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Best Toy Store: Home of radioactive toy monsters 

Kimono My House

Kimono My House started as a Japanese antique and kimono dealer in 1980. But over the years, toy robots have proved more popular than traditional clothes, and today the store celebrates all things modern about Japan, with posters, T-shirts, and toys featuring all the anime cartoon heroes, pop icons, and rubbery radioactive monsters from the Land of the Rising Sun. In 1981, it became the first store in the United States to deal exclusively in Japanese sci-fi and anime paraphernalia, long before every corner toy stop jumped on the Pokémon bandwagon. Kimono My House stocks the toys you never knew existed but now you just can't live without. Where else can you see the mighty Godzilla, king of monsters, reduced to a cheap wind-up trinket, an insanely detailed model kit, and even a cuddly stuffed doll? The store is up in the penthouse of an Emeryville skyscraper, so it's a little hard to find -- watch for a sidewalk sandwich board that seems to point at a freight elevator -- but well worth the effort.

Readers' Pick:
Mr. Mopps' Children's Books and Toys
1405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, 510-525-9633

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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