I’ll start this article with a somewhat negative statement. Although Oosu is in fact known as one of Japan’s three otaku holy places, if you enter expecting to find yourself in another Akihabara you will be sorely disappointed. Probably the best way to describe Oosu, would be a very popular shopping area with a small concentration of anime/otaku related shops and merchandise. There is some otaku presence here, but it is not that significant. I just realized that most Akiba otaku carry around a digital SLR, but no one in Oosu does. I sort of stood out while taking some of these pics, with some people mumbling I was weird for taking pictures of shops…
The major attraction of Oosu is the 大須観音 Oosu Kanon temple, where people from all over Nagoya come to pray for passing exams, smooth work, or not get restructured right now. It’s almost exactly like how it is in anime and drama. The temple has a ton of history to it, but to sum it up they were moved from neighbouring Gifu in 1612 and serve as the current headquarters for a particular Buddhist sect. This temple along with most of Nagoya was burned to the ground by American firebombing during World War II, as a result this temple is a reconstruction built sometime after 1945. Oosu is extremely famous for its shopping, and it is in fact possible to bargain at some of the smaller shops. There are tons of trade in and used good shops around, but as usual with those shops, caveat emptor.
Before we get to the actual Oosu, there are two other spots an otaku should check out first. They are the Nagoya animate store (there’s only one in Nagoya as opposed to 1239402394823094830294823094 Animate stores in Tokyo) and the Comic Toranoana main store.
The Animate store is located about 2 minutes away from the Nagoya JR 名古屋 station. If you exit out the Bic Camera side, simply cross the road and keep walking left. It’s impossible to miss! The Animate store is rather small, but it features a fairly robust collection of periodicals, character goods, and a somewhat lacking collection of audio and dvds. However, walking in there for the sake of this post was a mistake, as I somehow managed to get caught on a plastic box set of Supercell’s new Hatsune Miku super first press limited edition album for 3,500 yen. I love how sometimes it is so easy to get your hands on something that is supposedly limited in Japan.
Next stop, Comic Toranoana. Take your pick of subway lines (they are a huge mess in Nagoya, but not nearly as messed up as Tokyo), and arrive at Hisaya Odori station久屋大通. The shop is LITERALLY right outside the 2A exit. As their website proudly boasts, this is in fact the biggest Toranoana store in all of Japan. Though, big by Japan standards is not really big by foreign standards. I ran into some fairly rude foreign otaku, who were loudly complaining how small the store was and how much bigger the Toranoana is in Akiba (I doubt these guys have actually been to the Akiba one if they could make such a statement). This store features very robust figure, DVD, and of course doujinshi sections. They also sell tons of doujin soft and ero software. Overall, I think this is the store that interests me most in Nagoya.
Ok now that we’re done with that, either walk (it’s not that far) or take the subway again to 大須観音 Oosu Kannon station. Time for the real deal to start. I doubt many of you are interested in the temple anyway, so let’s skip that. Enter into one of their sheltered shopping roads. If this reminds anyone of Asakusa, Tokyo you’re not alone. The stores around sell EVERYTHING, ranging from electronics, computer parts, to foreign fashion, and food.
Oo and Canadian export shop :P. Since when was Canada famous for leather belts :O.
It is exceedingly easy to get lost here, but as long as you keep heading east you shouldn’t miss anything. There are next to no landmarks, so me giving directions would be futile. However, if you can find yourself an opening in the buildings, you should see this huge sign :P. That is our first stop.
Mandarake, Nagoya. Probably the biggest otaku store in all of Nagoya. It’s the only store I know of that sells dakimakura 抱き枕 or hug pillows. They also sell some cosplay stuff, printed material, character goods, idol goods, and they are huge on the trade ins or 買取 as it’s known. They often put up posters of rare items they are willing to buy to resell to other customers. This usually means figures, doujinshi, and in particular dakimakura covers. Dakimakura covers are all doujin made, so they are never reprinted and available in very very limited quantities. Your jaw will drop at some of these prices, 10,000 yen is considered the minimum entrance fee to this market. O and also, this shop also has probably the most robust figure section of any shop, but it is EXCEEDINGLY poorly organized. I managed to find certain treasures that I thought long been sold out, but it does take substantial amounts of digging. Argh, almost forgot every weekend the fourth floor is opened to a particular “festival”. Usually, this just boils down to them stacking up the fourth floor with merchandise at extreme discounts. This week was the doujinshi festival, all doujinshi were between 100-300 yen.
Next stop, Kids store. Bottom floor is tons and tons of games for all platforms. Second floor is Gundam plastic models, but somehow also has figures. This store is often eager to get rid of their inventory as fast as possible, so their prices often get reduced the fastest. To give you an idea, Hayate Yagami 1/8 Figure from Alter is typically available for 12,000 yen or aboug $180. I found one here for 6,200 yen. The topmost floor is for normal plastic models, cars, planes, ships, aircraft carriers, etc. I didn’t get a picture, but next door is a maid cafe :P.
Next, is Gamers, Nagoya branch. The offered merchanise is identical to that of the Akiba branch, just there is a lot less of it and the store is a lot smaller. K-books is a store that specializes in doujins much like Toranoana, but they also collect special rare items that come out of expos like Comiket. For example, Touhou themed playing cards, mugs, plushies. They also sell rare items, specifically trading cards, which they mark up for an insane premium.
There is a cosplay heavy store called Gee Store, but they also sell handheld games and other goodies, go check that out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. My posts seem to be getting a bit too image heavy. There’s a little more to Oosu than this, but I guess I will cover than in another post. I swore to myself that I would go to Oosu with a camera, purely for this post but my wallet was not spared, sigh.
Hatsune Miku dakimakura case (no I did not pay 10,000 yen for this one, thank goodness), and the limited edition Supercell disk from Mandarake and Animate respectively. Also, To aru Majutsu no Index figure from Comic Toranoana.
Next post Nagoya castle, and….. some thoughts on Japanese karaoke.