Tokyo Hobby Shops!

Last month I shared my little trip to Europe...I'll provide some more updates on that at some other time, but in the meantime, a friend I met through this blog (Steve) has generously shared with me some of his exciting photos of his recent trip to Tokyo, and he has graciously allowed me to share them with you (Steve is working on setting up a blog of his own).  I hope I can do justice to his photos, and I'll try to accurately pass along Steve's commentary from his trip.

I asked Steve to share these photos as he took some really interesting photos of various train-centric hobby shops in Tokyo.  While I've been to Tokyo a couple of times, I wasn't 'into' trains so the hobby shops never were a priority for me...Now Steve shows me what I missed!  The good news for me, and hopefully you, is that these photos provide a nice idea of the experience.... plus, its kind of fun to shop vicariously through Steve's photos!

The Greenmax Store
According to Steve, this is a 'destination site'!  Lot's of stuff not available in the US, but unfortunately.... there are no discounts.  Some of the staff spoke a little English, which is obviously beneficial if you don't speak Japanese and plan to visit some hobby shops.  
In addition to their own material for sale, Steve shared a lot of photos of the dioramas set up in the store.... (Correction, these diorama photos were from the Greenmax booth at the train show at the Matsuya Department Store...they were NOT in their store!)
Excellent work on this 'modular' Greenmax kit!  Every time I see what folks have done with these kits, I get a little depressed at my own uninspired attempt (which I've never shared on this blog as I'm so unhappy with it!).

Models IMON
So, if you're at the Greenmax store, in the very same building-just 2 flights down- is Models IMON.   

From Steve's description, this seemed to be quite an upscale hobby shop, with sales staff in ties behind the counters.   Of course, with this level of service, Steve's impression that prices were full price as well!  Cetainly very interesting that there exists even is such a thing as an 'upscale' hobby shop!  Only in Japan!?

Tenshodo in Ginza

Okay, on that last topic of 'upscale' model train stores...just the storefront of Tenshodo blows me away!  Even if the prices are full price...what does that mean about this hobby in Japan when you can support this level of elaborate/stylish retailing? Amazing!

No interior pictures of Tenshodo unfortunately, but N Gauge is on one floor, and HO on the floor above (so you can save yourself the stair climb if you're just looking for "N"! Thanks Steve!).

Rail Center Chiyoda
Apparantly on the other end of the spectrum (and something more similar to what I usually expect from a good train store!) is Rail Center Chiyoda.

Here's Steve's summary:  "Tiny. Up a flight of stairs, over a restaurant. A lot of trains, not a lot of structures. With my focus on structures, I looked but found little. If I were looking for trains, this would have been mecca. They knew maybe 10 words in English, so shopping and asking questions was difficult."
Tam Tam
According to Steve, this is the best.  Big shop, big discounts, huge selection...AND it looks like they OWN a real life KATO high-rise!!!

Steve also sent me some photos of some of the new items from Kato and Tomix, in addition to some dioramas, at a train show that was being held at the Matsuya Department Store in Ginza.   I think I'm very near to 'maxing' out the number of photos allowed in one blog post, so I'll save those for later!

I want to personally thank Steve for sharing these pictures with me, and allowing me to share them on my blog.  I have to admit, its a lot of fun seeing all these shops and I hope I get to make the journey in person some day (again! this time I know better!).


  1. All that tomix fine track. Drool.

    I'd need a trolley.

  2. I have ordered several sets from Tenshodo online: They have a nice 20% discount for such orders! Great service. Besides, how many other hobby shops can boast to have their own line of Z-scale steam, built in-house?

  3. Hi Don! Yeah I remember you sharing some of the exquisite (is their any other way to put it?) packaging that your item arrived in! Amazing the level of...respect? support? both? that this hobby has in Japan. It blows me away each time I see the contrast with shops in the US and other countries!

  4. I haven't been to Hong Kong for work in a few years, but I am looking forward to going again now that I am back into my childhood hobby. Anyone have a good rundown on HK hobby shops, especially on the Kowloon side?

  5. Check out http://hauptbahnhof-db.blogspot.com/

    He was just there are provided some really good info on a couple of Hong Kong shops! Have fun!

  6. Thank you for Sharing the Pictures, they help me to realize my Ideas for my modeltrain

  7. Lovely..I wish there were more airplane-airline related shops like these...(The Airplane Shop in New Jersey, Florida and Nevada try hard and are an EXCELLENT SOURCE for airliners but they only have 3, far in between locations).