The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be a year away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.
Tokyo is famous for many reasons: Michelin-starred restaurants, ancient temples and shrines dotting its streets alongside modern skyscrapers, top-tier shopping and entertainment. But one of its most recognizable exports is the anime, manga and cartoon characters that appear on television screens around the world.
Underground in the Chiyoda ward’s Tokyo Station is a shopping corridor that offers adorable souvenirs based on these beloved Japanese characters. It’s called Tokyo Character Street, and while it may be a top destination for kids, it’s a must-see for anyone who’s a fan of Japanese pop culture.
The corridor is home to 33 shops that are each themed around a character or brand. From Domo, the iconic brown monster who stars on one of Japan’s national TV stations, to Pikachu, the star of the Pokémon video, TV and movie series, there is a sticker, plush, journal, candy bar or keychain for everyone.
Tokyo Character Street is a great destination choice for travelers with time to kill in Tokyo Station. To get there, enter via the Yaesu North Gate, which is on the opposite side of Tokyo Station as the popular Marunouchi district. Take the stairs down to the basement level to enjoy the pastel décor and smiling animated faces.
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Pikachu is featured prominently in shops on Tokyo's Character Street.