• Shona McCarthy

Pokemon Centre, Kyoto

(Taken by me, 2019.)

While I was still in Kyoto, I decided I wanted to see the Kyoto Pokemon Center. I wasn't really sure what I was going to find once I got there. Maybe lots of ardent Pokemon fans playing Pokemon Go together via their phones. Maybe people with stuffed Pokemon toys taking them up to a counter manned by women dressed as Nurse Joy. What I found was arguably a lot better and a lot more interesting.

The Kyoto Pokemon Center is sometimes called the most Traditional of the Pokemon Centers in Japan. One can easily pass a Pokemon Center in Kansai Osaka Airport, so I didn't bother to document it so much. But truly the Kyoto Pokemon Center is much more unique.

I didn't know that the official Pokemon brand had collaborated with Kyoto Artisans to make official Pokemon kimono fabric. Or that you could buy cute little Pikachu dolls dressed in kimono with flowers on their heads.

But I was also amazed at the range of merchandise in the store. Just about every pokemon product you could ever imagine was there. Pokemon pasta, pokemon instant noodles, pokemon cosmetics, pokemon toiletries. Clothing, toys, figurines. You name it, it's there. Within myself I'm not that much of a Pokemon fan. I mean, I'll watch the odd episode with friends, but I'm not obsessed with it the way some people are. But visiting this store, I did feel tempted to go a little Pokemon crazy. If you scroll through the Instagram Posts I made above, you'll see the amazing things I saw in that place. There was a metal case full of chocolate snacks I nearly bought. But my brother talked me out of it. It was probably for the best, since it turned out there was a kimono exhibition in the same building that day that I wanted to go to but didn't understand the location. So, coming across it through serendipity felt like a miracle. But I'll write more about it another time.

_-~TIPS~-_ When you get to the Pokemon Centre in Kyoto, it is part of a building that contains other rooms and functions. This makes it a little tricky to find from the street, but all you have to do is go up some escalators. When you look it up on Google maps, it may appear to have permanently closed, but that is only the old location. The new location was open while I visited and appears to still open everyday from 10am to 8pm. When you arrive, the way you expect to be in will be the exit, and you will see a man guiding people into the true entrance, which you would have expected to be the exit. Budget for your visit, so that you can make a purchase if you see something you simply must have.

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