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Mysterious charm of eye-catching store draws people in; It is said to have several thousand items

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hitomi Ando stands in her shop full of various items in Nerima Ward, Tokyo.

Get off at Ekoda Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line and walk down Ondai Street towards Musashino Academia Musicae in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, and you’ll find a striking storefront that will make you wonder what’s inside.

Attracted by its mysterious charm, I entered the shop called “Garakutaya Neverland.”

In the shop, which rents the ground floor of a private house, I found toys and other items from the Showa era (1926-1989) stacked to the ceiling.

The store is filled with things like novelty items from pharmaceutical companies featuring Beat Takeshi when he was young, key chains with pictures of what appear to be pop stars, and pencils with company names on them, which are not as common these days.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Pencils with company names

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bottle openers in different shapes and sizes

The store, which is so small that customers have difficulty passing each other, is said to have several thousand items.

Hitomi Ando, ​​35, owner of the store, said she does not know the exact number of items.

Ando said she became interested in this and started collecting antique goods when her father took her to a flea market in the United Kingdom as a child.

When she worked as a part-time worker after leaving university, she went through her grandmother’s belongings and found many household items that no one would buy, such as cat figurines and small shelves.

Thinking it would be a shame to throw them away, she decided to start a business and opened the store in September 2013. Men and women of all ages visited the store. I think they were drawn to the store like I was.

The store limits its merchandise to older items, but buys all kinds. She travels to Asia and abroad two to three times a year to stock up on supplies during her holidays.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the store continued to attract customers, many of whom were foreigners who visited after seeing the store’s Instagram page.

Prop staff for movies and TV dramas also often come to the store looking for small items with a Showa-era feel, she said.

Even though most things are no longer necessary in our daily lives, Ando said, “Useless things add color to our lives and enrich our minds. I want this store to be a place where adults can relax.”

That’s why she tried not to turn the store into a “museum” that collects valuables.

Many of the items are unique, which makes for unique encounters.

“Please look for them,” Ando said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Old signboards and masks

Garakutaya Neverland

Address: 39-7 Sakaecho, Nerima Ward, Tokyo

Access: A 5-minute walk from Ekoda Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line or from Shin-Sakuradai Station on the Seibu Yurakucho Line.

Opening hours: 12:30 PM to 7:00 PM Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.



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