Many fans of Japan and the Japanese culture, be it new or old, are familiar with the ’90s game of Pokémon (ポケモン) – traveling around a 2D world collecting Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター). Even though we may have grown up, as we have seen from the recent release of Pokémon GO, loving the Pokémon franchise has no upper age limit. Pokémon was first released in 1996 which means that those of us who can remember its release are nearing our 30s and still find Pokémon cute. With its evolution from a black and white 2D game, onto our televisions and our movie theaters, Pokémon is now a feature of our real world, too! When you find yourself in Japan next time and want to catch yourself some 3D Pokémon companions to take home with you, here are the top places in Tokyo (東京) to “catch ’em all!”
Nestled beneath the bowels of Tokyo Station lies the wonderful world of Tokyo Character Street (東京キャラクターストリート). Here is any otaku’s dream place of almost any character merchandise they could want. Although this may be the smallest shop in Tokyo, it is one of the easiest to access. Even if you aren’t staying in Tokyo, you can simply hop off the train and have a quick peek into the world of Pokémon plushies. You can get also get the limited Tokyo Station Pikachu (東京駅ピカチュウ) here.
To get there: Exit Tokyo Station by the JR Yaesu Underground Central Exit (JR東京駅八重洲地下中央口改札). You will find yourself in a corridor of stores with signs to Character Street. Follow the signs and you will find the Pokémon Store. This store is open from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm.
From the smallest to the biggest, like its name suggests, Pokémon Center MEGA TOKYO is the largest of all the Pokémon stores in Japan by far. Situated in the commercial complex of Sunshine City, this center houses everything Pokémon-themed you never knew you needed (or wanted)! After a massive grand opening at the end of 2014, MEGA TOKYO has seen a great number of visitors. There are huge statues of legendary Pokémon in the store such as Mega Charizard (リザードン) and Mewtwo (ミュウツー).
To get there: From Ikebukuro Station, take the East Exit and go up the road. Turn left on Sunshine 60 Street (サンシャイン60通り) and walk until you see Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ). Cross the road and enter Sunshine City. This store is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
A brand new Pokémon Center has just opened in the traditional district of Asakusa. Far beneath the towering peak of Tokyo Skytree sits the newest store. Here, just like in many stores, you can get Pokémon plushies, phone cases, and apparel. But unlike other stores, here you can also get your hands on some very special limited edition Pokémon x Skytree merchandise. This includes a cute Pikachu hugging the Skytree. While you are there, why not also take a trip up the Skytree and see a stunning view of the city from above?
To get there: Take the train to Tobu Line TOKYO SKYTREE Station (東武スカイツリーライン「とうきょうスカイツリー駅」) or Tokyo Metro Oshiage SKYTREE Station (東京メトロ「押上駅」), and walk into Tokyo Solamachi (東京ソラマチ). This store is open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Wherever you are in Tokyo, you are not far from a Pokémon Center. Take a short trip from some of the busiest stations in Tokyo and “catch ’em all!”