevator to your right. Take the elevator unless you want to burn the calories. Take the elevator to the second floor. Once on the second floor, head north and then west. You'll reach the Lalaport entrance. Once there, consult the mall directory to find Volks. It's a large mall and the layout will take some time to get used to, so take photos of the directory for reference.
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Nagoya

DOLK and Azone Label Shop are in the same building on different floors.
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There's also Mandarake. [Tax Free 5000 JPY]

Yumemi-Tei: 50cm dolls, Pulips.

Gee! Store Nagoya
Volks Nagoya Showroom [Tax Free 5000 JPY]
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Osaka

DOLK: This is the DOLK headquarters store. The store is not located along the main road so you'll need to walk through one of the side streets to get here. You'll see which building it is. Once you do, use the entrance and there will immediately be a flight of stairs. Go to the third  floor.
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Volks Osaka Showroom: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] You can't miss it.
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Jungle: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] Not a large selection but still worth visiting.

Azone Label Shop Osaka: This store is located on the 4th floor of the Kotobukiya Building.
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Gee! Store Osaka

Mandarake Grandchaos: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] No matter which subway station you choose to get off at, you'll do some walking. I recommend getting off at Shinsaibashi station, and then walk south. If you'll look at the map, you might think other stations are closer to the store. The catch is, navigation will be much harder if you choose to get off at other stations.

Mandarake Umeda: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] While all the other stores in Osaka mentioned above are either clustered together or within a manageable walking distance from one another, you're not walking to Umeda. You'll need to take the subway. Get off at Umeda station. Once there, assuming you have a smart phone, use its navigation feature. Depending on which subway exit you use, navigation without a smartphone will range from difficult to impossible. Once you find the correct path, it's a straight line to the store. The problem is finding that correct path, so that's why I'm recommending smart phone navigation - ESPECIALLY if you can't read Japanese.
Cadre d'or: While this is more of a doll cafe than a store, I decided to include it here because I don't think there are enough doll cafes for me to make a doll cafe tourist guide. The web site says you can buy consignment doll items. However, the main draw is sitting down, enjoying a slice of cake with coffee/tea/whatever, taking photos of your dolls, and generally relaxing in the environment. You don't pay for the cake itself directly. You pay for the time you spend there. 1000 JPY for the first hour (1500 JPY on Sat/Sun/Holidays), 500 JPY for each additional hour, with a cap of 3500 JPY. Whatever the choice of your drink, you get unlimited refills. 1 slice of cake per visit. If you have a BJD with an elastic which need to be replaced *AND* if you pay for spending time at the cafe, you can take advantage of getting your doll re-strung for no additional fee. You'll have to bring your own replacement elastic, though.

Osaka area (but not in Osaka itself)

Kyoto

Tenshi-no-Sato, Kachuuan: The hours/days of operations are limited. If you insist on visiting, make sure the museum's schedule says it's open on the day you want to visit. There's a "for overseas customers" page at the Super Dollfie web site. Overseas visitors need to sign up for the VS/VIP membership and get the one-day pass.


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Volks Corporation corporate headquarters / Hobby Square Kyoto: In addition to the corporate offices, there's a diorama display on the first floor, a model train store also on the first floor, and all other Volks products on the second floor. It will be a slight letdown if you're only looking for doll products.
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Parabox Kyoto: Same rules as the Musashi-Kosugi and Nakano locations apply. Closed on Wednesdays, 10% off credit, 15% off cash. The entrance to this building ("Tohbeh") can be tricky to find so I posted some photos below. While they might look the same, they are from two different entrances of the same building. 
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Kobe

Volks Kobe Showroom: This Volks location is in a shopping center with three sections. They are San Plaza, Center Plaza, and Center Plaza West. Volks is on the third floor of Center Plaza. In the image below, look at 3F #1 and #2.
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Hiroshima

Volks Hiroshima Showroom: Your primary method of transportation will be a flat-rate bus/street car. Take the bus from the Hiroshima station to Kamiya-cho Nishi (or Higashi).
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Fukuoka
Kokura
Once you exit the train station north, you'll see a few statues outside. If you do not see these statues, you went out the wrong station exit.
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The place you're looking for is Aru Aru City. This is a shopping mall with a variety of stores. Mandarake [Tax Free 5000 JPY] and Jungle are inside.
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Tenjin
Volks Fukuoka Showroom: The showroom is on the 4th floor.

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Dollce: Same hours as the Akihabara store: Monday 17:00 - 20:00, Fri/Sat/Sun/Holidays 12:00 - 20:00. I can't remember which floor was which. One of the floors is the office. The other floor is the retail store.
 
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Mandarake: [Tax Free 5000 JPY] The doll items are on the second floor.
Doll Shop Eden: This is a BJD shop specializing in dolls from China and Korea. Store days and hours are very limited so you'll need to do some planning. The store calendar explains when the store will be open (in Japanese). If you can't read what's there, just look at the days with a star on them. The store is usually open on "star" days from 3PM (15:00) to 6PM (18:00). On some days, the store is open from 1PM to 4PM. Even if you can't read Japanese, you can tell which days are open from when to when by looking at the corresponding day below the calendar. "15~18" or "13~16" are the open hours. The day marked with a wrapped present is a special event day at the store.
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Gee! Store Fukuoka: Located in the Nakamuraya building.
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Final Thoughts

If you're reading this, odds are good you have a non-Japanese passport. Make sure to have it with you to take advantage of tax free shopping.

All Mandarake stores offer tax free shopping if you purchase at least 5000 yen.

The Volks stores offering tax free shopping (with a purchase of at least 5000 yen) are Sapporo, Akihabara, Osaka, and Nagoya. The others do not. Please keep that in mind if you're taking a tour of the country and want to buy something at every Volks location you visit.
 
I confirmed the Osaka location of Jungle has tax free shopping with a pre-tax minimum purchase of 5000 yen. I haven't confirmed whether this is the case with other Jungle locations.

The Mirai Store in Gotanda has tax free shopping with a minimum purchase of 10,000 yen.

Make sure to get a credit card which doesn't have foreign transaction fees before leaving for your trip.

I know I didn't include all stores you could possibly buy doll related items from throughout Japan. I know I missed *something*. If I need to update my rambling above, I will.

Hopefully, what I rambled on here will be useful to *someone*.

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