At the beginning of 2019, Tokyoites were surprised and delighted by art from the cult classic Akira appearing on construction fences in Shibuya. The art seemed deliberate, and it was not graffiti, which made otakus even more curious as to who was behind this. This is because graffiti is illegal and very very rare in Japan, and construction site fences are usually not decorated with art.
A bigger clue was the fact that this Akira art appeared in 2019, the year where the story of Akira takes place (a distant future in the original). Moreover, Akira takes place in Neo Tokyo which, believe it or not, prepares to host the 2020 Olympics! That was just fiction back then, but it turned out to be true. This has scared some, as Akira depicts Neo Tokyo riddled with crime and terrorism, and SPOILERS …..
… the city is destroyed and the Olympics are subsequently cancelled.
However, PARCO and many Akira fans are not superstitious, and simply took the opportunity to celebrate the cult classic. The Akira art brought excited people and their clicking cameras even before the PARCO building was complete, so the offerings of the newly opened shopping centre are expected to keep bringing visitors to this part of Shibuya.
In Shibuya, there are a lot of blinking lights beckoning you to visit, so competition is quite fierce. In addition to the Shibuya Hikarie opened in 2012, there is now also the Shibuya Stream complex that strives to revitalize the small river area and is the new host of Google Japan. And most recently, just 2 weeks before the opening of Shibuya PARCO, Shibuya Scramble Square opened on November 1 with a breathtaking sky observation deck offering stunning Shibuya views.
What sets the Shibuya PARCO apart is their embracing of everything OTAKU, and they are not content only with Akira art. There are many things making the Shibuya PARCO an Otaku paradise.
The Akira art has moved inside PARCO’s 4th floor for a limited time. In the “AKIRA ART OF WALL Katsuhiro Otomo × Kosuke Kawamura AKIRA ART EXHIBITION” the art on the construction panels is exhibited together as a collage, in addition to original drawings and posters. Maybe the most exciting part is the Akira throne where you can sit and pose for a photo.
Official Akira merchandise is being sold here, along with limited edition collaborations with fashion brands. In addition, there will be Akira art exhibited in Gallery X in the basement.
However, a ticket costing 1000 yen is required for this exhibition and it can be bought online.
Akira exhibit pop-up: November 22, 2019 (Friday) – December 16, 2019 (Monday)
*Gallery X will be open until December 18, 2019
More details on their website (Japanese only)
The otaku kingdom in PARCO is mostly concentrated on the 6th floor, also named CYBERSPACE SHIBUYA.
Here’s what you can find there.
It sounds almost unbelievable that the most popular and best-selling gaming console from the 90s didn’t have an official store in Japan. Well, believe it or not, PARCO has the now first directly-operated official NINTENDO shop in Japan. A giant Mario greets you at the front, with other popular characters from Nintendo games popping around the store. In addition to selling game consoles, and character goods, the store has a corner where you can try games and they also plan to hold events and meet-ups, becoming a home ground for fans.
A lifesized Mewtwo floating in a research tube greets you at the new Pokemon Center Megastore dedicated to Mew and Mewtwo. The center is one of many in Tokyo and Japan, but it’s a first for Shibuya. To mark that occasion, even Pikachu got a Shibuya-kei makeover – there are limited edition Pikachu goods covered in graffiti!
Official website of the Shibuya Pokemon Center (Japanese only)
There cannot be an otaku paradise without Shounen Jump joining the mix. Of course, on the 6th floor of Shibuya PARCO there is a JUMP shop with a grinning lifesized Luffy ready for photos. The store has merchandise from major manga in the weekly Shounen Jump, with an accent on One Piece, Dragon Ball and My Hero Academia. The Shibuya JUMP store is one of many, but it will have limited edition products like mugs and hoodies only available there.
Official store website (Japanese only)
For those who grew up with Street Fighter, the CAPCOM store will be a treat of nostalgia. The Japanese video game developer has been around since the 80s, churning out global mega-hits such as Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Monster Hunter, and so on. Also located on the 6th floor of Shibuya PARCO with all the other legends, the CAMPCOM store offers character merchandise, a lot of which is limited edition only. See the limited edition list here.
Official store website (Japanese only)
— LB POP-UP THEATER (エルビーポップアップシアター) (@LB_PUT) November 21, 2019
Another classic from our childhood is making a pop-up appearance in Shibuya PARCO. The Digimon store is hosted by LB POP-UP Theater from November 22nd 2019 to January 9th 2020. The pop-up corner is planning to host different pop-up stores in the future. Currently, the DIGIMON store has limited edition merchandise (list here, Japanese only), as well as showing a store-limited video in its mini theater.
Other 6th floor CYBERSPACE shops to visit are: Touken Ranbu Manya Honpo that features original Japanese katanas, the first real brick and mortar store of Tokyo Otaku Mode (online store for otaku goods), GG ESPORTS CAFE that will stream esports tournaments among other thing, etc. Explore the whole PARCO and you will also find other gems like clothes stores with MARVEL and DC characters and free arcade games to play, as well as other popular streetwear brands and shops dedicated to Harajuku Lolita fashion. There is even an EVANGELION collaboration store called RADIO EVA store that offers NERV branded clothes designed with Evangelion’s aesthetic.
FASHION & COSMETICS
In addition to the Harajuku fashion like Angelic Pretty and geek collaboration brands, Shibuya PARCO is housing an amazing selection of other fashion brands, from inventive up and coming designers, to kimono stores, to fashion legends like Issey Miyake, Comme De Garcons, Juniya Watanabe, Kenzo, Vivien Westwood etc.
On the 7th floor you can find restaurants that have something for everyone – Italian restaurant GOO, Falafel Brothers, ramen, yakiniku, sushi… But don’t forget to check the basement floor named CHAOS KITCHEN for even more food options and more entertainment.
CHAOS KITCHEN has that nightlife vibe, housing pubs and bars, in addition to eateries. They also have cafes, from the jazzy and stylish QUATTRO LABO, the rare vegan izakaya MASAKA that even has vegan friend chicken (karaage), to the KOREAN BISTRO＆ CAFÉ nyam².
One of the most fun bars down in CHAOS KITCHEN is coming from Shinjuku Niichome. CAMPY BAR has some fierce queens serving both drinks and looks and being the life of the party.
CHAO KITCHEN also boasts one of the weirdest izakayas that serves food to be primarily shocking and challenging. We’re talking about RICE AND CIRCUS (米とサーカス) where one can try crocodile, frog, insects and other foods that are quite the challenge indeed.
Come for the views!
Shibuya PARCO also has a movie theater, event space and a rooftop garden with great views of Shibuya – and free!