okyu Hands certainly isn’t the only store in Tokyo that can keep visitors captivated for an entire day with its dazzling potpourri of products, but it may the most diverse of them. Sure, Mandarake sells a huge amount of manga, and Kiddy Land’s toy selection is unmatched, but the product selection at Tokyu Hands is simultaneously hypnotizing and bewildering: the store sells bicycles, luggage, stationery, costumes, novelty gifts, pet supplies, cosmetics, toys, electronics, kitchen utensils, party supplies, and much, much more. The store may be the only one in the world where a customer can buy a chainsaw, charcoal toothpaste, a train-shaped piggy bank, a sexy maid costume, ceramics, scallops-flavored potato chips, a USB-powered robot animal pet, Japanese food-themed playing cards, cookie cutters, and sushi earrings, in a single visit. When I first walked into Tokyu Hands, I felt like I had walked into a Target from a parallel universe, run by a mad Japanese scientist.
If all of that isn’t compelling enough, the Ikebukuro location contains a “cat café” called Nekobukuro, where 20 cats roam free. No, I didn’t understand it either. I mostly hate directionless shopping, and I still recommend putting aside at least three hours to explore this store. And, yes, I bought sushi earrings for my friend — I couldn’t help myself. WB
I visited the store at Toshima, Higashiikebukuro, 1−28−10, Tokyo, Japan — however, there are at least five stores in the city. +81 3-3980-6111. www.tokyu-hands.co.jp.
To read the whole story of the trip on which I discovered Tokyu Hands, read: How I became a Japanese teen heartthrob — Examining Japan's obsession with cuteness.