Dolls in Tokyo
Quite simply, this is a listing of doll shops and exhibit spaces in and around Tokyo, pinpointed for your convenience on a Google map. The map will be updated regularly to reflect changes over time. Why a Google map? Well, negotiating the tight urban spaces of Tokyo can be a bit trying, and most shop maps are too simplistic. Google maps are easy to follow, easy to share, and one of the best way to find locations that I know of.
If you are visiting Tokyo or Japan, and are rather unfamiliar with the area, my suggestion would be to pick a central location (for example, near your lodging, or where you plan to sightsee for the day), find some venues near that location, and check their websites to see if they fit your specs. You may also want to search batsu3.org for reviews of past exhibits or purchases. Doing a Ginza or Akihabara area tour of doll shops is another way to browse around, and offer some sightseeing for the no-so-doll minded in your party.
If you live in Tokyo, my advice would be to visit all of them (of course!). But if that proves a bit impractical, taking a tourist-minded approach isn’t that bad. Select an area for the day and pair with other shopping, sightseeing, or cafes and dining.
Here is the accumulation of museums and shops in list form. Below is a link to the map.
- Angel Dolls (Ginza, exhibit space/shop) – Angel Dolls is a doll shop arranged as an exhibit space that features both antique and modern hand crafted dolls as well as other other art. Special exhibits featuring modern Japanese doll artisans are frequent. Tables are available for patrons to sit as they admire the shop. Beverages are available for purchase, but viewing the shop is free of charge.
- A-zone International (Akihabara, shop) – Azone International features a wide array of dolls, parts, clothes, wigs, furniture, and other accessories, though they are especially Obitsu friendly. The shop is divided into two areas, one with mostly clothes and accessories, and the other with mostly parts. They also feature a nice selection of doll magazines, including back issues of Dolly Dolly and Dollybird, and doll photo books. The outside of the shop is like a doll museum, with a wide variety of past and present sculpts, including a life size Momoko.
- Aside from Azone, Radio Hall also has a Volks Shop on the 6th floor. Other doll materials can be found in Kotobukiya on the 2nd floor, the Yellow Submarine doll and figure branch on the 4th floor, as well as some other floors.
- Dols Ballad (Ginza, exhibit space/shop) – Dols Ballad is both a shop and an exhibit space featuring both antique and modern handcrafted dolls. They also organize exhibits around Tokyo, including those featured at bookshop Maruzen.
- Little World (Akihabara, Shop) – Located on the 5th floor of the GEE! STORE complex, Little World offers a variety of clothes, accessories, limited edition and custom made dolls. Though the focus tends to be on 1/8 size, others are also available. Brands are primarily Obitsu and Azone; spherical joint as opposed to strung ball-joint. If you live in the area, Little World also hosts seasonal photo competitions, awarding prizes to those who create the best scenario involving Azone EX-Cute and other dolls. See website for full contest details (Japanese only).
- In addition to Little World, many floors of the GEE! STORE complex offer smaller goods compatible with dolls, such as gatchapon and other open-box miniature models.
- Maria Cuore (Ginza, exhibit space/shop) – Maria Cuore is a permanent doll museum and shop that features a small drink and bar area for patrons to lounge as they view the art. Dolls range from the modern to the antique, and include many varieties from around the world, though many have a distinct Gothic flavor. In addition to exhibits, they also host unique live performances.
- Parabolica-bis (Asakusabashi, exhibit space/shop) – Parabolica-bis is the physical counterpart to Yaso magazine. Exhibits features artists and themes from the current issue; recurring faces include Trevor Brown, Suehiro Maruo, and doll makers Koitsuki Hime, Mari Shimizu, and Etsuko Miura. In addition to the gallery space, there is also bookshop with postcards and other goods, as well as a cafe space. Special events are held periodically.
- Tokyo Industrial Trade Center (Hamamatsucho, trade and craft bazaars) – The Tokyo Industrial Trade Center is one of the more popular venues for seasonal market-style doll events. Often, several floors are packed with rows and rows of tables, representing hundreds of private and professional dealers. Items such as handmade clothes, handmade shoes, accessories, furniture, and original dolls, as well as vintage and re-sale goods are available. The biggest of these are i-doll and Doll Show, though a smattering of smaller events also take place.As these events are seasonal, please check the i-doll, Doll Show or even the Trade Center website to confirm dates.
- Yellow Submarine, Doll and Figure Branch (Akihabara, shop) – Description coming soon.
- Yokohama Romankan (Yokohama, exhibit space/shop) – Very small but one of the most beautiful and ornate exhibit spaces, full of dolls, hand crafts, art, and Victorian style furnishings. Various books, crafts, and postcards are for sale, as well as a gallery of dolls viewable by special request. Open only during special exhibits; please check website for details.
Link to the Google Map: