©Photo by Sylvanian Families

10 Unique Character Shops in Tokyo

Unleash Your Inner Child With Tokyo’s Secret Stash Of Niche Character And Themed Shops

By Michele Tanabe
April 26, 2024
Shopping, Subculture

Find your next cute or quirky obsession with this list of Tokyo’s best under-the-radar-themed character shops.

While you’ve likely visited Tokyo Station’s teeming Tokyo Character Street or the towering multilevel Harajuku Kiddyland, the initial allure of your favorite character-themed shops may have dulled over time. Though I’ll always cherish the calming presence of Rilakkuma or the irresistible Sanrio collaborations that possess an uncanny ability to drain my bank account with a single glance, there’s an undeniable thrill of discovering something new. It’s through these discoveries we can rekindle the initial spark that attracted us to sub-genres of Japan’s kawaii culture, so if you’re ready to find an adorable face to love or perhaps create the beginnings of a new collection, read on for 10 unique character shops in Tokyo.

1. Aranzi Aronzo

Aranzi Aronzo© Photo by Michele Tanabe

Starting in 1991, this niche character shop covers all the bases when it comes to variety. Offering soothing yet weird and addicting characters stamped on everything from stationary to bolts of fabric, there’s no way you’ll leave this shop empty-handed. Whether you fall in love with a cuddly white rabbit or lock eyes with a comforting kappa, there’s something for everyone here. You can visit this adorable shopfront in Minami Aoyama or on the forth floor of Tokyo Solamachi. Don’t forget to ask for a stamp card, I know you’ll be back.

Address: 3-14-8 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo

2. Craftholic

Craftholic Summer Catalog 2024© Photo by Craftholic

Ready to pacify that lifelong search for an animal-shaped pillow that’s been stretched out like goo? Look no further! Craftholic has all your otherworldly body pillow needs and more! This character shop focuses on the cute and cuddly. You might find yourself either irresistibly blinded or magnetically drawn to the bursts of bright pastels. Choosing between a rabbit-shaped tissue box—where you can pull out tissues from its stomach—or the perfect pouch may be challenging. Either way, if you appreciate soft textures and relaxing faces, this is the place to shop. Visit Craftholic’s Jiyugaoka storefront next time you’re in the area.

Address: Tsujita Building 1F-BF, 2−9−2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro City, Tokyo

3. Alice on Wednesday

Alice on Wednesday© Photo by Michele Tanabe

Keep your eyes peeled during your next visit to Harajuku. If you spot a white rabbit or a tiny door, you might just stumble down or into the curious world of Alice in Wonderland. Just a few blocks from the neighborhood’s busiest intersection, Alice on Wednesday awaits. The shop is devoted to Alice-themed treats, rabbit and card motifs and Cheshire Cat sweets. This is your one-stop shop for dreamy Wonderland-themed gifts. Venture through the shop’s tiny door upon arrival and savor the journey.

Address: 6-28-3 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo

4. Omocha Spiral

Omocha Spiral© Photo by Michele Tanabe

Transport back in time by stepping into Harajuku’s Omocha Spiral. Packed from floor to ceiling with cherished favorites such as Polly Pockets, Bratz Dolls, Furbies, Trolls and The Powerpuff Girls, a fond childhood memory is bound to resurface. Whether you’re searching for elusive 90s memorabilia or simply looking to peruse, you’ll rediscover your inner child in this hidden gem buried in the backstreets of Harajuku.

Address: Nagata Building A-1, 3−27-17, Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo

5. Cave

Cave Frog Shop© Photo by Cave

It seems like almost everyone has that frog-obsessed friend or family member, perhaps you’re the frog person! Don’t worry, this isn’t a personal attack; I too have a soft spot for frogs—Keroppi will always be my favorite Sanrio character. Yet, all frog enthusiasts need a haven, and this might be your calling to head to Kichijoji and enter Cave, the frog-themed mecca. Find everything from household decor, such as an ideal cheerful frog to place in your garden, to a similar frog-shaped coin purse you’ve seen Naruto sporting. Visiting is indeed an experience, and who knows, you may find a new amphibian bestie to gift or add to your collection.

Address: 2-26-1 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo

6. Dear Bear Meguro

Dear Bear Meguro© Photo by Dear Bear Meguro

It’s hard to imagine a place dedicated solely to teddy bears and bear-adjacent goods, but this is Tokyo we’re talking about. If one thing’s certain, this city will unquestionably spawn that one-of-a-kind shop. In this case, it’s Dear Bear Meguro. Tucked carefully in pristine glass cases, you’ll encounter some of the rarest of bears. Not only that but the shop offers other animal-themed merchandise. Oh, and their exclusive teddy bear clothing is to die for! Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve heard some of the clothes fit Duffy bears too!

Address: 2−13-29, Kamiosaki, Shinagawa City, Tokyo

7. Project 1/6

Project 1/6 Character Shops in Tokyo© Photo by Michele Tanabe

For an alternative twist from the classic teddy bear, Project1/6 boasts one of the most extensive collections of Bearbricks I’ve ever seen! For those unfamiliar, Brearbrick is a brand of high-end collectible toys. These bears can be likened to a mashup of a Lego character and a gummy bear, but regardless, their cuteness is undeniable. Collecting them gets dangerously addicting! In this Shibuya shop, you can explore a display of super rare Bearbrick memorabilia and perhaps even acquire your own.

Address: Majin Building 1F, 37−10, Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo

8. Rabbit Department

Rabbit Department© Photo by Michele Tanabe

We’ve covered a variety of animals in this article, but don’t worry—if you’re more inclined toward bunnies and Alice on Wednesday didn’t capture your interest, Rabbit Department has crafted a comfortable haven for all of our beloved rabbit and bunny characters. Situated on the first floor of Shinjuku’s Marui Annex, Rabbit Department offers a great selection of Miffy products, stationary, jewelry and original art. The shop’s layout cultivates a stress-free atmosphere, perfect for casual browsing; you might just stumble upon something that catches your eye!

Address: 3-1-26 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo

9. Sylvanian Families

Sylvanian Families 10 Unique Character Shops in Tokyo© Photo by Michele Tanabe

It wasn’t until I moved to Japan that I came face to face with the adorable figures of Sylvanian Families. You may have also encountered these charming animals through the Sylvaniandrama TikTok, where hilarious and dramatic scenes are played out between the characters. Regardless of whether you’re familiar or not, these toys are too cute to pass up. Whether you plan on starting a collection or simply like to admire them from afar, Sylvanian Families, located in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, is a great place to find gifts for loved ones or yourself.

Address: Sunshine City 2F, 3−1−2, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo

10. Neko Action

Neko Action Cat Shop© Photo by Neko Action

A niche shopping listicle isn’t complete without mentioning at least one cat-themed gift shop. While Tokyo has quite a few to offer, it’s the small businesses that tend to present the most sought-after goods accompanied by kind service. Thus, make sure to take a trip to Neko Action, located in the cat town Yanaka, for all your cat-themed merchandise needs. Next time you’re yearning to bask in all things cat-related, you know where to go!

Address: 3-10-5 Nishinippori, Arakawa City, Tokyo

Have you visited any of these character shops in Tokyo before? If so, share your thoughts

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