Tokiwamusen / Small video game store right next to the station
When I was searching for Tokiwamusen, I actually walked right past it a few times before finally realizing where it was – it’s that small. Once you figure out what you’re looking for though, it’s easy to spot and find, being nestled in between some larger stores right next to the train station.
Not just Japanese games
When you walk into the store, you’ll notice that there isn’t a huge collection, obviously due to size constraints. However, the people who run the shop still tried to keep some variety going, and have many games available in both English and Japanese, allowing them to cater to tourists and locals at the same time. There are obviously some games, like almost all of the anime/manga based ones, that only come in Japanese, but that’s normal, and you won’t find translated versions of these games anywhere.
A focus on handheld games
The main aspect where this tiny store shines is in it’s offerings for handheld gaming devices – especially when it comes to the Nintendo 3DS. If you’ve taken the train anywhere in Japan, you’ll have realized that 3DS’s are incredibly popular, with everyone from elementary school students to middle-aged salaraymen whipping them out to kill time on their commutes, so it makes sense that there would be stores that cater more to this crowd. Particularly strong were the shop’s choices for anime games on the 3DS, as they lines multiple shelves.
Decent sales, but new releases still expensive
While I’ve talked a bunch about more low-key games so far, this store still has the staples – big name games like Assassin’s Creed and FIFA. What was nice here was that there were actually decent sales running for some of the older versions of these popular titles, which is something I haven’t seen too much of during my time in Tokyo. The new releases were still prohibitively expensive, which is the case no matter where you go, but their sales were well advertised and pretty good, as long as you’re not looking for a newly released game.
Getting to Tokiwamusen is pretty easy, seeing as it’s so close to the station. When you get to Akihabara station, take the “Electric Town” exit by the Atre, and go left towards the bustling street, filled with electronics shops hawking their goods. The store is on the far side of the street, a bit to the right. The sign is all in Japanese, so if you can’t read it, use the picture here to make sure you end up at the right place!
■Hours: 11:00-20:00, everyday
■Access: Sotokanda 1-5-18, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
■Tel: +81 3-3253-8768
■URL: No website