Heading back to LA is always a special treat for the boyfriend and myself. It’s not often that we get to go back home for a visit, so we were really excited. Unfortunately, tickets to LA are not exactly the cheapest, so to save ourselves some money we opted for a 7 hour layover in Japan. No, layovers aren’t ideal, but we had a plan.
It’s rare we find ourselves in a position to hit another country on the way to… well, another country but we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. The opportunity to check out Tokyo before we hit LA, all with airfare that would be cheaper than heading straight to LA.
First we made sure that we were having a layover at Haneda because it’s just a hop and a skip away from Tokyo. Narita is more of a 3 hour trudge, 5 to 6 for a round trip. Next we needed time, so we opted for a 7 hour layover. While 7 hours sounds like a lot of time, it really isn’t much when you factor in checking in and out of the airport plus travel time to and from Tokyo. Anything less and you’re looking a really short trip outside the airport before you have to head back.
As far as where we were going, we decided on Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City shopping centre, which just so happens to be home to Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo, the largest Pokémon Center in Japan! Purely coincidental I assure you (*pure lies*). Apparently going to the Pokémon Gym and 2 different Pokémon Centers did not quite satisfy my Poké itch.
The shopping center was quite massive, but we didn’t have too much difficulty locating are target. We followed some escalators up to the 2nd floor. When we noticed the Pokéballs painted over us, we knew we were heading in the right direction.
Finally we reached the Pokémon Center and we were immediately be greeted by a statute of Pikachu riding a Charizard like the khaleesi he is. In fact, there were a bunch of epic looking statues all over the store, but trying to take pictures without a ton of people in it was almost impossible. The place was packed with fans of all ages. There were adults with shopping baskets filled to the brim and kids holding more than their little paws could carry. It was nerdvana and I’d never felt more at home.
The merchandise was ridiculous! There was so much to browse through that if you didn’t look carefully enough, you’d be sure to miss some pretty awesome finds. For a while now, I had been pining for a Mimikyu plush so I was beyond thrilled when a found a pile of super soft Mimikyus within 5 min of entering the store. I just don’t know what it is about this evil little dude that makes him so lovable, but I had to have him!
Looking around the store, they had a lot of cool collaboration items and stuff done in different art styles. I really liked the floral and pastel items from the Pokémon Loves It’s Demo collaboration. I just had to pick up one of their cute coin purses. There was also a section of merchandise that was all white with silver line art characters. I picked up a water bottle from there. I also found a bunch of stuff all done in the art style of Powderpuff Girls called “Pokémon Pop.” Although I really wanted to nab something from there too, I was slowly accruing quite the bill and had to show a little self control (just a little).
In the end I picked up a couple of things for my sister (as a graduation gift) and some snacks that came in these really adorable tins. When we went, it was all about Eevee and her Eeveevolutions. From Plushies to clothing and accessories, you name it, they had it. Although we didn’t buy any Eevee stuff, we got some beautiful Eeveevolution lithographs for free with our purchase.
There were also a bunch of gachapon (capsule toy) machines at the front of the store. So, before we left we each got a capsule and we were not disappointed. I ended up with a cute Ditto style Eevee and the boyfriend got the Alolan Dugtrio. I think they look like some weird Fabio trio, but he was super excited about it.
After our adventure at the Pokémon Center, we had some time to walk around the mall a bit and check out a few more stores. The boyfriend got me this really cute Eeyore in a jar from the Disney Store. I call him Pickled Eeyore. Why is he pickled you ask? No clue. All I know is that when I open the jar, the Eeyore smells like candy. Mmmm candy.
On our way out, we grabbed a quick drink from this cute Moomin cafe and headed back to the airport. All in all I’d say it was a layover well spent. We were able to enjoy ourselves in Tokyo without feeling too rushed and we got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare. It felt like a mini vacation within our actual trip. So if you’re a Pokénerd like me and happen to have a few hours in Tokyo, you should 100% check this place out. You won’t regret it (though your wallet might).
- 10:00am~8:00pm, Everyday
- Sunshine City Alpa 2F
3-1-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-6002
- Sunshine City Alpa 2F
- +81 3-5927-9290
- Website (Japanese Only)
Good idea to do something fun during a layover. You were smart to use Haneda rather than Narita.
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