Christmas in Japan
It’s been a while, but I finally returned to Japan! Last time my trip was early in my doll collecting hobby so I didn’t do much shopping, but this time I was determined to get some of the Japan exclusives. I wast travelling with friends and because we wanted to visit Comiket, I didn’t arrive early enough to visit Tokyo Dolpa. Still, I was able to visit new places and do lots of doll shopping!
Our first stop in Japan was Osaka, to get a taste of a different flavor of city than the usual Tokyo. Osaka has loads of great food but since we arrived late we just grabbed 7-11 snacks and slept. BTW those chocolate covered chips are awesome! Japan’s convenience stores have the best snacks!
My hotel was an easy walk away from nerd shopping district Denden town and the popular Dotonbori arcades.
Near the Bic camera shop I found a neat store selling plastic food at different scales, including doll size!
It looks like most of the tiny food was made in the shop by the owner, so cute!
Denden town also has a decent Volks shop and Azone shop nearby. This Volks store had the best assortment of hand-made clothes and eyes from local artists that I saw this trip. Azone was well stocked but doesn’t do duty-free. Each Azone shop has some exclusives so I picked up some new clothes here. I had my eye on a cute pico Neemo kitsune maid girl, but she’s not getting released until January so I’ll have to try my luck online. There’s also a DollK in Osaka, where I picked up a cute Crobidoll wig and an outfit. It was a nice chance to see some of the Korean BJD they carry in person, Pipos and Peaks Woods being my favorites of the bunch. This Dollk shop is a bit hidden on the second floor of a nondescript brick building, but definitely worth a visit!
The next day we took the metro to Umeda, visiting the Sky Garden and more shops. Mandarake Umeda is nearby, and had a great selection of secondhand doll goods. This is pretty consistent with my experience last time- the less mainstream Mandarake shops have better bargains in the rummage bins.
I later visited the other Osaka Mandarake location, called ‘Grand Chaos’ in Amerikamura- the selection was a bit better but there were far fewer bargains.
It’s still fun to treasure hunt through piles of doll clothes, though! I had my eye out for unique hand-made items but didn’t see much in Grand Chaos.
After leaving Osaka we spent a few days in Onomichi, a smaller seaside town famous for literature, old movies, temples and cats! It wasn’t too busy so it was a great chance to take lots of photos.
Definitely try the ramen if you’re there on a cold day, it’s a special local version with lots of rich pork.
And from Onimichi it’s pretty easy to take a day trip to Okunoshima, a small resort island full of friendly rabbits! It was a bit rainy, but there were still plenty of friendly bunnies to feed.
After Onimichi we moved on to Miyajima, a small mountainous island near Hiroshima. From the top of Mount Misen you can get a great view of the whole area!
While in the neighborhood I checked out the Volks Hiroshima shop and it’s pretty small, similar in size and character to the old Shinjuku Studio Alta shop if you’ve been to that one. There was a small doll meetup forming there for an event later in the afternoon, but I didn’t want to spend all day waiting around so I browsed a bit before leaving. I did have a chance to see the new Rose of Versailles Oscar doll that someone brought to the meetup – gorgeous, but in person the nose was a bit much! It’s totally true to the illustrations, so kudos to Volks for not toning it down.
Next we made our way to Tokyo, time to do some serious shopping!
At the Marui Annex in Shinjuku, there’s the Blythe official shop ‘Junie Moon’ as well as loads of cute girly and lolita clothes and accessories. I picked up a few cute things, couldn’t resist!
The real draw for shopping is of course the Akihabara neighborhood, where there’s tons of shops for dolls and figures. I paid a visit to Mandarake, Azone, Volks, Volks Dollpoint, Jungle, Yellow Submarine, Dolk, Little World, and a few more random shops I stumbled onto. Azone shops featured the usual cuteness, and lots of goodies including Dollce wigs, Pullip dolls, Angel Philia, and some items that were sold out elsewhere.
Mandarake had a compact but plentiful selection of dolls and accessories, including lots of wigs.
This shop was in the same building as Volks and had some nice doll goodies, like second hand Azone dolls and their heads/outfits.
Of course the main attraction for me was Doll Point, the Dollfie Dream official shop from Volks. They had a cute selection of D’Coords but nothing I had to have- I had my eye out for a DDH-11 in tan or semi-white skin. There weren’t any DDH-15 girls out when I visited, either. Since I wasn’t getting a D’Coord I decided to pick up a Dream Choice girl instead :D
Sailor Mercury and Mars were on display, so I finally got to see them in person! Aside from those janky gloves they are gorgeous!
Apologies for potato hotel room snapshot, but here’s my Dream Choice girl. I chose a semi-white skin DDP body, DDH-14 head with M01 style faceup, green eyes (the dark grey were sold out) and a light purple wig. Volks Dolpo wasn’t busy when I arrived, so I snagged the next available appointment and returned on the hour to put together my new girl. I also picked up a few tan parts for my tan MDD and rather optimistically for a future tan DD in case I found one later.
I took a break from doll shopping for a while, but later on I had a day free for myself, so I decided to check out Volks Yokohama and see if I could snag a D’Coord girl I liked. They had Sailor Mercury on display in her school uniform – super cute! This shop is a bit out of the way from Tokyo proper but well stocked and really friendly staff, I think it’s worth a trip if you can make it.
The selection of D’Coord dolls in Yokohama was much better – they had a big variety including DDH-15 and a couple tan girls. Plus I like these D’Coord outfits better than the ones in Dolpo currently.
Tan DDdy DDH-11 girl is cute! Next to her is a tan DDH-06. I didn’t get too many photos before being scolded- it’s ok to take pics of D’Coord in Dolpo but apparently they’re off limits in Yokohama, oops!
And I found the perfect D’Coord girl! Tan DDH-11 DD with lavender wig and gold eyes. She got to hang out with my Dream Choice girl for the rest of the trip. Look at these cuties! :D
On the last day in Tokyo I ventured out to Comiket. Since I felt like I was coming down with a cold, I didn’t chat much and only visited the smaller annex area. Still, there were a lot of doll artists there and I picked up a cute set from Ronshuka- score!
My tan DDH-11 girl was able to try it out when I got home, super cute!
So despite missing out on Dolpa I still got tons of great doll loot and picked up the tan DDH-11 girl I was hoping to find, plus I got to make a cute Dream Choice girl and visit all sorts of new place this trip. There’s still so many places I want to see, and maybe I can visit another doll convention, so I definitely want to return to Japan someday!