Of Lighted Nanoblocks & Pop-Up Books

Went shopping today and the 1st thing in the toy store that caught my eye wasn’t a LEGO set… (ok, not surprising since there were no new LEGO sets in the store right?).  Anyway, thought this Nanoblock Deluxe Edition Schloss Neuschwanstein looks amazing…

So I did more online research and using some google translate from the Diablock site:

Representative of the West German castle “Neuschwanstein Castle”is set to assemble. Number of parts to about 5800, nanoblock representations have been made to reproduce in full-on. The LED light up to the plate and the beautiful villa built in the dark.

– Built-in 3 LED colors, using three plates
· LED plate 3 attached (use of AAA batteries 9) * batteries not included
* Finished Size: H220 × W120 × D400mm (1 / 220 scale)

Original text in japanese:


  • ・3色LED内蔵、プレート3個使用
  • ・LEDプレート3枚付属(単4電池9本使用) *電池別売り
  • ・完成品サイズ:H220×W120×D400mm(1/220スケール)

It’s got LED lights???  So a bit more online sleuthing… ta da…

It’s the 2nd Nanoblock set that I really like (the 1st is the Himeji Castle of course).

Anyway, it’s available at ToyStation in Singapore, or if you are in Japan, from Yodobashi or Amazon Japan.  Nope, I didn’t get it…


Then I got home and had a lovely surprise…

See, I can’t remember what I ordered from Book Depository… 😛  Anyway a quick tearing of the well-wrapped package and…

Yippee!  I know, I’m kinda overaged for a pop-up book, but I thought it’s nice to have a 3D reference book.   Here’s the nice promo video that poisoned me…

Source of Nanoblock pic: Yodobashi & Nano-Jime

Nanoblock vs LEGO Shuttle Adventure

Just thought it’ll be fun to show a side-by-side.  Nanoblock seen from Amazon.co.jp at ¥1,118.

Pentax Optio NB1000 with Nanoblocks

Nanoblocks seem to be really taking off.  These are real cameras, capable of 14-megapixel images and 720p HD videos.  Oh yeah, and you can build your own Nanoblock models on them and carry them with you wherever you go… they each come with a small supply of Nanoblock bricks.

Only in Japan…

From: Imaging Resource & GSMArena

Toystation visit and finds

Today is a shopping day. Last stop was toystation. Lazy to press on iPhone so more pics less talk.

Interesting that they now stock nanoblocks.

Blogged via iPhone4 🙂

Tokyo Toy Show: Lego, Nanoblocks & Clone bricks

Lego-Kei has some great pics of the Tokyo Toy Show (15 to 18 July 2010).  Some of the ones I find interesting are here, but more can be found on the site.

Oh, can’t wait for the Harry Potter sets to be released!

Harry Potter

Lego Booth


Clone bricks (WanGe Plastic Toys) <– I wonder how’s the quality?

Lego Shopping in Japan Part II

In my recent trip to Japan, I had the opportunity to experience shopping for Lego in these stores: 

  1. Amazon Japan
  2. Click Brick (Rinku Premium Outlet)
  3. Bic’s Camera (Kyoto Station and Osaka Shinsaibashi stores) and Yodobashi (Osaka Umeda)
  4. Muji
  5. Various department stores (Kyoto Isetan, Kyoto Takashimaya)

So here goes my experiences and some tips to share in case you are interested to shop for Legos in Japan… 

By the way, the non-Lego related tips/experiences are applicable to Nanoblock shopping in Japan as well (except for Muji).  You didn’t think I only bought Legos did you? Haha, yes I did buy loads of Nanoblock sets in Japan, including the Himeji Castle set I so admired in my earlier post… I got the set at JPY5,800 (vs retail price of JPY8,400) from Bic’s Kyoto.


1. Amazon Japan 

I made the order online just before I flew to Japan, and received the parcels 2 days later.  Without doubt, this is the easiest and most hassle-free of the lot.  So the pros and cons are: 


  • Able to purchase Japanese Lego books, which are great by the way, even if you do not understand Japanese like me. I bought 2 this time and will do a simple book review when I’ve some time.
  • Able to purchase English Lego books, that may not be available in your home country.  This is more for Asian AFOLs I guess, since Amazon is widely available elsewhere.
  • Not having to carry heavy and bulky parcels back to the hotel/the rest of the day.
  • Free cardboard box to check-in new toys back home (just have to buy some scotch tape to tape up the boxes).
  • Cheaper prices (for offer/discounted items) than most retail stores.
  • Some selection of discontinued items from Amazon’s 3rd party retailers.
  • As a first-time buyer from Amazon Japan, you probably qualify for the trial to have express delivery.


  • Hardly any Lego lifestyle items offered.
  • Mostly Japanese descriptions and instructions, but English instructions are available when setting up new account.  
  • Need to have some sort of semi-permanent abode for at least a couple of days.
  • Not sure what is the implication if there is no receptionist/concierge to accept delivery for you – perhaps can choose pick-up at a nearby Lawsons instead?

Link to Amazon Japan  


2. Click Brick (Rinku Premium Outlet) 

This is the 2nd time I’ve visited a Click Brick store (1st time was the store at Venus Fort, Odaiba, Tokyo) and overall…  


  • Loads of Lego lifestyle products, some seems to be only available in Japan.
  • Able to view the display models (lots in the Rinku outlet, not so much in the Venus Fort one).
  • Some older discontinued items in-store.
  • Prices are discounted from Japanese retail price.  
  • The atmosphere is great! Loads of people in the store (though this may be due to Golden Week). 
  • Play area for kids.


  • Having to carry heavy and bulky parcels back to the hotel/the rest of the day (though day lockers are available for rent at the Premium outlet and most train stations).
  • May not be the cheapest place to buy sets from (vs Amazon).
  • Not easy to travel to… unless you go direct from the Kansai airport (which I did), it’s a long ride out from Osaka city centre or wherever you are based in.

 Link to Click Brick website 



















3. Bic’s Camera (Kyoto Station and Osaka Shinsaibashi stores) and Yodobashi (Osaka Umeda) 

Apart from electronics, these stores also have a toys section, usually on the upper floors of the store. 


  • Prices generally seem to be discounted from Japanese retail price. Can get additional 5% discount if you exceed JPY10,000 and qualify for duty-free shopping.   
  • Convenient to get to… all the stores are located near transport or shopping hubs.


  • Having to carry heavy and bulky parcels back to the hotel/the rest of the day (though day lockers are available for rent at the Premium outlet and most train stations).
  • May not be the cheapest place to buy sets from (vs Amazon), but still cheaper than department stores.
  • No lifestyle products.

Link to Bic’s Camera  

Link to Yodobashi 













4. Muji 

The only reason for an AFOL to shop in Muji is to get the exclusive Muji-Lego sets that were released end-2009.  I went to nearly all the Muji outlets I could find (Himeji, Nara, Osaka, Kyoto) and strangely the Lego sets were only available in the Muji-to-go outlet in Kansai (KIX) airport.  The shop is located in public Level 3 shopping area, so if you want to get your Muji Lego sets, remember to pop by after you exit from customs upon arrival, or get the sets before you enter immigration for departure. 


  • Hey, it’s really the only place you can get those Muji Legos, apart from the online Muji store which is all in Japanese anyways so no idea how to order the sets online.


  • Those sets are not cheap.
  • Muji sets may not appeal to all Lego fans…


5. Various department stores (Kyoto Isetan, Takashimaya) 


  • Convenient to get to… all the stores are located near transport or shopping hubs.


  • Those sets are not cheap, most expensive of all the other options 1 to 3 since the sets are only sold at full retail price.


It’s taking a while to process photos and add links, so plain text for now, and I’ll tweak the post until I’m happy. 🙂 

Questions, comments or updates? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Nanoblocks from Japan

I was just surfing some sites about Japan, and came across these cute little blocks called “Nanoblock”.  As the name describes, these are tiny little building blocks, far smaller than Lego bricks. 

I do remember seeing these the last trip to Japan but wasn’t too impressed until I saw this set of the Himeji Castle:

Cool eh? Yeah, I think so too but not so cool is the price tag of JPY8,400.  More affordable are the colored bottles (each JPY714) and general blocks set:

The ‘impulse’ sets costing JPY1,029 each are really cute too.  For instance the Happy Birthday Girl set (there is a boy set too, and a wedding couple as well – can use as a wedding cake topper?).

Souvenirs of other key landmarks in Japan are also available, but not as nice as the Himeji Castle one:

I may just get some to play with. Perhaps to make little things for my Lego town?  At least these seem like good quality bricks unlike those made in China types.

Visit the official Nanoblock site if you are interested to know more: http://www.diablock.co.jp/nanoblock/

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