Nintendo Store Osaka
Image: Jack Yarwood / Time Extension

Chances are if you're a gaming fan heading to Japan and staying anywhere near Kyoto, Osaka, or Tokyo, you'll probably want to visit one of Nintendo's stores at some point on your journey to stock up on a bunch of video game-related goodies.

The three stores offer a brilliant range of Nintendo-themed merchandise from the latest Nintendo Switch games and Amiibos to plushies, clothing, and homeware items. The majority of these items are inevitably based on the company's biggest hits like Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, Pikmin, Splatoon, and Animal Crossing, but there are also some other more obscure references to Nintendo's past (including a range of items based on the Nintendo Famicom and Famicom Disk System add-on, as well as a pack of Hanafuda cards referencing the company's origins).

Recently we had the good fortune of visiting Japan for 14 days (which explains this author's mysterious absence over the last couple of weeks or so) and during that time, we were lucky enough to visit all three Nintendo store locations on our journey across the country. So we thought it might be worthwhile to share some of our photos and experiences from exploring these different stores to give you an idea of what you can expect if you ever decide to visit.

Without further ado then, let's dive right in, starting with the Tokyo store.

Nintendo Tokyo (Shibuya Parco 6F)

Nintendo Tokyo was the first Japanese Nintendo store to open, launching back in November 2019. It's located on the 6th floor of the Shibuya Parco, which is a department store situated just a short walk from the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station (and a stone's throw from Tower Records, which features an impressive collection of video game CDs and vinyl).

Nintendo Store Tokyo
Image: Jack Yarwood / Time Extension

While we didn't have a tape measure to hand, this definitely felt like the smallest of the locations we visited throughout our trip (or at the very least, the most prone to crowding).

The store features two entrances on either side of the store, with one side containing a couple of displays based on Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, while the other has merchandise stands focused on Splatoon and Super Mario. There is also a big screen located on one side of the store, where you can try out the latest Switch games (at the time we visited, Endless Ocean Luminous seemed to be the main game being demoed). All of the items were divided into different sections based on what series they were related to (except for Mario which was pretty much omnipresent throughout the entire store).

Walking into the location, we were immediately struck by the Animal Crossing section, which arguably boasted the widest array of items, from cooking utensils to stationary to toys of the main cast (Tom Nook, Isabelle, Resetti, etc) as well as villagers like Chrissy, Deirdre, and Audie (which we admittedly had to google to put a name to the face). There was even a selection of Happy Home-related merchandise too, including pillows, towels, wall pockets, foldable mirrors, and more.

Besides Animal Crossing, we were also excited to come across other items elsewhere paying tribute to the Famicom Disk System, including a set of t-shirts featuring the original cover art of Metroid and The Legend of Zelda. These came in some delightfully retro-themed packaging, which would probably make a pretty decent display item in and of themselves.

Nintendo Store Tokyo
Image: Jack Yarwood / Time Extension

As this was the first Nintendo store we visited we spent a frankly ridiculous amount of time in here, just looking around, before moving on to check out the Pokémon Center as well as the official Capcom Store — both of which were located on the same floor.

Nintendo Osaka (Daimaru Umeda 13F)

Nintendo Osaka was actually the third Nintendo store we visited in Japan, but we're putting it here as it was the second Nintendo store to launch in the country. It opened its doors back in November 2022 and is (in our view) the easiest of the three locations to get to as well as the most spacious.

It is situated in Daimaru Umeda — a department store located right next to Osaka Station — on the 13th floor and can easily be reached from the South Central Exit of the train station.

Upon stepping into the store for the first time, you're immediately greeted by a bunch of statues of Nintendo characters like Inkling Girl, Link, and Mario, while the left-side wall features a range of Mario-themed merchandise like keychains, coasters, clothing, and storage boxes.

The selection was (at least to our eyes) fairly identical to the Tokyo store, but the presentation and layout were vastly improved here, with each section having enough room around it to prevent excessive crowding and give you an adequate amount of space to browse without bumping into other customers. There also seemed to be a lot more items on display as opposed to stuck in boxes or stacked on top of each other.

Perhaps, because of this, we spotted a few things we didn't notice in the Tokyo location, such as a Tears of the Kingdom glider rug, as well as some IC card holders modelled after Nintendo Famicom Disk System games (including a couple that were based on Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir).

As with the Tokyo store, all of the items were organized based on what series they belonged to.

There was also a designated section where players could try out new games for the Nintendo Switch (again, very similar to the Tokyo store), with the nearby display promoting the Nintendo Switch Online service and the console's various retro controller accessories.

This was definitely our favourite of the three stores and is again located right next to a Pokémon Center and an official Capcom store, giving you something else to do before or after.

Nintendo Kyoto (Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. 7F)

Rather surprisingly, given Nintendo's historical links to Kyoto, the Nintendo Kyoto store was the last of the three Japanese locations to appear, launching back in October 2023. It is located in Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. department store (which is pretty much situated directly on top of Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station) on the 7th floor.

Nintendo Store Kyoto
Image: Jack Yarwood / Time Extension

If you end up entering Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. from Shijō-Dori (a popular shopping street in Kyoto), you should immediately spot a large statue of Mario inside a giant warp pipe, indicating that you're in the right place (and providing the first of a few photo opportunities that the Kyoto store has to offer). From there, you'll then need to take the escalators up the many floors to get to the store itself. There's also another entrance from the nearby food hall, but it's pretty easy to get lost if you don't already know your way around.

Similar to Osaka, this shop benefits from having a lot more room than the Tokyo location, making it easier to browse at your own speed without getting in people's way.

Like the other stores, the items again were all carefully organized into various sections based on their respective franchise (with Zelda, Animal Crossing, Pikmin, Splatoon, and Kirby all having their own areas). And there's also another part of the store devoted to Nintendo Switch games and accessories, with Pikmin 4 being the primary title that was being demoed during the time that we spent exploring.

Nintendo Store Kyoto
Image: Jack Yarwood / Time Extension

Just like our visit to the Osaka store, we again ended up spotting a bunch of cool items that we somehow managed to overlook on our trips to the other stores.

Among these were a rather stylish Splatoon jacket, as well as some additional items based on Princess Peach Showtime! (which had their own display here as opposed to just being lumped in with other Mario stuff, which likely explains why they stood out more). Other than that, though, the selection didn't seem all that different between the three stores, with the main differences being the available space and how the merchandise was presented.

We would have probably ranked the Kyoto location as our second favourite Nintendo location overall, but sadly it doesn't have a neighbouring Capcom or Pokémon store in the same building (note: there is a Pokémon Center down the road on the 2nd floor of SUINA Muromachi). So, instead, we're going to wimp out and award it a joint second with the Tokyo branch.

Have you visited any of the Japanese Nintendo stores? Or are you planning on visiting? Let us know in the comments!