I went to NYC with my friend Katie primarily to visit the Rilakkuma Pop-Up Shop, but we added a few more stops to fill up our day in the city. Rilakkuma is a Japanese kawaii / cutesy retail chain and we sought out other stores that had a similar vibe to it. Our itinerary for the day was:
Rilakkuma Pop-Up Shop
Line Friends New York Times Square Store
Kinokuniya New York
We only chose to visit a few of these stores because we don’t live that close to the city and had to keep in mind the time when the buses leave. Unfortunately, public transportation is not plentiful in the area I live in. I’m grateful that there are any at all, however, the bus only stops at a few locations here and at certain times; if I miss one, the waiting time for the next one is between 1.5-3 hours.
1. Rilakkuma Pop-Up Shop
This pop-up shop is open in NYC from September 1 until January 15. Rilakkuma is like another kawaii icon like Hello Kitty from Japan created by a company called San-X. I was so excited when I saw it’s opening on the East Coast and I immediately planned a trip with my friend. The store, like most stores in the city, was incredibly small but was jam packed with a bunch of adorable goodies from floor to ceiling! You can buy things from kawaii stationary and plushies to onesies and dinnerware! They even had a little corner as a plushie pit and dedicated it as a selfie or photo booth!
2. Line Friends New York Time Square Store
Line Friends is a bigger store and contains a lot more characters with different personalities! Again, they sell a variety of products from home ware, apparel, and outdoor items! I’ve always wanted a huge plushie for my room but I have absolutely nowhere to put it… plus, the price tags for them were unfortunately waaay out of my budget! I did buy a cute little “Choco” (a brown bear with a pink bow) coin purse ($10 USD) for a friend and a black and white baseball long sleeve ($19) for myself. I spotted an adorable fleece pajama pant but they only had sizes left in M and L and for $35!
3. Kinokuniya New York
Kinokuniya is a bookstore with three floors that sells Japanese goods such as stationary, manga comic books, and collectibles. I spent most of my time here since there was a plethora of things to look at and we hung out at the café on the third floor. Aside from the regular bookstore section, I found a couple of interesting stuff there too, like cat hats (nemo cap, little pirate hats, winter beanies, etc.), and peculiar wooden nude dolls. I loved spending time at the basement and third level the most, as the basement had all the stationary goods (and a few Pusheen plushies) and the third level contained volumes and volumes of manga, anime goods, and Café Zaiya.
I definitely spent the most in this store and surprisingly it wasn’t on anime collectibles and plushies. I bought an awesome pack of gel pens to help with organizing my blog calendar, as well as a cat tea infuser. In addition, I bought a few starter planters for mom as a surprise, as she loves planting flowers and herbs for the house.
Ultimately I spent the most on food because the food in Café Zaiya was so good! They serve prepackaged food like Salmon and Tuna onigiri, chicken and pork katsu “bento” lunches, beef bowls, and more. They also serve milk and juice-based tea with different topping options! Katie and I ate our lunch there – she got a chicken sandwich with peach tea while I got a chicken katsu curry bento with matcha boba tea and matcha tiramisu.
The only thing I found annoying was the guy that was sitting in front of us at the cafe who was too impatient and openly made it known he wanted his friend to sit in our seats when we’re done eating so he can talk to him about girl problems. Really, could you have made that more obvious? But, I digress.
I bought more food after that so I could bring it to work the following week. People were literally staring at me because I was stacking bento lunches in my arms, almost tall enough to block my view of getting to the counter!
This was a last minute place we went to right before we caught the bus and we went in mainly because it was on the way to the bus terminal. MUJI is like a Japanese IKEA, and I love it. Sadly, we rushed through the store because we had to catch the 3:30 bus, but I managed to buy Geranium scented essential oil and an eyelash curler (to curl the little short lashes that I have).
Would you visit / Have you visited any of these stores?