Last Friday, three of us adventured out early morning to London to take part in one of the most exciting shopping events of the year for Kawaii Lovers – The Hyper Japan Christmas Market! Dressed in Cosplay along we braved the chilly weather to bring you a report on one of the most colourful events the UK has to offer.
Where to start? Hyper Japan managed to bring together the cutest and kawaii stalls the UK has to offer – with a few visitors from abroad as well! The venue for this particular event was the Tobacco Dock in London – I thought this was rather an odd choice of a venue for the event as it’s not that easy to get too, and once off the train we did have difficulties finding the place. Once found though it was quite clear that this was going to get a little cramped – Tobacco dock is small shopping village spread across two floors – the bigger stalls were set up in the smaller shops whilst multiple smaller stalls occupied larger floor space.
You can imagine with the sheer volume of people attending that the upstairs of the venue became quite crowded very quickly. Tofu Cute was a good example of this – the floor space had Tofu Cute, Sushi Noms and Dreamy Bows and a photo booth wedged into one of the larger boutiques – great idea but it meant that there really wasn’t a lot of room to manoeuvrer once in! We found that the layout was rather confusing and we managed to miss quite a bit – we didn’t find the Live staged until nearly 4:00pm as there was no sinage for it and there didn’t appear to be anyone about to ask either.
After entering the building and having the living daylights scared out of me by Domo who popped up out of nowhere, we decided to take a look around before buying anything – Tofu Cute was already packed by this point (Only a few minutes after opening!). We headed around the top floor where an exhibit on Japanese Culture was located and found the first of the shopping areas – here we found lots of different stalls, but the main ones were a shop selling super cute clothing, a nano block stall, a booth on taking a cycling tour in Japan, NHK Live, JP Books (My personal favourite) which sold many kinds of manga and books as well some super kawaii diaries, plushies, phone cases, bags, umbrellas and more. Next was the Hyper Japan shop who were selling a varaity of items including Yuktaka sets for £20.00. Lastly there was AEON – this stall specialised in the coveted Randoseru. For those not in the know these are backpacks that are used by students in Japan, they have a very specific look and are very iconic. AEON had just about every colour under the sun, including some very cute pastel colours that would be perfect for Lolita or Fairy-kei – One of these pretties is a big investment though, just one will set you back over £200!
Outside there didn’t seem to be anything going on at that point so we headed down the steps to the food court! Down here we found Yo-sushi selling their YOLO range – this range is based on a you only live once so why not try it philosophy! The Temaki hand roll caught my eye and I tried out the tuna hand roll. I also found the usual noodle bars, takoyaki and miso soup places that have been present at every Hyper Japan event I’ve been too.
Behind the Yo-sushi stall we suddenly noticed Alpacas and realised that there was a whole shopping room full of the most kawaii stalls! In here , to name but a few we found the wig Lock Shop selling a lovely range of wigs – I had a lovely chat with the owner Nina who was only too happy to tell me about her wigs and show me the catalogue and even found me a picture online of one of the discounted wigs they were selling. Love JoJo and her kawaii plushies – she even let me have a cuddle with one of the giant Poteusa. Roxie Sweetheart whose wares included some of the most sparkly jewellery and accessories I’ve ever seen and Shinjuku Rose who hand make beautiful lolita wear to name but a few. We also found that there was a Genki gear stall selling pony ears by the famous cosplayer Yaya Han and more stalls selling action figures. My favourite stall in here was selling lots and lots of cute anime figures phone cases and hand made boxes – everything was so colourful and sparkly. Other stalls included kigu’s, more gothicy looking clothing, stationary, beads, jewellery and accessories.
After wandering around a bit more we found the Anime/Gaming area where the traditional food shops, table wear and Japan Centre were in – here you could find some very sweet cakes, traditional desserts such as Doryaki and the Japan Centre’s snack offerings – they also had some fresh Melon Pan and custard buns for sale too! Ai My Maid cafe was also located all the way down here – they had a Butler waiting to seat you so you’d be able to find them. Other stalls in this area had Pokemon, Anime and other related goodies. There was even a DDR machine to play on!
Back upstairs we headed to Tofu Cutes area to be overloaded with pastel! I love these shops and the lovely staff. In here you could find just about anything your kawaii heart desires – snacks, candy, lunch boxes, plushies, shoes, clothing, Sailor Moon items and a Japanese candy tour to boot! What more could you want? A picture with a giant plushie? Don’t worry they had you covered with their Amuse photo booth!
Hyper Japan was one of the most fun events I’ve attended in a long time – this article barely scratches the surface of what was available to see but we’d be here for hours if I wrote about the every little details! (There were other stalls live events, classes, tea parties and Sake tasting to name a few) Did you get to attend Hyper Japan over the weekend? What was your favourite part? Let us know in the comments below.