For those that love cars, it’s hard to think of a more exciting place to visit in Japan. The events are fantastic, the shops will blow your mind, and even just being out on the street watching cars can be an amazing experience. While the country’s love for the automobile is quite well known, the Japanese have an equally strong passion for their smaller scale hobbies.Whether it’s those strange anime figurines, old video games, comic books, or anything else – Japan just might be the most hobby-obsessed nation in the world. Often this passion for hobbies crosses over with the love for automobiles and the result is one of the world’s greatest diecast, model, and RC scenes. Many of these Japanese-branded products are known and loved by hobbyists throughout the world.So for many hobbyists, visiting Japan is stepping on to the home turf of their favorite brands. Of these brands, few are more well known or more respected than Tamiya. The company has been around since 1946 and its familiar twin star logo is known by model builders and radio control fans across the planet.That brings me to the Tamiya Plamodel Factory, located in the Shinbashi district of Tokyo. It opened up a couple years ago, and I had the chance to visit for the first time last month.While Tokyo is full of amazing hobby shops, the Plamodel Factory is unique in that it’s an actual retail store that offers the entire line of Tamiya products. Spread among the Plamodel Factory’s three floors you’ll find over 4,000 different Tamiya items for sale.Upon walking in the front door, the first thing I noticed was just how large the place was. Unlike a lot of stores in Japan that can be rather cramped, there was plenty of space here to relax and get a good look at everything. I was also surprised at how nicely everything was presented. Some of this can be attributed to the newness I’m sure, but it had to be the most fashionable hobby shop I’ve ever seen.The first floor of the store is dedicated to plastic models – not just cars but motorcycles, aircraft and ships as well.This isn’t Planehunters , but I think I speak for many Speedhunters readers when I say have a strong interest in aircraft and military history. I’m sure this comes from the same place in my brain as the passion for automobiles.There’s definitley something cool about seeing highly detailed Warbird replicas sitting right alongside the cars we know and love. It’s almost like a miniature version of Goodwood!Ah yes, but back to the cars now…As I said a moment ago, the shelves are well stocked here. If it’s a car and currently produced by Tamiya, you’ll find it at the Plamodel Factory.If you are a model builder or have an interest in Japanese cars, you’ve probably had an experience with a Tamiya kit sometime in your life. Seeing these older models displayed brought back a lot of memories for me.

It’s cool, for example, to see a model of the original Zenki Nissan 180SX – a kit which I believe came out at the same time the actual car did back in the late ’80s.


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