To many foreigners, Japan will seem like the land of the techno-future, with lights, sounds, and new technologies everywhere. While those who have lived in the country for a long time may disagree (all hail the mighty fax machine), it is undeniable that Japan has a large market for electronics and other types of mechanical goods. Today, we’ll be talking about the process of buying electronics and how to get the best deals on all of your technological needs.
▎A quick note
Perhaps contrary to what you might expect, electronics in Japan are generally more expensive than they are in the United States. For instance, televisions are the same price for fewer inches of screen price, so it’s important to budget accordingly. Additionally, with the current ongoing global pandemic, it’s important to note that electronics have become more expensive everywhere due to supply chain disruptions. Because of this, it is essential that you do your own research on whatever it is you plan to buy.
For those of you who are planning to buy newly released, top-of-the-line hardware, Japan has plenty of brick-and-mortar stores and department stores that are ready to suit your needs. Shops like Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, Yamada Denki have everything you need, from cameras to fans and computers to heated toilet seats. However, I would not recommend doing any shopping at these stores unless you’re in a rush and need something that day; while convenient and centralized, these shops do have a tendency to charge sometimes exorbitant prices for the goods they carry. You will never get the best deals at a department store, so it’s best to look elsewhere.
When looking for good deals on new items, then, your best bet is to look online, especially if the manufacturer has their own sales website. For laptops especially, this is how you generally get the best deals; shipping costs will generally not elevate the price above what you would pay at a department store, and it’s generally more convenient. However, I would not recommend buying new unless your needs are particularly intense.
United States and in many other cultures, and I’ve yet to hear of a bad experience buying used in Japan. Stores like Hard Off and GEO will often have used electronics available for purchase. Additionally, while Ebay and Craig’s List do exist out here, the smartphone app Mercari is very popular for selling used goods, and the quality of goods on the site is generally good. If you’re looking for a certain appliance, monitoring Mercari for deals is often a very good first step
Your best bet for computer parts is, unsurprisingly, Akihabara. There are tons of different shops with supplies for computers and all of the various parts and cables that you could ever need. When Akiba fails you, it’s best to head to the internet, which will often have similar prices, so there isn’t really a huge benefit to either one unless you hate leaving your house. Because there are so many different computer parts, it’s difficult to give blanket advice about purchasing them, so it’s important that you do your own research on locations and pricing of your target.
These are the basics of buying electronics in Japan; while it’s not the electronic haven that many dream, Japan is definitely still a country in which it is easy to find what you need.
Do you know any great stores or forgotten neighborhoods with great deals on electronics and tech? If so, please let us know in the comments!