Hobby Stores Revisited: Amenity Dream, Big Magic, and Yellow Submarine
Before Grand Prix Nagoya, I will be taking another look at all the Magic stores in Nagoya and offering new insights and information that I hadn’t done before. I hope that this more in depth look at these game stores helps MTG visitors to the city and allows them to find each place with the least amount of hassle possible. If you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve this article, please let me know.
Today I’ll be talking about the big hitters in Japan, actually, probably the biggest Game store chains in all of Japan: Amenity Dream, Big Magic, and Yellow Submarine. These stores are synonymous with trading card games. Ask any serious TCG player and they’ll be able to give you directions to the closest one. Recently Big Magic has teamed up with Star City Games and will be jointly hosting the Big Magic Open in a few weeks (more on that later). Yellow Submarine, on the other hand, has the largest selection of board games and game accessories anywhere. If you’re a serious gamer, you’ll want to pay attention to this article.
A Personal Perspective
Amenity Dream was the first MTG store in Japan to really WOW me. I mean, I was so used to seeing game shops run a certain way. I expected all shops to be small, cramped, somewhat dark, and smelly during tournaments. Amenity Dream absolutely shattered that perception of TCG shops. They have clean playing areas, bright lights everywhere, and a rather large selection of cards.
Big Magic, on the other hand, is more in line with what you’d expect from a gaming store. They have the largest amount of stock in the city, update their buy lists and sell prices the quickest, hold the biggest tournaments in town, and also give out the best prizes (tons of packs, playmats, card boxes, etc). Big Magic has helped me to grow very quickly as a MTG player thanks to the high level of competition that players there every weekend. This is where the best Magic players are born.
As for Yellow Submarine, the thing that I like the most about the store is the amount of accessories they have for sale. Since they are a board/table top game store on top of trading card games, they tend to carry a large variety of sleeves, dice, storage containers and more.
Amenity Dream Osu
Aside from what I said above about Amenity Dream, there is some other useful information you should know about the store. Amenity Dream is one of the best places to go for a sets release day. If you go in the early afternoon the Friday after a pre-release, you can sometimes find some absolute steals. I recently bought Courser of Kruphix for about 489 yen there, and back during the Return to Ravnica block, I was able to pick up a playset of Desecration Demon for 39 yen each. They usually have their rares in glass cases around the store, but as for all the overflow of cheap rares, you can find them sitting in a box along with non rare foils and uncommons. Most of the cards in the box will set you back between 19-89 yen, a steal considering most cards are going for 150-300 yen behind the glass case. The key is to correctly guess which cards will go up in value in the future and to pick those up in bulk. This rare box is always there (you can see people looking through them in the picture above), so if you have an hour to kill, thumb your way through a few thousand cards and look for some deals.They do mix in other rares as time goes on, so check back every few weeks.
Amenity Dream’s prize structure for events is a little lopsided though. For good players you’ll get tons of packs, but for the people that do poorly you’re usually stuck out in the rain (at least you get a 500 yen single ticket at Hobby Station Mei Eki!). They support all of the formats, but aside from standard at FNM, you won’t find more than one event a month in the other formats. AD’s prices are decent, but they also have some hilariously overpriced cards as well. Another plus about the store is that their buy prices tend to be better than most of the other stores. Check out their lists here before selling your singles elsewhere!
- Phone Number: 052-265-8848
- Website: http://amenitydream.co.jp/shop/
Just as it was with the other stores in Osu Kannon, to get to this store head to Kamimaezu station. You can get there on the blue Tsurumai line from Kami Otai OR Toyota City, and if you are coming from Nagoya station you can take the Higashiyama Subway line to Sakae and transfer to the purple Meijo line going towards Kanayama (It’s two stops away from Sakae on the Meijo line). Once you are at Kamimaezu station, take exit 9 to street level and keep walking straight. Right out of the station you should see an electronics store on your left side, and if you keep walking you’ll see a Starbucks on your left as well. Right after Starbucks is the entrance to the main road of Osu Kannon. Turn left here and go straight for a minute or two until you reach your first 4 way intersection. There should be a rather large shoe store on your right on the corner, and if you look up above that you should see blue windows with the words Amenity Dream (in Katakana) on them. At this intersection, take a right and walk past the clothing store past the shoe store, and you should see some stairs on your right. Go up those stairs and it will take you directly to Amenity Dream’s front door.
Big Magic, where boys become men. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy . . . wait, that’s Mos Eisley. Big Magic is actually a great place. It’s the only store in Nagoya that’s 100% devoted to Magic the Gathering (well, the 2nd floor at least). I got my ass absolutely kicked at Big Magic for the first 2 years of my MTG career in Nagoya, but every painful loss made me that much better. If you’re looking to take part in a large tournament and to improve your skills, Big Magic is the place you want to go. They have a huge stock of MTG cards going all the way back to Alpha/Beta, buy lists that are updated twice a month, and probably the best point card system in the city. Most places will give you 1 point/ 100 yen, but Big Magic goes further. Every Monday you can get x3 points, and on the last Monday of every month you can x5 points. This isn’t just for single cards you buy there either. You get points for any product in the store you purchase, as well as for trading cards in.
- Phone Number: 052-238-6811
- Website: http://www.bigmagic.net/
The easiest way to get to Big Magic is by taking purple Meijo subway line to Yaba-cho station. You can get to Yaba-cho station from Nagoya station by going to Sakae via the yellow Higashiyama Line, then transferring to the Meijo line there. It will be the next station on the way to Kanayama. Take the #4 exit to the street level. You should be behind the Parco department store at this point. There should be a Chinese restaurant on you right just up ahead. From there, look for the expressway and walk towards it, going under it until you cross the street to the other side of the road. Once you pass under the expressway and walk to the other side, turn right and walk up the sidewalk. You should be walking uphill at this point. By the time you get to the intersection, you should be able to see Big Magic on your left side. It’s on the corner. Walk inside of the building and go up to the 2nd floor to enter the store. There are actually two levels to the store. The 2nd floor is devoted to Magic cards and the 3rd floor is devoted to the Yugi-oh card game.
Big Magic is one of the only stores in Nagoya that does booster draft regularly for Friday Night Magic. If you’re looking to improve your Limited format skills, sign up for FNM here, but keep in mind it’s usually regulated to groups of 8. 16 people will mean 2 draft pods, but 12 people means others will be drawing straws to see who plays. On Sunday, you can play in a standard tournament from 11 am. These draw anywhere from 20 people-40 people, but the average is usually somewhere in the 30s. After the morning standard tournament is over, they hold booster drafts around 3:30 pm. At least once a month, they also hold a Legacy, Modern, and Vintage event that draws A LOT of players (the last Modern one I went to had 46 players). You’ll have to check in store or call them to find out when they are going to hold those though.
As I said up above, Yellow Submarine is the place to go for board games, accessories, and other nerdy goods. This is one of the only chain stores where you’ll be able to find games like Settler’s of Cataan, Dungeons and Dragons material, and accessories for things like Warhammer. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re going to have a field day here. If you’re looking for MTG cards, you might be a little disappointed. Their buy prices are some of the worst in the city, and their selection is somewhat limited in the Nagoya store (other stores I’ve visited have had pretty big selections of MTG cards). You’ll eventually find some good deals there, but it is rare. During the release of new sets I usually check out the prices at all of the stores in the city, and Yellow Sub sometimes has good deals initially. I don’t think you’ll want to rely on finding good prices here, so just think of it as a short stop before moving on to your next hobby shop. If you’re looking for accessories though, go here first to price things. They have decent prices on card sleeves and tubes for playmats.
- Phone Number: 052-238-3012
- Website: http://www.yellowsubmarine.co.jp/main3.htm
This shop is within walking distance of both Amenity Dream and Hobby Station Osu, but it the closest to Hobby Station. In fact, it is just before HS. If you are coming from Nagoya station, take the Higashiyama line to Sakae and then transfer to the Meijo Line going towards Kanayama. Kamimaezu will be the 2nd stop I believe, and similar to going to Amenity Dream, use the #9 exit to go up to street level. If you remember Akamon Dori, that is your goal. Keep walking up the road for a few blocks until you see a 7-11 on your left side, and right after that you’ll see the giant sign/gate for Akamon. Does this seem familiar? If you’ve been to Hobby Station Osu before, it should be. Walk down Akamon street and take the first right. This should be at the corner where the ART JEUNESS store is (a place where you can buy anime art I believe, I’ve never been there). Soon after taking that right, you should see the glowing yellow sign for Yellow Submarine on your left side. The store is on the 6th floor of the building next to the anime Art store.
I don’t play much at Yellow Submarine, but they do pre-releases and Game Days all of the time. Their playing space is somewhat limited, maybe 20 people can play there in all. The only MTG events they hold every week are Standard and Booster draft FNMs. I’m guessing players will choose which event to do just before FNM starts at 6pm.
Grand Prix Nagoya is almost here
This isn’t the end of my Hobby Stores Revisited articles, but I will be putting the rest on hold until sometime after Grand Prix Nagoya this weekend. I’ll be putting out one more article before this weekend to talk about how I prepared for this sealed GP, as well as what I’ve learned from my past experiences in limited. I also want to remind anybody visiting Nagoya that I still plan on giving a tour of the Magic stores in Nagoya on Friday. We’ll be meeting by Asunal/Mister Doughnut near the main exit of JR Kanayama station around 11 am, and then proceeding to our first store just across the street. Feel free to join us at any point of the tour if you’re out in town. The tentative schedule is:
- Prinny Club Kanayama – 11:05am – 11:20
- Card Brunch Kanayama – 11:25 – 11:40
- Amenity Dream (and Lunch break) – 11:50 – 12:40
- Advantage Osu – 12:45 – 1pm
- Yellow Submarine – 1:05 – 1:25
- Hobby Station Osu – 1:30 – 1:40
- Big Magic – 1:45 – 2:25
- Toy and Hobby Mishimaya (and 2nd break) – 2:50 – 4pm
- Grand Prix (Fukiage Hall) – 4:30 – 9pm
The schedule could go faster or slower depending on who wants to do what at which store, but I think we should have more than enough time browse and explore at each place. Feel free to bring trade binders, decks to play, and anything else you want to do while we go on the tour. The Foiled Again FNM at Fukiage Hall starts at 5:30 pm, meaning we should get there with a lot of time to register, walk around, trade, and do anything else on Friday before the main event on Saturday. If you want leave at any time to head to the Grand Prix, by all means be my guest. I look forward to hanging out with some of you on Friday though!
TokyoMTG.com is sponsoring some great events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so be sure to check out their twitter account for more info. I heard Shuhei Nakamura will be personally doing a sealed/limited workshop Friday evening, so it might be worth your time to head out there! Also, if you plan on doing a Last Chance trial on Friday during the day, feel free to join us during our tour at any time! Thanks again for reading, and I wish you best of luck at the Grand Prix!