Japan loves a good animated character, and I’ve fallen in love with a few different Japanese characters in my time.
Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, and Snoopy were part of my early childhood years, and perhaps yours too?
At 15, on my first visit to Tokyo, I met Kerokeropi, the happy green frog and fell in love all over again.
These days, there’s more characters than ever before!
Rilakkuma is one.
Nameko and Rascal are two more. These two are popular characters with Japanese children and they are now stars of their own cartoon show!
There’s a ‘cute’ kawaii character for everyone, if you still have the heart of a child.
- 1 Tokyo Character Street Shopping Guide for Families, Kids and Teens
- 2 Character Street Tokyo Station Precinct
- 3 The Ultimate List of Tokyo Character Street Shops.
- 4 Plarail Store
- 5 Tomica Shop
- 6 Snoopy Town
- 7 Moomin Shop
- 8 Pokemon Store (miniature version.)
- 9 Nameko and Rascal Shop
- 10 Miffy Style
- 11 Rilakkuma Store
- 12 Kapibara-san Kyurutto Shop
- 13 Hello Kitty
- 14 Domo-kun
- 15 Japanese Manga and Anime characters – Aikatsu Style & Precure Pretty Store
- 16 Studio Ghibli Store
- 17 Ichiban Plaza
- 18 So many Japanese characters… so little time!
- 19 The Inside Scoop – Tokyo Station Character Street of Japanese Characters
- 20 How to get to Tokyo Character Street
- 21 Map of Character Street in First Avenue Tokyo Station
- 22 Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
Tokyo Character Street Shopping Guide for Families, Kids and Teens
Happily, for Japanese characters lovers, there is a place on the B1F floor of First Avenue Tokyo Station called Tokyo Character Street Shopping arcade.
If your kids have a favourite Japanese character, (or more than one!), you’re likely to find their Japanese Character Shop here.
Character Street Tokyo Station Precinct
There are 26 stores in this precinct, and all we can guarantee is that you won’t make it through without at least one purchase!
If you are shopping for family and friends, there’s also plenty of Japanese character-inspired gifts and trinkets.
This shopping area in Tokyo station is not the cheapest, but if you want to sort out your souvenirs in one spot while the kids attention is happily occupied, this is the place. Check the directory to see all the shops on offer.
The Ultimate List of Tokyo Character Street Shops.
All things Shinkansen train related! Good for a quintessentially Japanese souvenir.
There’s toy Shinkansen, Shinkansen kids luggage, and even lunchboxes!
Tomica’s mission is to give the children of Japan small diecast cars based on the vehicles produced by Japan’s own automobile makers that fit in the palm of their hand.
Did you know that today, around four in every five Japanese children under the age of eight own at least one Tomica product!
These days, there are 140 models in the Tomica diecast lineup at any one time. The lineup is continually being refreshed with the release of a new model on the third Saturday of each month.
Beyond diecast cars, Tomica Shops have a wide variety of Tomica-branded household goods, candy, apparel, and other merchandise.
Roam the Gnome and I loved the Truck and Car shaped NORI PAPER treats especially!
Classic characters from around the world.
Pokemon Store (miniature version.)
The Tokyo Pokemon Mega Center is in Sunshine City, Ikebukuro. (Read about it here.)
Nameko and Rascal Shop
This is where you’ll find that much loved ‘mushroom’ character who is based on a slimy nameko (or “pholiota nameko” to be exact) variety of mushroom that’s often used in dishes like miso soup!
Japanese kids think he is gorgeous. I’m not so sure myself, but he’s growing on me everyday.
He’s the lead character in a trilogy of games “Nameko Saibai Kit,” where you have to ‘cultivate’ the growing of mushrooms.
Here’s a fun fact for you: when it was released in 2011, the Nameko Saibai Kit game app became the leading smartphone game in Japan, with 32 million downloads! No wonder he has a whole range of goods based on his likeness.
The super cute rabbit that just keeps on hopping…
Probably Japan’s favourite character these days (other than Hello Kitty) with a life motto of ‘Happy Life with Rilukkuma’. If your kids are fans, they’ll be able to go wild here. Socks, plush toys, pencils and pens, diaries, bags, toiletry sets, note pads, letter sets… you name it. They have it.
Kapibara-san Kyurutto Shop
Kapibara-san is not as well-known as Rilakkuma, but it is very popular in Japan. Kapibara-san was originally only found in Claw machines, but demand for this little fellow led to new products being created.
He’s based upon a CapyBara, a South American animal which is the largest rodent in the world. Close relatives include guinea pigs and rock cavies.
This character is one that ‘lets everyone feel relaxed’ (or so the PR says). Strange but true!
But of course!
Domo-kun first appeared in short stop-motion sketches on December 22, 1998 to mark the 10th anniversary of NHK’s satellite broadcasting.
According to Wikipedia, he’s a brown, furry monster with a large, sawtoothed mouth that is locked wide open. His favorite food is nikujaga, a Japanese meat and potato stew, and he strongly detests apples for an unknown genetic reason.
I wonder if the reason he is so popular with teens especially is that Domo is known to pass gas repeatedly when nervous or upset. He also sweats when nervous!
Japanese Manga and Anime characters – Aikatsu Style & Precure Pretty Store
Although unknown to me, these two shops were populated by teenage and young 20-something girls.
The products on offer reminded me of J-Pop, Japanese music pop-star type of things – dress ups, bags, plush dolls, towels, underwear, frilly skirts, fashion socks.
Teenage girls with a fashion sensibility will love it.
Studio Ghibli Store
If you love My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, or Spirited Away, then the Studio Ghibli character’s official store will be one stop you must make.
An event space featuring what the Japanese call ‘time-limited’ exhibitions or special sales. When we were there, this Yellow Duck character was in the space.
So many Japanese characters… so little time!
The Inside Scoop – Tokyo Station Character Street of Japanese Characters
Address: 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100-0005
- 10am to 8.30pm
- Open 7 days a week.
Entry Fees: FREE! (until your kids hassle you to buy them something!)
Tokyo Character Street Shopping Guide: Click here for English floor map and guide
How to get to Tokyo Character Street
- Find your way to the Tokyo Station B1F floor.
- From the Yaesu Underground Central Exit, turn left and walk along until you see a sign saying Daimaru Entrance.
- Turn left and on your right you will see the Plarial store alongside the Tomica store.
- The actual entrance sign to Tokyo Character Street (pictured above) is directly in front of these shops if you face outward. Begin strolling!
Map of Character Street in First Avenue Tokyo Station
Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
Character street in Tokyo station is a must visit, no matter your age.