Sunday, April 26, 2015

The layouts at the new Kato Store

One of the things that makes the Kato shop different is it's operating N and HO scale layouts.  What better way to promote your products than to show them set up and operating.

This view is of the largest N scale layout.

That's a lot of Unitrak !
It would have been great if they had a lot of trains running on this layout but when I was there they only had a couple of trains running.

As most of my photos of moving train models tend to come out blurry, I chose to photograph some of the many detailed scenes on the layouts.

Modeling a station scene in Tokyo, you need taxi cab models and lots of people.

In the upstairs part of the store, there were several smaller layouts and displays along with enough room that they could host club setups of modular layouts.  I have no idea if they actually do that.

One thing that caught my eye was this display of a section of clear acrylic pipe with a platform inside wide enough for a double track section of Unitrak - for a Subway ?

While not all of the buildings on the layout are weathered or detailed, this small group of older style buildings were very well done.  Are those solar panels on the roofs ?

The Kato Hobby Center is certainly a great place to visit when in Tokyo.  In my previous post, I show a map of how to get there from the nearest subway station.  Here is another link to a great collection of photos done by John Sing in 2008 of  the old store and also has photo directions on how to get there from the subway station.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shopping at the new Kato Store

My first visit to the Kato Hobby Center in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo was in 1999.  I went again in 2005 and both those times I took the Sebu-Shinjuku line from Shinjuku as I was not yet comfortable with the subway system.  This required a bit of walking up hill from Araiyakushimae Station.  The past couple of trips I used my shopping time to explore some the the hobby shops in other parts of town such as in Akihabara.  On this trip I was aware that the shop had been complety rebuilt since the last time I have visited and was better than ever.  Also I needed to find a replacement for a broken coupler on one of my Japanese Shinkansen trains so this was high on my list.  By now being more comfortable with the subway system, I took the subway this time only needing one transfer.

This map shows my route from the Toei Araiyakushimae station to the Kato Hobby Center.

It's a short walk on level ground from exit A1 of the station to the Kato store.

This is the view approaching the shop from the subway station.

This was an entirely new building since the last time I had been here.  Only the railcar in front is the same.

As I was looking for a replacement for a broken coupler on my N700A power car I was drawn to the parts aisle.  In the old shop, much of these parts were behind the counter but it seems it's all self service now.

And I was not disappointed.  I found the part in this aisle, picked up two packs of each type of coupler for this train so I would have some spares.

As these seem to be positioned in the aisle by part number, it's helped that I had the part numbers for what I wanted written down.

Besides having Kato products, this is a full line hobby shop.   It's quite spacious inside with wide aisles.

As they did with the old shop, there are also operating N scale and HO scale layouts.  I will show something of that in my next post.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Most recent visit to Japan

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  That's because Nona and I have been traveling in Asia.  Our trip took us to Osaka and Hiroshima in Japan, Shanghai and Hong Kong in China, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and then Singapore.  We ended the trip with a week in Tokyo.  This was my first time to any countries in Asia besides Japan.  I found each place we visited to be interesting and a little different from any other places I've been too.

This was the view from our hotel room window near the Hazomon Metro station in central Tokyo.  That's the new Tokyo Skytree in the distance.

Because we were so close to a Metro station and the connections were good to everywhere we were going, we actually went for the full week not riding any surface trains in Tokyo.

Whenever we have visited Japan I've always come away with new experiences, new modeling ideas, and new trains that I wanted to buy.  This latest trip is no exception, and I'll be expanding on some of this in future posts.