The first time we looked around Tokyo Station in 2008 (to find something to eat), it was a building site. On our next trip, it was transformed and the downstairs shopping area now hosts a whole street of shops devoted to Japan’s favourite characters. So, of course, it’s called Character Street. It’s part of the First Avenue complex which also includes Okashi Land for candy and Ramen Street.
There are stores dedicated to popular characters including Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Totoro, Miffy, Tamagotchi, Rement and Pokemon, plus TV channel stores for Domokun, Doraemon, Bananya etc. There are usually some pop-up shops too – while I was there, The Very Hungry Caterpillar had a store.
The shop fittings are also super-cute and you’ll get special carrier bags and products with the shop logo so you can show off that you’ve been. While much of the stock is available in stores across Japan, you should find a few exclusive items and things themed around Tokyo and the Shinkansen.
If you only have a short time in Tokyo, Character Street is a great place to see a lot of things in one place. Otherwise, you’re bound to pass through Tokyo Station many times during your travels, so it’s definitely worth popping over to Character Street to pick up some fun souvenirs.
How to get there
Character Street is in the First Avenue area downstairs in Tokyo Station. The entrance is outside the ticket barriers by the Yaesu and Marunouchi Exits, and will be signposted inside the station if you’re arriving on a train. Once downstairs there are maps and signs directing you to each area. Don’t forget to visit Okashi Land for Pocky, Calbee and Puccho candy or stop off to refuel in Ramen Street. If you continue on to the Damairu department store, their basement food area has a KitKat Chocolatory for special flavours.
Last updated: 21 August 2016