In Tokyo? Or planning to head there soon? Well, we know you love Pokémon, so you'd better check out this guide to decide where you'll be able to get your fix of Pokétat.
Before you get your hopes up too much, do realise that almost all Pokémon merchandise is seasonal. Some literally so, making the most of each season or upcoming holiday with appropriately fitting swag.
You may not find all the bits and bobs you see in photos here whenever you visit, but as long as you have a good few favourite Pokémon, there'll always be something cute in store to melt your cold, cold heart.
Also, as a quick heads up: the one by Hamamatsucho Station has been shut down for good.
The old Pokémon Center is no more! Nooooo! pic.twitter.com/ayPD598aeG — Danny (n'-´)????.*?? (@caffeinedreamer) March 20, 2015
On the upside, there are three new Pokémon Centers around Tokyo, two of which are much larger than the old store. Tokyo Character Street Pokémon Store
Tokyo Station, 1-9-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0005
Beneath Tokyo Station lies the underground shopping heaven that is Tokyo Character Street, featuring dozens of pop-up and fully fledged shops that focus on specific characters and franchises.
This is the smallest Pokémon store in Tokyo, but also the easiest to get to. Beware though - this small shop is regularly packed to the brim with busy commuters. Plus there's the danger of spending all your money on other characters before you get there.Directions:
Head out of Tokyo Station via the JR Yaesu Underground Central Exit and you'll very quickly see an unimaginably long corridor of small shops. Follow the signs for Character Street and walk all the way down to the end.
If you start to pass fewer and fewer character stores, turn around - you're going the wrong way! It's right next to Tamagotchi Store (yes, they're still going strong in Japan).
The main reason to come here is for a Pikachu plush wearing a Tokyo Station uniform, or the spinoff goods using the same schtick. There's also a limited selection of goodies that you'd find at the main Pokémon Centers.
I infinitely regret not picking up the limited edition Japanese businessman Pikachu with the appropriate suit, tie, glasses, and briefcase. Bah!
Mega Tokyo Pokémon Center
Sunshine City alpa, 3-1-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-6002
This is the largest Pokémon Center in Japan by far. Just about every piece of Pokémon merchandise on the market is available here, so make sure your wallet's ready.Directions:
From Tokyo Station take the Marunouchi Line to Ikebukuro Station. Take the East Exit out on to Green Street, then take the first big left after a minute or two and you should be on Sunshine 60 Street.
Keep going till you reach the Tokyu Hands on the corner, and you should see the Sunshine 60 building towering above you on the other side of the street. Head across the road and into Sunshine City.
Head up the first escalator you see and you should notice signposts for the Pokémon Center. Follow them and you'll come up around the side of the shop, seeing two large panels of Pikachu and Mega Charizard Y.
There are several large statues adorning the store, including Pikachu riding a freakin' Mega Charizard Y. This is the store's mascot, and there are several pieces of merch you can get by the entrance that make the most of this killer combo.
You'll be able to find all this season's plushes, edible souvenirs like cookies, all manner of clothes, toys, and figures.
I particularly loved the Hanafuda-style stationery, and I just had to buy Pokémon pasta, ramen, and other foodstuffs I haven't quite worked out yet.
Tokyo-Bay Pokémon Center
10:00–20:00 (Mon-Thu), 10:00–21:00 (Fri-Sun, Hols)
Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport TOKYO-BAY, 2-1-1 Hama-cho, Funabashi, Chiba, 273-8530
Okay, forgive me, I'm being a bit cheeky. Technically this store is not in Tokyo itself, but rather the neighbouring prefecture, Chiba. It has Tokyo in the title though, and it's about 40 minutes away from Tokyo Station, so I think it's fair game.
Most Pokémon Centers around Japan feature Pikachu alongside two starter Pokémon, but the Tokyo-Bay Pokémon Center breaks with tradition by adding Pokémon X and Y's Inkay into the mix.Directions:
The most direct way to get to LaLaport is to take the Keiyo Line from Tokyo Station to Funabashikeibajo Station. It's the same train you'd take to get to Tokyo Game Show, only a slightly shorter trip.
At Funabashikeibajo Station you'll see a great big signpost for LaLaport Tokyo Bay. Head down the steps and follow the long motorway underpass until you see some stairs on your right.
From up top you should be able to make out the LaLaport building (it's huge). Waltz over to it, and you should notice a Starbucks. You're already on the second floor, so once inside take a right, then left, then go straight for absolutely ages.
You'll know you're almost there once you spot two dozen Pokémon gachapon (capsule toy) machines on your right. The store itself is one very large room, with ample space to flail your arms around wildly.
Tons of plush toys, loadsa coffee mugs, iPhone and iPad cases, and clothing including hats, socks, tote bags, and backpacks.
My favourite oddities were Pikachu-shaped sponges of various sizes, Pikachu golf balls, and a HUGE Substitute doll that I'd love to have for my office chair whenever I'm out. ¥13,000 (£75 / $110) though... jeepers.Have you been to any Pokémon Centers? What would you buy if you visited one? Let us know in the comments below!