Here, I will attempt to give some useful tips in terms of how to do it quickly and effectively, and also at the same time give a taste of what the key G1-centric shops have on their palate.
My one fear of thanking people is that I might inevitably forget to thank someone. In this case, perhaps I'm less at risk than in other situations. First, I must thank E, who provided me with encouragement to go chase the dino-cassettes and also arranged for my flight there and for my hotel. Without her, the trip would not even have happened.
I wish to thank kurdt_the_goat from the OTCA forums for providing me with advice and directions in terms of where to go once I was in Osaka.
I wish to thank kurdt_the_goat from the OTCA forums for providing me with advice and directions in terms of where to go once I was in Osaka.
I also wish to thank Gage (lives in Fukuoka) who also generously gave me tips and maps and directions. Gage must have emailed me about 3-5 times in the span of 2 days, each time with more information and with each time more detail about where I should go and how I should get to where.
Without the above people, I would not have been able to pen to below for future collectors who are heading to Osaka.
How to get there?
Fly into Kansai Airport. Follow the signs to the trains, which are across an overhead bridge (easy to find). Once there take the Nakai line, platform 2. This goes directly to the Nakai Namba station which is very near Nipponbashi, where Den Den Town is.
Note: The below is the easiest way to Den Den Town that I've found. It may sound confusing, but that is because the area is generally difficult to navigate, even for me (who can read Kanji to a certain extent because I can read Mandarin). If in doubt, I recommend plotting a course using a map.
Namba station is not just one station but a collection of stations with many many different train and/or subway lines running through it. It does get confusing (no joke).
Follow the signs and directions to "Nipponbashi" (colour coded yellow) - just look for signs that say that once you descent into the main station area from the arrival platform. If you found the right exit, you should need to go down an escalator and you would be exiting through the East Exit (東出口), via Takashimaya Shopping Centre.
Once you exit, you will be at a one lane road. Muji and Tower Records is diagonally to the left, but you should turn right. Walk until you come to a 3 way fork in the road. Look for the very large red Taito signboard (Taito has a whole building here, so I think the signboard is there is stay, hopefully). Walk into the road the where the Taito signboard is and continue (the signboard should be on your left).
Reach the end of this road and you will see a beige neo-classical style 6-7 story building diagonally to the right (it's quite unmissable).
Turn right into the road.
You are at the beginning of Den Den Town (which is a long street).
Where to stay?
As described in more detail here, I highly recommend staying at Hotel Hillarys, which is at the start of Den Den Town and just 2 mins walk from the 'neo-classical' building I mentioned above.
A single room (one bed) cost me HKD$740 per night, very reasonable for the facilities and convenience that the hotel affords you - free internet, free drinks (hot, cold, teas, coffees, etc), free loan of bicycles, free bread every morning. The hotel also gives you a voucher for 50% discount off any purchases of food or coffee from Anna Colours cafe which is just downstairs from the hotel. If you don't need all that, there is a 7-11, also right downstairs.
The only downside is that their website only allows bookings in Japanese (I can't read it either). So bookings can only be done though local agents who has contact with the hotel or through any online hotel booking website, which will no doubt charge some sort of fee.
This is their website: http://hillaryshotel.jimdo.com/room-type/
This is their address: 3-4-10, Nippombashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka city.
This is what it looks like from outside:
Where to shop for G1 Transformers?
Note: All directions to shops that I give here are relative to Hotel Hillarys (see above).
I recommend the below shops for G1 vintage Transformers shopping:
- Hero Gangu (ヒーロー玩具研究所)
- Entertainment Hobby Shop Jungle
- Super Position Capsule G-One
- Mandarake Grand Chaos (at Shisaibashi, right behind Sun Bowl)
- Mandarake Umeda (above Sega World)
Hero Gangu (ヒーロー玩具研究所)
Website: http://www.herogangu.com/ (entirely Japanese only, no English)
Directions: Exit Hotel Hillarys, turn left and walk past Anna Colours Cafe, cross the road and you are there!
This is by far one of the best stocked shops in terms of Transformers, in general, not just vintages. It is arguably even better stocked than Mandarake Akihabara in Tokyo, which is saying a lot.
I've heard many people say that its expensive and the prices are very high. However, I beg to differ. There are some expensive pieces, but if you keep your eyes peeled, there are also some good deals to be had.
Further, the shop owner who stations himself on the second floor, is very knowledgable in G1 Transformers and speaks enough English to properly communicate with me - this is a big plus!
This is a shot of Hero Gangu when I was standing outside Hotel Hillarys.
Close up shot of their shop front
The Henkei/ United/ Classic-verse display cabinet. All of these are not for sale.
As I mentioned, this place stocks TFs from almost every line and every year since G1.
An abundance of Henkeis - See that Henkei Ratchet MOSC? Only 5,000yen.
Another shot. Both aisles are stacked with Transformers.
The G1 MIB glass display cabinet.
A complete MIB collection of the Return of Convoy Micromaster sets and a MISB Victory Saber set.
Close up shot. There is a rare D-50 Motormaster MIB for sale!
I bought the D-101: Soundblaster in this pic.
This is the BotCon, exclusives and lucky draw items glass display case. There are also a lot of diaclones at the bottom shelf.
Another shot of the BotCon, exclusives and lucky draw items glass display case.
Website: http://jungle-scs.co.jp/index_e.cgi?action=about (there is an English version)
Directions: Exit Hotel Hillarys, turn right, walk past 7-11 and you are there! (less than 1 minute).
This is another G1-centric shop. The staff are friendly and the boss knows his G1 very well. The prices, as I see it, are also pretty steep, but again, there are deals to be had if you keep your eyes peeled. A plus point here is that they have an Italian on staff, who speaks fluent English and Japanese. This makes communication much easier.
All you have to do to say "English? English?" to the staff and they will deploy their Italian secret weapon.
I bought a C-112: Autobot Clones MIB, complete paperworks, C9.5 set here for 8,000 yen, which I consider a steal in the market today.
A shot of the outside of Jungle (see the Hotel Hillarys sign in red? Yes, it's that near!).
A good and ready stock of Henkeis at prices that are better than HK prices.
The G1 glass display cabinet.
Some close up shots. The loose figures are display only and not for sale.
D-311: Black Zarak MIB... man, I shudder to even look at the price (and I didn't!).
Henkei display (also not for sale).
Another shot of the display. I bought the D-16: Megatron for one of my collector buddies.
The more expensive Henkei are stored in the glass display case. There is a loose and complete Blue Bacchus on sale for 63,000 yen. I need this figure, but there is no freakin' way I'm paying that amount for a loose and used figure.
I bought that lucky draw God Primus MISB.
Super Position Capsule G-One
Website: http://www.spspspsp.com/ (don't think there is an English version)
Directions: Exit Hotel Hillarys, cross the road in front and go diagonally to the right (about 2 mins).
This shop is about 4 stories of collectables. Lots and lots of stuff here. At one point or another, I'm sure it must have had a good inventory of Transformers.
Such was not the case when I was there, but these shops get new stuff in on a weekly basis, so it's definitely worth checking this on out when in Osaka.
This is a shot of the front entrance. The whole building belongs to them.
A shot of their Transformers display case. Not a very impressive inventory this time of year.
Mandarake Grand Chaos (at Shisaibashi)
Website and directions: http://www.mandarake.co.jp/en/shop/gcs.html
This one is a little harder to get to from Hotel Hillarys. Check the directions in the link above. It's about a 20-30 minute walk from Hotel Hillarys into Shinsaibashi (the walk is very nice, lots to see and eat on the way, maybe that's why it took me so long to get there!).
When in the vicinity, it's still not easy to spot. But look at the top of the buildings and look for the giant bowling pin - head towards that and you will find Sun Bowl. Mandarake is on the same plot of land and just behind Sun Bowl.
A (not very good) shot of the entrance at night. I was there on my first night to Osaka and exited the store late and it closed. I have to take this shot as I didn't intend to go back.
Their floor guide. 4 floors of collectible goodness.
This is their G1 shelf.
A close up shot. The Micromaster transports are horrendously expensive, so don't ask.
Directions: Get to Umeda station. Exit the station, walk past Hep Five and then reach Hep Navio - here you should see a multi-fork junction and one of them leads into a 'Centerbangai' or a pedestrian shopping street. Walk into that and keep heading straight and you should find Mandarake on the left. (see link above for map).
This shop was difficult to find, but there really isn't too much here of interest in terms of G1 either. I'm sure its the time of the year and at some other time, it's probably great.
Shot of the front entrance. There are actually 2 entrances, one on each side of "Sega World".
Their G1 display case.
At the bottom left and behind a few boxes, there is a C-353: Big Powered giftset, which I thought was a pretty good deal - C7 toys, C7 box (no major flaws) but no paperworks, for USD$600. I inspected it and thought about it for awhile and decided that C7 just did not cut the mustard and no paperworks would bug me, so I passed.
Some very nice minty MIB Seacons!
Lots of MOSC Go-Bots (who wants these anyway)
Another close up shot.
Other shops of interest
These are some other random shops of interest in the Den Den Town area. I'm not going to give specific directions because these can easily be found by walking along Den Den Town or into the 'back street' that is parallel to it.
Kids Land. Pretty decent 4-5 storey shop with lots of model kits, Tamiya, Tomy and other stuff.
They also have a decent selection of Transformers United.
Ultra Man shop. Sells anything and everything to do with Ultra Man (not really my cup of tea).
Gunpla, just across from Hotel Hillarys. The signboard says it all. 4-5 stories worth.
My Osaka Trip, day-to-day run down and additional articles
- Osaka Day 1 - Hero Gangu, Jungle, G-One Capsule and Mandarake Shinsaibashi
- Osaka Day 2 - Mandarake Umeda, redux Hero Gangu, Entertainment Zone Jungle and G-One Capsule
- Osaka Day 3 - The final raid
- Osaka acquisitions tally!
- Market Watch - KOs in Japan
- Pre-Transformers , Diaclone/ Car Robot No.18 "Marlboor" Wheeljack MIB, unused
- Fight! Super Robot Life LP with poster (1985)
hey thanks for the shout out! glad I could help. keep those pics comingReplyDelete
Awesome guide! i would love to use this in the future if i ever make it over there.ReplyDelete
H_D you've made my day today! Your selfless and heroic- ahem act to help us hardcore collectors find holy grail stuff that is the mother of all places, Japan will be much appriciated and cherished forever! Kudos and cheers!ReplyDelete
Thanks H_D for such a detailed guide! I'm sure many collectors will find it super helpful while shopping for TFs in Osaka. I sure wish I had something like this when I was there in 2006 :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for this guide HD. I like all the photos also. I´m very jealous XDReplyDelete
I may be spending a full month in Osaka later this year, so this information is very much appreciated, it's very nice of you to share this information with us.ReplyDelete
BTW, apart from TF shopping, which store(s) would you recommend for vinyl kaiju toys? eg: Godzilla figures.
I know that Mandarake stores always have good stock, but how about the other stores you mention here?
My months stay in Tokyo last year was amazing, (thanks for your tips btw) does Osaka have enough toy shops to negate a visit to Tokyo?
Thanks guys for the kind words. Really hope that this will be useful to any fan going to Osaka - everybody should get a fair shot!ReplyDelete
@ Chris: I have no idea where to find those items that you mentioned because even if I saw them, they would have fallen completely off my radar. However, Den Den Town has a very large collection of shops, which all sells different things. My guess is that a few weekend nights there or a weekend there would give you enough time to walk around them all and know which shops has the things you are looking for.
Personally, I would plan a weekend to Tokyo for toy shopping if I were in Osaka for a month! But that's just me.
terrific guide you have there bro. how i wish i had your guide last year when i went to japan. cause i only concentrated around tokyo area.ReplyDelete
Hey Michael, did you get around the Akihabara area of Tokyo? That area has lots of stuff too!ReplyDelete
Yup! i kept going back to Akihabara area for 3 straight days, cause at 1st i had a hard time finding the Mandrake store there, but on the 2nd try i was able to find it.ReplyDelete
During my time of visit there were only few G1 figures, so my choices were very limited.
But i was able to buy a Fort Max C-114 and D-93 Scorponak there. Too bad Black Zarak was already sold when i visit the place.
Wow! Yeah, it's hard to resist going back to Akihabara day after day. It's just so fun and there's so much to see. Glad to hear you were able to score a C-114 and D-93 there. These are usually quite expensive. D-93 for some reason is just very expensive in Japan.ReplyDelete
Bloody Hell HD, that's another Keyboard I've got to drain of drool now! - Hehe :PReplyDelete
All those in-store pics of shelves upon shelves of delicious TF Plastic crack, it's so amazing to see that sort of thing 25+ years on after their 'hay-day' but it's also very grounding, for the fact that Australia (to my knowledge) has absolutely nothing like that whatsoever. :(
A great update dude, all the pics of delicious food, sights and TFs help to illustrate both a good trip but an excellent guide. ;)
2 words. Hero. Gangu. Jaw droppingly awesome. I don't know if it's better than what you saw from your previous trip to Akihabara, but damn, cabinets of G1 are such a sight to behold.ReplyDelete
Definitely better than some of the shops I saw in HK last year.
Man, I need to go to Japan one of these days.
Oh and awesome article by the way. Already helping out a forum member to it whom will be going to Osaka.
HD, just wondering, is it possible to bargain? And what happens if no English speaking person is available?ReplyDelete
@ Hursti: The stores in Japan are just insane. Even better than the HK stores or SG stores. I remember the night after I visited Mandarake Akihabara. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't sleep properly - images of MIB TFs were running through my mind for that whole night, and the 2 nights thereafter. Then, I just had to go back again.ReplyDelete
@ gdmetro: Hero Gangu is awesome, a real sight to behold even if you are not buying anything. The variety of TF stuff there is staggering. Yup, better than HK shops.
@ Roger: I don't think its possible to bargain in Japan. I certainly tried a few times and failed. However, like I mentioned, the Hero Gangu boss did give me a discount on his own volition, probably because I was so enthusiastic!
Many Japanese can speak patchy English, and they have a calculator around, always, so you can punch in the numbers of prices.
Osaka looks like an awesome place to shop for TFs...!ReplyDelete
Do you have the address for the ultraman shop in osaka? Or can you tell me how to get to it?ReplyDelete
hi, sorry I don't have the address.Delete
If you are one the Den Den Town main street (Sakai Suji) and you are facing the Namba Station direction, the Ultraman shop is on a left hand side street that is exactly parallel to Sakai Suji. This parallel smaller street also has lots of shops and eateries. It's not hard to find.
The post is very interesting and has a good collection of ideas.ReplyDelete
online toy store
Heya just wanna say I appreciate all your efforts in the posts you have made, you have opened my mind to many possibilities, educated me in a way that has deepen my appreciation for the Transformer brand, If I said this for the majority of your posts that would just seem like spam :D, you are truly king amongst menReplyDelete
Cool post. I really like your post.ReplyDelete
I like to buy baby toys online. There are many website who famous for kids toys online.
Thanks for sharing such anice post.
thank you for this. very helpful. i also hope this gets updated when you go back there.ReplyDelete
would you know if there's a shop that sell loose lego mini figures in osaka?ReplyDelete
hi,may i ask which agent/website u booked ur stay at hotel hillarys?ReplyDelete
I usually book directly from their website.Delete
ah ok,becos i tried to look for open dates in april but they returned me with a msg stating unavailable, and they havent replied to my enail/fb msg.how long in advance do u usually book ur reservations?Delete
sorry for so many questions!
Hillarys is quite usually full. So if the website says no rooms available, chances are because it booked out. It was more easy to book when I went in 2011, but nowadays it's always fullDelete
You are awesome. Thank you so much for the info concerning where to get Transformers!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this, I was just in Osaka and couldn't believe all the tf's I saw (and brought!)ReplyDelete