The last time I visited Super Autobacs in Tokyo, it was way back in 2012, that trip was when I discovered the bookstore section in the store had closed and since then, I’ve not gone back. With my previous trips to Tokyo mostly coinciding with the Tokyo Auto Salon, there was no need to visit Super Autobacs anymore. Until now.
Why now? Well, in case you haven’t heard, the Shinonome branch of Super Autobacs is no more, and in its place, is a totally revamped superstore called, A-Pit Autobacs Shinonome.
I’ve been following A-Pit for quite a while on their Instagram page and have always wanted to make the trip over. With a little time on our hands after an awesome day out at teamLab Planets and much shopping done in Odaiba, we took a quick train ride on the Rinkai line over to Shinonome for a look.
Getting to A-Pit isn’t too difficult once you are on the Rinkai train line, it’s only a short 5-minute walk away and you can pretty much see it from across the Shinonome train station platforms.
It’s pretty amazing to see just how much has changed since my last visit. Super Autobacs has transformed itself from a car geek’s paradise to a place where even non-car people can enjoy visiting. The focus is now angled towards a more “lifestyle-Esque” shopping experience.
The little bookstore that closed has now returned with a vengeance, with the backing of giant bookstore chain, Tsutaya. Yes, the same group behind our favourite bookstore at Daikanyama T-site.
While the key focus is still primarily on automotive literature, Tsutaya’s partnership with the Autobacs group has brought along an entire change to the items on sale within the store, while still being related to automotive culture, visitors can now buy camping gear, automotive apparel, toys and garage equipment! For bored wives or girlfriends, there’s even a Starbucks located inside the store. Imagine that, a Starbucks inside an Autobacs!
That said, there are still actual car parts that can be purchased by automotive geeks.
I bet your local bookstore doesn’t have an HKS built GT-R engine on display, does it? I’ll bet even your local Autobacs doesn’t have one either!
With most of the retail floor now taken up by lifestyle good, it does mean that the selection of parts or car-related products is not as abundant as it used to be. Which also meant that sadly, I couldn’t find a Momo Prototipo to buy. (I did manage to get one in the end elsewhere!)
The things on sale have definitely become more “casual”.
For those still keen on some actual aftermarket bits for their cars, most of the good-stuff are located on a mezzanine level. Interestingly, this was where the bookstore was originally located. I guess this was a pretty good reflection on just how much automotive culture has evolved over the years.
If your holiday budget doesn’t quite extend towards a brand new Coilover kit, how about a sticker instead?
So, after 8 years, was it worth returning to see how much has changed? You bet.