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Retro Japan

Posted by Danny Choo On Thu 2012/11/29 22:11 JST In Places to visit in Japan
 303  850883 ja zh

I've always been interested in the Showa period which lasted from 1926 through 1989. Probably the biggest era of change for Japan.
Had the pleasure of visiting a toy store in Asakusa called Kusou Zakka - a spot in Tokyo where time stands still in the Showa period.

The shop is located in a residential area and if it wasn't for the sign that's displayed outside during opening hours, one would be hard pushed to find it.
The closest stations are Iriya and Asakusa - map here >
Address: 東京都台東区千束2-30-1
Tel: (03)3872-1166

They open at 11 and close at 7.

Closed on Tuesdays.

Went along with the Kira Kira film crew.

This is Kamiya-san - an expert on the Showa Period who has also been involved in overseeing the sets for films like Always - a load of Japanese Showa history to be had - includes the gorgeous Maki Horikita too.

Toy technology of the past and today - about 40 years difference here.

During the Showa period, materials were scarce in Japan so makers like Tamiya used wood for some of the parts in their models like this one of the battleship Atago.
The ironic thing was that many Japanese families couldn't afford to buy such luxury toys and most of the sales were generated from overseas customers - which is why you see English printed on the box.

Another example of how scarce materials were in Japan at the time. Many toys were made of recycled material like this ticket puncher.
Now we have automated ticket barriers but all tickets were punched back then which lead to very crowded stations like this one.

And here are the tickets - the words "Children's Railways" printed on the right of the ticket.

Kusou Zakka is an incredible place - not only is it packed with toys from the Showa Period, the shelving is also from the same period too.

The shop even has an old nostalgic smell too. I've always wanted to be able to step back in time to the Showa Period with a camera and it looks like I reached my time traveling goal this week.

Kamiya-san is a delightful man to talk to who is full of knowledge to share. He also does a load of consulting on his subject of specialty too. Another example of somebody who has been able to make a living from his passion.

What characters are you familiar with that you can spot in this shop?

Me still got a few Star Wars figures from the late 70's - all unboxed though. What sort of retro figures do you have stashed at home?

Next up as part of the Kira Kira filming is a toy shop from the Showa period which is currently filled with modern day toys - Kiddy Land in Harajuku.


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