Nakano Broadway is an important hub among the more obsessed fans of anime and manga looking further afield than Akihabara. Some say it is where the more diehard Otaku goes to get their fix. Getting there is easy. Only one station from Shinjuku, all you need to do is cross the road just outside the North Exit of Nakano station, and then walk under a high-ceilinged cathedral type roof for about 100 meters until you get to the huge sign, “Nakano Broadway”. You can’t miss it.
The shopping arcade is over 5 levels, a basement with 4 levels above, and is not limited to anime and manga. There are places to eat, clothes, jewellery, watches, and a multitude of speciality shops all tucked away in various sections of the shopping arcade. Visitors can browse through these arcades to find something interesting or a place to relax in and grab a bite to eat. The anime and manga can be found on levels 2 and 3, where Mandarake stores line the arcade which twists and turns like some labyrinth filled with various collectibles. Mandarake is one of the biggest sellers of anime and manga as well as DVDs, CDs and figurines. Nakano Broadway is the home of Mandarake. So, if you recognise anime and manga to be one of the most distinguishing features of Japanese pop-culture, then you would say that Nakano Broadway is a hub on the cultural landscape. A place where fans will make a pilgrimage to sooner or later.
Anime and manga offer a unique window into the imagination of Japan. It’s a part of the staple diet for many Japanese growing up and ranges from cartoons that most foreigners would be familiar with, whether they knew it was Japanese anime or not, to the wildest of thoughts laid bare in ink. It can get pretty weird. But it can also be pretty cool. It’s one of those curious things that you can get fully immersed in, as Otakus do, or just watch from afar in slight puzzlement if it’s not your thing. And even if you are a little indifferent, some exposure is almost a mandatory requirement for those wanting to gain greater insights into Japanese pop-culture.
These aren’t just comic books, movies or toys to your hardcore Otaku aficionado, it’s a way of life. What originated around 100 years ago has now become a popular subculture with a legion of zealots willing to spend a lot of money on their passion. Nakano Broadway can give you a glimpse into this interesting subculture with fans milling around and browsing through what seems to be an endless amount of anime and manga, and shelves upon shelves of figurines. Prices can range from a few dollars to thousands, depending on how rare and sought after an item may be. Nakano Broadway is really a must for anime or manga fans. And even if you aren’t a big fan, it’s worth having a look and soaking up the atmosphere of this Otaku mecca.