Location: Akihabara District, Tokyo, and Nipponbashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka.
While in Tokyo and Osaka, I visited Volks, a chain of large hobby shops in Japan. Volks is a large hobby shop spanning six floors of a building, same in both Tokyo and in Osaka, with each floor dedicated to a category of hobby such as Gundam, sexy Anime figures, trains, airplanes, etc. I had a long day of walking in Tokyo when I visited Volks there and so I skipped few floors while looking specifically for scale model airplanes. However, in Osaka, I did do a detailed look-see. As such, I will concentrate on sharing my experience at the Volks store in Osaka but touching lightly on the Tokyo store.
Volk Tokyo ボークス 秋葉原ホビー天国
There are eight floors to this building. The first floor and basement floor are home to rental showcases where exhibitors sell their figures. The fifth floor offering mecha-related products, the fourth floor offering bishoujo figures, prizes and shokugan toys on the third floor, character goods on the second floor, and so on. Which leaves only one floor for scale models which I find sparse and mainly featuring the Zuoukei-Mura full line of products. Hence, I find this store lacking in terms of scale models.
Volk, DenDen Town, Osaka
Volk in Osaka, on the hand, is a scale modeller’s heaven.
Volk Osaka is located in the ‘DenDen Town’, which is a 15 minutes walking distance from Namba. Refer to Photo Guides to Volks Store for directions. It is very easy to find. It is the tallest building with a blue top and big yellow text that says ‘VS’. DenDen Town is a district of few blocks which sells Japanese anime figures, Marvel comic figures, toy guns, sex toys, etc. Volk has seven floors. See photo below for details.
Each floor of this building is probably double the size of the Volk store in Tokyo. More importantly, Floor 4 and 5 is seriously dedicated to scale models and it is the best hobby shop I’ve seen thus far.
1st and 2nd Floor: Anime Figures
4th Floor: AFV
The 4th floor is for armour (AFV) models and the supplies for that endeavour of the hobby. It is extensively well stocked and even has a demonstration area.
5th Floor: Aircrafts and Ships
This floor sells ships and airplanes. Again, a full product line of the Zuoukei-Mura product are on display in several display cases/tables. This product line is rich with many accessories from Zuokei-Mura to enrich the modelling experience such as figures in both 1:32 and 1:48, cast metal landing gears, paints and tools, etc.
Large line of kits from Airfix, Hasegawa, Tamiya, GWH, Kinetic, Eduard, Revell, and many more are available here.
Very impressive collection of finished models on display in this shop. I spent 30 minutes or more just looking at the models.
Without a doubt, if one can only visit one hobby store during a trip to Japan, one must go to Volk in Osaka. In addition, when you go to this store, be certain to bring along your passport as the clerk at this store will fill out the VAT exemption form for you right there at the counter when you pay and you don’t have to pay the 8% tax.