More chic than geek, a new shop selling train-themed items is set to open in the middle of next month in Akihabara Station. Up-and-coming new designers such as Toshio Tamura and Hitoshi Takayama have been recruited to give the goods on sale a sleek, modern look, making the store appealing not just to unashamed train nerds but also to trendier customers who harbor a secret passion for anything railroad related.
Tamura has designed the Line & Number Series, which includes a hip black shoulder bag with a glossy finish. The bag’s white line motif represents the junction of two rail tracks, while the numerous zips also recall rail tracks. If you can’t stretch to the bag, which costs ¥1,680, then a wallet or pass case with the same design will do very nicely.
The K-4 ki Series by Hitoshi Takayama celebrates the various famous rail routes of Tokyo, including of course Tokyo’s most famous circular route, the Yamanote line. The Yamanote Line theme folder comes in the line’s distinctive green color and bears the number of the train line’s rolling stock.
It wouldn’t be a Japanese store without something cute on sale, and kawaii aficionados can get their fix by buying cute railroad-themed cookies that come in a variety of shapes including train fronts, station stops and, my favorite, train ticket stubs. Reflecting the fact that this is Akihabara, there’s also a maid dress cookie that’s a little more otaku than cool.
The shop will also stock postcards, train-related literature and photography books. If you’re planning a visit, you can find it in the Artre Akihabara Building at the Electric Street entrance from mid-November. If you can’t make it to Akihabara to get your fix of railroad merchandise, try visiting JR’s online store, which sells all manner of goodies from Suica Penguin rubik’s cube clocks to old school station master’s watches.