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.

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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: 

Pros 

  • 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.

Cons 

  • 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  

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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…  

Pros 

  • 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.

 Cons 

  • 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 

 

  

  

 

  

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

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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. 

Pros 

  • 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.

Cons 

  • 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. 

Pros 

  • 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.

Cons 

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

  

5. Various department stores (Kyoto Isetan, Takashimaya) 

Pros 

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

Cons 

  • 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.

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