Kyoto is more than just Temples and Tea it seems . . . (More store profiles)
I went to Kyoto this last weekend for the 7-8th time or so. I saw most of the temples and shrines there a long time ago and have been there during every season. It’s a great place to take pictures, there are a lot of English speakers, and outside of temples and traditional cultural things to do, the shopping in Kyoto is actually pretty damn good. The Karasuma/Kawaramachi area has tons of places to shop, and the Tenmachi shopping arcade (shotengai) is a good way to kill a few hours. The shotengai there are a little more fashionable than those in Nagoya and Osaka though, having quite a few Art galleries, music shops, and old book stores throughout the stretch of shopping roads. I’ll focus on those other things in future posts, but for today I’m going to continue my theme of MTG/Hobby Shops in Japan. I had a little downtime while waiting for trains and while the girlfriend was shopping around in her stores, so I took a peak in the stores nearby and took some pictures so that you can see what the shops are like. I will do my best to give accurate directions, but your best bet in finding these shops is going to be using the directions and phone numbers on Wizards of the Coast’s website Store/Event Location Finder. My blog is more helpful when you looking for specifics such as landmarks and what to look for when you are close by.
The first place I visited was C-Labo, aka Card Laboratory. They actually have one of these shops in Nagoya, but due to the amount of other more MTG specialized shops in Nagoya, the branch in Nagoya doesn’t hold any events and carry very few booster packs and single cards. However, the C-Labo in Kyoto is very well stocked and has a decent amount of Single Cards and boosters. This C-Labo also has a weekly Standard tournament on Sundays I think. There is NO Friday Night Magic or special events it seems, though be sure to check the event locator to be sure.
As for directions, C-Labo is the easiest to get to from the station. After getting off the shinkansen, I went to the Central Exit and went to the Hachioji exit. From that exit you should be able to see the Kyoto Avanti building across the street. There is a tunnel that goes under the street that will take you to basement floor of the building. Once you’re on the basement floor, go up to the 4th floor. After a minute or so you should be able to find it. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the Hachioji exit of Kyoto station.
Amenity Dream Kyoto:
I had high hopes for Amenity Dream when I heard they had a store in Kyoto, imagining the spacious and organized card space and equally spacious game space of the Nagoya store, but alas it was not to be. The store is located on the 3rd floor of a building next to a temple in the shopping area around Kawaramachi station. The simplest route is probably to go up to the ground level from the subway station to the Kawaramachi dori/Shijo Dori intersection, and then continuing north on Kawaramachi road til you reach the next stop light. From that light you should be able to turn left onto a wide shopping street. There should be a beefbowl place on your right, a convenience store on your left and a Lotteria fast food place up the street. After turning left, go to the first side street and turn right. After a minute or two you should see a temple on your right side and a narrow building just passed it like the one in my picture. Walk up to the 3rd floor and you’ve found Amenity Dream Kyoto.
As I said before, I was kind of let down with the set up. The Kyoto store is very cramped and packed with goods. The selection is good as always, with the same chain wide prices for boosters and singles, but it’s hard to walk around inside. Just like the other stores, it’s focused mainly on card games like MTG, Lycee, Final Fantasy, Yugi-Oh, etc. The playing space is very cramped and tiny compared to Nagoya’s store however and I could only imagine the nerd smell there in the summer time ^_^. One benefit of this store is that it’s incredibly close to another card shop (less than 5 minutes away is Yellow Submarine, coming up next). This allows you to compare prices for singles, boosters, and sell prices for single cards and to get the best deal. As for events, Amenity Dream holds Friday Night Magic, as well as special events like Magic Game Day. They have a calendar posted by the front door with a list of when the MTG and other tournaments are.
The final, and my favorite shop of Kyoto was Yellow Submarine. It is the definitive Hobby Shop of Kyoto. It was packed to the brim with accessories, cards, and board games but still allowed for plenty of walking space and a large playing space for cards. It was also bright and clean, and well ventilated.
The Magic cards were located towards the back corner of the store just past the register area. They had a lot of singles to choose from at decent prices (If you’re looking for booster packs, they have those located at the register). In the same corner were also D&D (and other company) RPG books, as well as other German/European based card games that are more traditional than CCG (Collectible Card games) like Magic. Once you’re in this corner look up! On the top shelf and all around the corner they have placed their board games. You can see the starting corner of board games in the top right corner of the featured picture. There was a good selection of games, and if you can’t find the game you want ask if they can order it for you! It never hurts to ask.
Returning to MTG events, Yellow Submarine holds FNM every Friday, and also takes part in special events like Magic Game Day. Check WoTC for details. As for directions on how to get here, you can follow the same directions used for Amenity Dream, except instead of turning right on the side street where the temple is continue going straight. It’s literally 2 minutes from Amenity Dream. It will be on the 4th floor of a building on the left side of the shopping street, with a Lotteria nearby as well as a 390 Yen Thank You Mart store. You’ll see the sign on the wall of the building, as well as another one up on the building on the 4th floor I believe. There is also another way from Kawaramachi Station. You can go up the #3 exit from the station and walk north through the shopping arcade/shotengai for a few minutes until you see the AM/PM convenience store. Take a right at the AM/PM store and then look for Yellow Submarine on the right side.
If you have any questions or any problems, let me know and I’ll try to help you out. Otherwise, call the store you are looking for and see if they can help you find the place! Good luck and happy gaming!