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Nakano Broadway anime & manga: Tokyo Otaku shops! Omega Algea Goth cafe, Dai Kaiju monster bar.

japanese graffiti, street art, nakano murals

Me, an eggy frying pan, and six boobs. Only in Nakano, Tokyo!

Yukiro and I are back… with a funny new video about this Japanese geek-pop district. We visit a Goth cafe, encounter aliens, and get chased by pink monsters. Watch our adventure on Huffington Post Travel and below.

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nakano subway station, north exit

I encourage visitors to stay in Nakano if they’re visiting Tokyo for more than a few days. The location is convenient — it’s a direct, five minute subway ride to Shinjuku — and the vibe is more laid-back than Shibuya or Roppongi. (Above is North Exit at night)

tokyo apartment rentals, short term stays

Hotel bills add up quickly, so I suggest renting an apartment from a foreigner-friendly service like Live In Asia. An English-speaking representative met me at Nakano station and helped me get set up in a furnished flat, complete with a kitchen, TV, and WiFi. There was a supermarket down the road, and many cheap but yummy eateries nearby.

nakano weekly apartments, vacation homes

My one-bedroom apartment was in a quiet neighborhood, and only a five minute walk from the station. It was fun living among Nakano locals, and having friends over — a nice change from cramped hotel rooms. Check out their website to reserve a short-term Tokyo apartment the next time you’re visiting.

gladnews dress, heavy metal fashion, nu goth

Yukiro dressed as his new alter-ego, “Leonarde Le Douze” — twelfth-ranked sleazy host boy, born from the loins of a lion.

La Carmina wears a Heavy Metal dress from GladNews (Shibuya 109 store), Yosuke boots, and a Miffy cape from TwoPercent Hong Kong.

nakano broadway, anime manga shops tokyo

Nakano’s main attraction is Broadway, a shopping complex dedicated to geekdom. The little shops are packed with collectibles, from creepy dolls to Astroboy lunchboxes.

japanese cell phone ad, lion makeup

Leonardo ran into his furry, yellow brother.

peko-chan, Fujiya co mascot, robots, retro japanese toys

We can spend hours here, browsing for Super Mario and Sailor Moon goods. The girl with the tongue is Peko-chan, mascot of Fujiya Co. (a chain of sweet shops and restaurants).

mandarake, nakano bookstore, japanese manga books

A big blue robot guards Mandarake, known for its selection of anime (animation) and manga (comics).

mandarake, shinto gates, torii

Behind these Shinto torii gates are rare toys. Nearby, at the retro arcade, you can play Space Invaders and other classic video games. (Thanks to Geoff for helping us with the filming.)

nakano broadway mall, alien sculpture

Look out for aliens and wild animals!

underwear vending machines, gashopon, gachopon

You’ll undoubtedly run into slightly disturbing goods, like these sexy “gachopon” machines.

nakano wall art, japan street paintings

This is a hub of subculture, as you can tell from the art-covered walls running alongside the train tracks.

pachinko tokyo, giant cat, maneki neko

A big inflatable maneki neko, outside a pachinko parlor.

kawaii santa claus, japanese christmas decorations

Inside a little Japanese cafe that served traditional, homey food. I also enjoyed the takoyaki stand (octopus balls), tiny ramen shops, and North Exit bakeries that sold cute Totoro and Anpanman buns (photos soon).

omega algea, goth cafe, nakano goths

We went to little-known Gothic cafe, Omega Algea. After searching for some time, we found the basement space decorated with human spines and chandeliers.

vampire cafe, japan goth theme restaurant
rose tea, goth menu, gothic food

Reminiscent of Vampire cafe in Ginza, the mood is dark and bloody. We drank rose tea and ate green curry.

omega algea art gallery, japanese underground art

The side room displayed underground art. At the time, the works were inspired by dark angels.

japanese drag queen, gothic art

Look who we found in this artistic book of photos.

dai kaiju salon, monster bar nakano

At night, you can hop between little bars, each with a distinctive theme such as heavy metal or karaoke. The award for “most outrageous” goes to Dai-Kaiju Salon.

pico pico, nakano, ultraman toys

Every Wednesday, the space becomes a shrine to retro monsters like Godzilla and Mothra.

godzilla toys, 怪獣, rare japenese figurines

Fanboys watched 1960s Ultraman movies and fawned over rare toys. The walls displayed drawings by famous anime and manga artists.

weird japanese costume, monster suit

The highlight was hanging out with this pink, suction-cupped, vaguely aquatic kaiju (the word means a strange, supernatural beast).

pink monster japan, cute kaiju

I laughed so hard when First Mate Naomi put on a full-body monster costume, and danced around!

funny japanese masks, crazy halloween costume

Don’t miss the crazy footage we shot at this bar — watch our latest episode to see it for yourself.

daikaiju, monster drawing, ultraman characters

Nakano is a kooky, weird, colorful area that is often overlooked by visitors. I hope you’ll put it on your Tokyo to-do list, and consider staying here during your next trip. (Above drawing and photo by Naomi)

nakano broadway shopping center, 中野区

Who are your favorite Japanese mascots and characters? Did you giggle at the monster scenes in this travel video? Or did Yukiro steal the show? Muahahaha!

SHARE & COMMENT

  • Golbez

    Omg i totally want to go :)

  • LateNight

    I wish I worked with LaCarmina. She’s always having fun!

  • Robert

    I love Dubai!!!!!!! went there for christmas in 2011 it’s epic

  • Capitan

    You’re going to Montreal??? OMG, can we meet?? :D

  • Batmann

    Why. Don’t. We. Have. Places. Like. This. In. AMERICA!?

  • Carrie

    love you two

  • Hadie

    Thank you for giving insights in this. Japan is an very interesting country. But so far away from germany:0(

  • ferocious video and photos! I had so much fun that day! Rrrwwwaaahhh!

  • Zacq

    awesome.

  • Kate

    one of these days …… :3

  • Manny

    Hey La La

  • Gery

    i love

  • Reva

    owww its really amazing…

  • RPala

    Omg I need to go there!!!

  • Glf

    So awesome

  • Israel

    You two are the bestest