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The 4th GACHA-GACHA Boom is Happening Now! Adults Take Center Stage at a Capsule Toy Specialty Stand in Shinbashi Station

Translated from Japanese by
Gacha-gacha, those capsule toys we all loved as children, are currently enjoying a boom in popularity. As a result, not only are there capsule toy stands available in toy stores and shopping malls, there are even specialized capsule toy stands located in train stations. We visited the KenEle Stand at Shimbashi Station to find out how grown-ups can still enjoy these toys.

Real capsule toys are very popular among adults.

Capsule toys are often associated with children. However, the market is growing thanks to the 4th capsule toy boom that started around 2020. There are now specialty stores catering to adults. One such store is KenEle Stand in Shinbashi Station.

The KenEle stand at Shimbashi station has 70-80 machines set up in the station corridor. What are the current trends in capsule toys? According to Iwata Itsuka of Ken-Elephant PR, who manages the store, the key is offering capsule toys that are "real".

"By 'real,' I mean those items and characters that exist in real life, but have been miniaturized in toy versions. For example, instead of fictitious cute sweets, we have miniaturized milk bread that is made by an actual bakery in Nagano Prefecture. In addition to food-themed toys, a variety of other categories of goods have appeared, including stationery, interior design goods, cars, and more. Three-dimensional versions of two-dimensional characters are also popular."

One of the most popular items with the older generation is miniatures that embody nostalgic Showa-era (1926-1989) retro items.

For instance, cream sodas and parfaits served in cafés, or goods and characters that were popular when today's adults were children or students often sell out quickly after they go on sale. Some of them have been released as a series, often with a third or fourth release. Recently, retro goods from the Heisei Era (1989-2019), rather than the Showa Era, have also been launched, offering something that can be enjoyed not only by those in their 40s and 50s, but also by those in their 30s.

Capsule toys now include several series that are sure to delight adults. The following is our selection of the hottest items.

Check out the hottest and most popular capsule toys

●Showa Retro Items

These are miniature Showa-era retro goods. Some capsule toys and series of toys are related to coffee shops, such as the "Scenes From a Coffee Shop" series, which includes a signboard and chairs from a coffee shop, and "Junko no Amaimono" which features cream sodas and parfaits. Besides these, goods related to public bathhouses, shaved ice, and nostalgic home appliances have also been made into capsule toys.

Coffee Shop Miniature Collection - Scenes From a Coffee Shop Vol. 2

●Nostalgic Characters

Characters and goods from the past, mainly from the 80's, made into miniatures. Characters that we used to enjoy in the past, such as "Yoshinori's Stuffed Toys," "Papip Penguins," and "Okiagari Poron-chan," are now available in miniature form.

Yoshitoku's Stuffed Toys Collection

●Miniaturized Characters

Oshaberi! Big Clapper

In addition to nostalgic characters, miniaturized versions of familiar product characters that still exist today are also available. In addition to the "Big Clapper" clapping robot, there are also two-dimensional characters such as "candy characters" like Umaibo and Yocchan Ika that have been turned into three-dimensional figures.

Tips for a fun shopping experience at the KenEle Stand

Visitors to the KenEle Stand can be overwhelmed by the large number of items available. Here are some tips on how to make the best of your visit.

TIP 1: Check the displays first.

The KenEle stand has six displays between the many boxes. The displays are often decorated with new products that are hot right now or popular series that have been re-released. Check out the displays first to see if you can find what you are looking for. You can also find out about promotions such as sticker giveaways.

TIP 2: Check out new and re-released products.

New and re-released products are identified by a sticker prominently displayed on their box. You can find out what products are the most popular by looking for these stickers.

TIP 3: Buy campaign products to get a free gift!

* Currently, this sticker gift campaign has ended at the Ken Elestand Shimbashi Station store.

Staff members are stationed at the KenEle stand to replace out-of-stock items as they become available. In addition, customers who wish to take advantage of gift promotions for purchases of multiple items are welcome to ask for a staff member to get their gifts immediately. Staff members are also available to help customers with any problems, such as machine jams.

How to enjoy capsule toys

●Pairing miniatures and originals together
Taking pictures of miniature capsule toys side by side with the original items they were based on is a lot of fun, using a smartphone or other device. For example, a miniature milk bread and a real milk bread, or a real piece of stationery and its miniature counterpart. This experience becomes even more enjoyable if you are a fan of the original items.

●Create a miniature world and share it on social media.
We highly recommend trying to create a miniature world by combining capsule toy interior goods with sweets and other items. You can also find dedicated accounts on social media such as Instagram and Twitter where people take photos of their capsule toys and post them. Take a look at those accounts first and start sharing your own pictures!

●Discover the origins of the capsule toys you like
There are several examples of local handicrafts and foods unique to the region that have been made into miniatures. If you find a cute miniature, why not take a trip to visit the local area where the real product comes from? Another fun aspect of capsule toys is that they reveal a whole new world of possibilities.

●They make great souvenirs!
Capsule toys are a popular choice for foreign tourists. If you have friends visiting Japan, show them around the capsule toy stand at Shinbashi Station. It is a good place to stop by at the end of their trip to get rid of their spare change, and the toys make for good little Japanese souvenirs.

*Current sales conditions may differ.
The KenEle stand is located inside Shinbashi Station. Stopping by for a short break between outings or while transferring trains on your way to work is another way to enjoy the capsule toys. Please be sure to stop by if you happen to pass through Shinbashi Station.
《Ken Elestand Shimbashi Station Store》
Address: 2-17-14 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Near the north ticket gate on the 1st floor of JR Shimbashi Station (inside the ticket gate)
Hours: 10:00-21:00

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