Japan is the origin of a few unique LEGO experiences, including LEGO CUUSOO, the Muji LEGO and over thirty LEGO Click Brick stores around the country. As I wrote previously, I recently had the opportunity to visit one of these Click Brick stores.
LEGO Click Brick (not to be confused with the Click Brick clone brand) is an official LEGO store chain, operated by a franchise partner of LEGO Japan. Not only do these specialty stores sell a wider-than-normal selection of current and sometimes hard to find LEGO sets, they also feature extensive LEGO apparel and lifestyle collections. There are also numerous official as well as MOC (my own creation) LEGO display models, play areas with plentiful bricks and the stores even host LEGO competitions and exhibitions.
The Click Brick store in Odaiba was the closest to a LEGO heaven I have come since visiting Legoland in Billund, Denmark as a child. This was almost a fashion boutique experience, with plenty of MOCs thrown around for good measure. It didn’t look or feel like a toy store, it was more of a lifestyle shop. More importantly, the generous use of MOC displays meant that the store looked very unique too – usually the LEGO section of any shop looks the same, but not this. Customizations extended even to the products, with some small MOC mods on sale (more on this in a later post).
My favorite feature was the minifig station, where you could build your own minifigure from assorted parts and then put it on display on a shelf. You could also purchase the minifigure you made or pick someone else’s design from the shelf and buy that. I also appreciated the wide selection of LEGO clothing, keyrings, magnets, party kits and all sorts of rarely seen accessories. You could literally decorate youself and most of your home with stuff from this store. The regular LEGO set selection was formidable too, they even had the Kingdoms’ farewell set already, Kingdoms Chess.
No story about Click Brick stores would be complete without the competitions, called Original Model Contests. Indeed, many of the MOCs on display were competition entries. Here is how it works: Build your own creation (using only LEGO bricks, no DUPLO or clones), adhering to certain size-restrictions (16×16 cm base, 30 cm height limit). Then take your creation and a picture of it to a LEGO Click Brick store, fill out an entry form and leave the lot there. Your model will be put on display in the store and visitors can then vote for their favorite. Winners receive fame, honor and LEGO products/vouchers.