Tokyo MTG stores: Ikebukuro

A few months ago, I was in Tokyo for the first World Magic Cup Qualifier and a Khans of Tarkir Pro Tour Qualifer. The weather was rainy that weekend, but that didn’t stop me from exploring the Magic shops in that area after the tournaments were finished. If you live in or near Tokyo, then you know that it has the highest concentration of Magic the Gathering shops in all of Japan. Hareruya is located in Takadanobaba on the western side of the city, Shinjuku is located in the south-west, and Akihabara is located on the eastern side. All of these areas are great places to find Magic cards, but today I’ll be talking about the Ikebukuro area, located just a few stations from Hareruya on the north-west side.

Most Japanese people I’ve talked to said that Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku are better places to go shopping when in Tokyo, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by the area. Aside from the concentration of MTG stores (there’s a Big Magic, Hobby Station, Amenity Dream, and Yellow Submarine in the same area), it actually is a good area for shopping. You can find a Bic Camera, Uniqlo, and various department stores like Sunshine City in the area. If you’re tired of going to the main areas of Tokyo every time you visit there, then by all means check it out. You can find a lot of thes same stores with a lot less congestion.

However, I’m not here to talk about shopping in Tokyo today. In today’s article I’ll be sharing with you my experiences at the MTG Shops I visited there. Follow me on the tour and consider checking them out next time you’re in the Ikebukuro area! To start off, we need to get FROM JR Ikebukuro station (you can take the Yamanote loop line from Tokyo or Shinagawa to get there) to the central shopping area of Ikebukuro. Go out the east side of the station and cross the street. Your goal here is to find the Sunshine City. Places in Tokyo are incredibly hard to find, so it’s better just to post a map I think.

Use Wizard’s locator to get a bearing on the area. Zoom in to find Ikebukuro station, then look to the right of it. 

As you can see, there is a Bic Camera Ikebukuro Higashiguchi Kamerakan on the map. You’ll want to be on that side and walk past the Bic Camera and turn left slightly. This will put you on a shopping road, and after a few blocks you should see a tall Uniqlo building on your left, an ABC Mart with shoes, and further down the road is Sunshine City and Tokyu Hands (if you get to Sunshine City, you’ve gone too far). For the sake of this article, let’s start you off in front of the ABC Mart.

Big Magic Ikebukuro

 

Big Magic from the outside

Big Magic from the outside

If you look to your right from ABC Mart, you should see Big Magic waiting for you. This is probably the easiest one to get to I think. Go inside the building and take the elevator to the 6th floor.

Lots of buy lists

Lots of buy lists

As you come out of the elevator, you will see a large buy list which includes Magic cards, as well as other popular card games in Japan such as Z/X and Yugi-oh. One thing I noticed while checking out their Buy prices is that they seem to be the same for some staples, but overall they buy MTG cards for less than what you could sell them for in Nagoya. I’m guessing this is because when you live in a city as large at Tokyo, you have a lot of people opening up packs of cards and selling those cards. There is a lot less supply in Nagoya (even though I would still consider it a large city), which means you could sell your cards for more the next time you visit. If you’re just selling one thing it might not be worth it, but if you’re here for the next GP or big event and have a couple of big money cards you’d like to sell, this might be a difference for a few thousand yen (if I could get $50 for my cards, I’d do it). Keep this in mind for future reference.

 

Lots of Old cards at BM

Lots of Old cards at BM

As I walked around, I saw A LOT of older cards. The selection here was much bigger than that of Nagoya’s Big Magic (BM still has the best selection of cards in Nagoya, but has only 1/5th of Ikebukuro’s stock. 

 

Expensive Foils at BM

Expensive Foils at BM

Big Magic in Ikebukuro also had A LOT of foil cards, mostly older ones. If you’re a legacy player or looking to foil out your EDH deck, you might want to stop in there. The prices seemed  little high to me, so you might want to compare them to other places like Amenity Dream nearby before making a purchase. 

MTG schedule at BM

MTG schedule at BM

I was really impressed by the number of events Big Magic holds every week. BM Nagoya only has FNM and standard, but as you can see above, the Ikebukuro store has Wednesday Legacy, Thursday Modern, Friday Standard, as well as Saturday Standard. I also see special monthly events such as EDH and Vintage tournaments too. There’s a little bit of everything at this store, but it’s kind of sad that there are only about 24 seats or so at the store. I’m not sure if there was another area or not, but the playing space seemed rather limited, especially when you consider that the store shares space with other card games being sold there. 

 

Final Verdict

 

Big Magic Ikebukuro is worth the visit. The foils and premium cards might be overpriced, but you can find some deals if you look there. I picked up some Zendikar lands for about $1 each (which is half the price of everywhere else), so I’m sure there are some deals to be had. If you’re staying in Tokyo for a week or two and want to experience some tournaments, you can check Big Magic. The only draw back of the store is that it is rather close to Hareruya on the Yamanote line, and that store’s stock is probably much much larger since they are completely devoted to Magic the Gathering. 

STORE INFO

http://locator.wizards.com/#brand=magic&a=location&p=Ikebukuro+Station,+Tokyo,+Japan&c=35.728926,139.71038&massmarket=no&loc=333092&orgid=13317&addrid=333092

 

Hobby Station Ikebukuro

 

Hobby Station Ikebukuro is located in the same block as the Big Magic store. If we go back to our starting point of near by ABC Mart, it shouldn’t be a problem. From ABC Mart, go back one block towards the station and turn left. Not soon after turning, you should see their sign on the left side, smack dab between all these other ones. 

Hobby Station from the Outside

Hobby Station from the Outside

Just to make sure, look for their smaller sign down below. 

Hobby Station Sign

Hobby Station Sign

As you can see from the small sign, they are located on the 7th floor of this building and are open on Weekdays until 9pm, and weekends until 8pm. Once on the 7th floor, enter the store and prepare to be blinded. IT’s a very well lit store, and also very spacious. They have a lot of floor space devoted to card games at Hobby Station, and have a decent sized playing area for 30+ people. However, their MTG selection pales in comparison to Big Magic on a few minutes away.

MTG Selection at HS

MTG Selection at HS

A lot of Hobby Station’s cards tend to be newer, and their selection of eternal format cards is scattered at best. You won’t find many foils or legacy format cards here, but that’s not to say the store is without its merits. I think the biggest reason to check this store out is to compare prices between the other stores for standard cards, as well as to see if they can give you a better price on cards you’re looking to sell than the others. As I looked and asked around, there didn’t seem to be that many MTG players there. Outside of FNM every week, Hobby Station Ikebukuro didn’t hold any other weekly MTG events.

 

Final Verdict

As I said, this is a store you go to when you want to compare prices, especially for standard. It’s worth the 5-10 minutes you’ll spend there, and also might be worth checking out on release day for deals on singles. Where as a store like Big Magic updates their prices hourly when a new set is released, Hobby Station might only do it once or twice, leaving a lot of their prices lower. Wouldn’t hurt to check it out!

 

STORE INFOhttp://locator.wizards.com/#brand=magic&a=location&p=Ikebukuro+Station,+Tokyo,+Japan&c=35.728926,139.71038&massmarket=no&loc=333043&orgid=17728&addrid=333043

 

Yellow Submarine Ikebukuro

 

 

Yellow Submarine store front

Yellow Submarine store front

 

Yellow Submarine is a straight shot from Hobby Station Ikebukuro. If you turn left as you exit Hobby Station, you can walk straight for about 2 blocks and see it just after the intersection on your left side. If you’re starting at the ABC Mart again, do what you did to get to Hobby Station, walking one block back towards the station but turning RIGHT at the corner instead. After one block, you’ll see it just past the corner on the left side. 

 

Yellow Submarine Entrance

Yellow Submarine Entrance

To say Yellow Submarine is cramped would be an understatement. They have lots of products there, mostly other Trading card games, but have a large selection of accessories to choose from such as boxes, sleeves, etc. That has always been their strong point, and their prices remain pretty competitive on that front. When it comes to MTG though . . .

MTG Singles at Yellow Sub

MTG Singles at Yellow Sub

They had a somewhat limited selection of MTG cards that didn’t impress me too much. They had more than Hobby Station I believe, especially of the older cards, but their prices weren’t really anything special. In my experience, Yellow Submarine stores tend to have some of the highest prices of any store when it comes to MTG singles. You might find a good price on one or two things, but for the most part you’ll be disappointed. 

Bulk at Yellow Sub

Bulk at Yellow Sub

There are more bulk cards to search through at Yellow Submarine than at Hobby Station, and there tends to be a lot older cards there, but it pales in comparison to a shop like Big Magic. Not sure it would be worth your time looking through unless you have some time to kill. 

 

Yellow Sub Playing Area

Yellow Sub Playing Area

Yellow Sub has FNM every week, but not much else. Their play area isn’t that impressive but they still have space for about 20 people or so. 

 

Final Verdict

 

Nothing special. If you play other trading card games you should definitely check out their selection, but their MTG selection is rather limited. Similar to Hobby Station Ikebukuro, this is a store you would check out for 10-15 minutes when you were comparing sell/buy prices around town.  They might sometimes have a deal, but it definitely wouldn’t be the first place I’d go when shopping. 

STORE INFOhttp://locator.wizards.com/#brand=magic&a=location&p=Ikebukuro+Station,+Tokyo,+Japan&c=35.728926,139.71038&massmarket=no&loc=202520&orgid=11039&addrid=202520

 

Amenity Dream Ikebukuro

 

Amenity Dream from the street

Amenity Dream from the street

Amenity Dream is a bit of a walk from the other card shops in Ikebukuro. If you start from the ABC Mart area, you should first walk past it and turn left when you reach the big street with the overpass. You’ll then follow the expressway for a long 2 blocks, passing Hotel Grand City on your left. Once you get to the corner you should see the blue sign for Amenity Dream (as it is in this picture). Hopefully it’s not too hard to get in from there. 

 

Entrance at Amenity Dream

Entrance at Amenity Dream

 

I am always impressed with Amenity Dream stores. The are well lit, well organized, and their prices always seem to be pretty competitive. The Ikebukuro store didn’t fail to impress me. 

 

AD Singles

Amenity Dream Singles

The amount of MTG singles the store had impressive. I would say that they have the same amount, if not more than the Big Magic store a few blocks away. The big difference between the two is that I think Amenity Dream has more competitive prices. They seem to keep the prices and cards updated (which is more than what I can say about the Nagoya store), and they have cards from almost every format available too look through. 

AD Foils

AD Foils

Amenity Dream’s foil case was also very impressive. They were well organized and had a lot of cards in stock. There were also a lot of bulk foils you could look through nearby. If you’re looking to foil out your EDH or legacy deck, this is definitely the place to stop. Of course you’d want to stop by Big Magic first to see what they are selling their cards at, but I think in all likeliness you’ll find a better deal here. 

Play Area

Play Area

The play area was also a decent size at Amenity Dream. I’d say there was enough space for about 30 people or so. The store also has various tournaments weekly if you check their calendar, so between Big Magic and here you should have no problem finding a place to play. 

 

Final Verdict

 

Great store, well worth a visit if you’re in Ikebukuro. If you can  only go to one store in this area, make it Amenity Dream. Big Magic is a close second for MTG players, but your time would better spent looking through the cards here than at Hobby Station or Yellow Submarine. 

(UPDATE) – It’s come to my attention by foreign residents of Tokyo that the current staff of Amenity Dream, namely the manager of the store dislikes dealing with foreigners, especially if they don’t speak Japanese well. I personally didn’t have this experience when I was there because I was just looking, but take this into consideration if you want to sell some cards there or buy big money cards. The store would probably be much better off with a change of staff, and those sort of things do happen. Things could change in the future, but I wanted to let you know of the comments I received about the store just in case. 

STORE INFOhttp://locator.wizards.com/#brand=magic&a=location&p=Ikebukuro+Station,+Tokyo,+Japan&c=35.728926,139.71038&massmarket=no&loc=202509&orgid=11042&addrid=202509

 

The Adventure Continues

 

The weekend I was in Tokyo, I managed to go to quite a few MTG stores, but it barely even scratched the surface of what was available there. Next time I’d like to talk about 2 iconic stores in Tokyo that you might have heard about: Hareruya in Takadanobaba, and MINT in Shibuya. Both have unique atmospheres and are worth visiting the next time you’re in Tokyo. Look for my article about them over the next few days. If you’re interested in visiting other stores around Japan, be sure to check out my tab at the top of this website with links to other stores I have been to (https://thejapanhobbyist.com/magic-the-gathering-mtg/)! Also, if you have visited these stores and would like to add more information (or correct mine) please feel free to leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful!

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