Traveling in Kyoto and looking to indulge in some Japanese pop culture? Look no further! While visiting Kyoto this past weekend, I made a point to stop at every anime, manga, and gaming stores I came across in the historic city. While Kyoto’s selection of goods is nowhere near those of Akihabara or Nipponbashi, it is home to Nintendo HQ and still has a growing niche that is worth checking out:
Kyoto Anamone (京とあまのね) is Kyoto’s own custom anime and character goods store that sells limited-edition products as well as artistic works created by Kyoto natives. “Anamone” stands for Anime Manga Network Shop and is a popular pit stop for tourists and collectors alike. Though the store is very small and limited in what it sells, it is definitely worth checking out because it is located in the central shopping district of Kyoto and has a lot of discounted products. When I visited, there was a lot of Free!, Hetalia, and Cardcaptor Sakura merchandise on sale. They had a mix of products from ongoing series as well as older ones which was like a blast from the past. Overall it was a neat experience although I only browsed it briefly.
Wanpaku, also known as the “Famicom Store” and “PicoPico Games” on Google maps and the internet, is a store that specializes in gaming and console accessories. The first floor is like a typical anime store and has figures in glass cases, keychains, wallscrolls, and DVDs. However, the second floor is specifically tailored for gamers with games ranging from used Famicom cartridges to current gen game and console releases. I saw a Super Famicom for sale and was extremely tempted to buy it. There were also Gameboy Color cartridges of Pokemon that caught my eye. While I was here I bought a second-hand black and gold Evangelion pillow from the EVA store for only 100 yen. This store has an amazing mix of products and chances are you will find something that fits your tastes that is discounted. It’s not that far from Anamone and no matter what you’re looking for, it’s very fun to browse.
I found this store randomly as I was on my way to the cat cafe. It was kind of a hole-in-the-wall, but the display of Love Live merchandise and collection of figures caught my eye. I decided to go in and take a look and was overwhelmed by the amount of selection it had! There were masks, wallets, figures, and products galore and some of them were things that I had never seen outside of the main animanga districts like Akihabara. Most notably, there were a great amount of Saber figures from Fate/Stay Night, Dragon Ball Z, and also from slightly niche series like Nyarko. Surprisingly it had a much wider collection of products than Anamone and was tax free. Depending on what you are in the market for, this may be the #1 anime store in Kyoto for you if you are looking for the best general selection!
International Manga Museum
The Kyoto International Manga Museum is extremely unique in the way that it features exhibits for both foreigners and native Japanese people with over 300,000 items in its collection. There is a wall of manga with a manga expo section where visitors are free to look at works written and illustrated from all over the world. Monthly workshops and events are hosted to generate interest within the community, and the collection of manga is always expanding. There is also a gift shop inside where you can buy some of the latest volumes like Shounen Jump. This is a fantastic place to go to if you’re looking for a quiet atmosphere in which you can appreciate browsing manga. You can search for different titles with a computer just like at a library. I definitely spent a good amount of time doing so!