The “Hyper Media” Electronics Stores in Japan: GEO ゲオ

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     If there’s one thing that Japan is known for, it’s its bustling electronics industry; from Yamaha to Toshiba, there is perhaps no other country in the world with as many recognizable tech brands than the land of the rising sun. 

Photo by Montse Monmo on Unsplash

     It stands to reason, then, that its electronics stores would be equally numerous and varied, and so it is. One such chain is GEO, which brands itself as a “Hyper Media Shop,” and is a great go-to for your gaming needs outside of Akihabara.

1. Video Games

     GEO is a little more specialized than most other electronics chains in Tokyo; their main merchandise, which can be found at all of their stores, is video games and video game accessories. GEO stores will reliably have all of the new releases, and broadly speaking, are likely to have most of the games in each of the newest consoles’ libraries. If you’re looking for a more modern title, you’d be hard-pressed not to find it within the walls of a GEO.

     They also boast a wide variety of used games, as well, though probably not from any console earlier than the Wii. You can also find accessories from past generations, though once again, probably from nothing earlier than the Nintendo Wii.

     However, their product testing seems to be quite thorough, and I have not had any issues with any of the used games or accessories that I have purchased there. Video games are far from the only things they stock, however.

2. Movies

     GEO stores are often labeled as video rental stores, and not without good reason. GEO offers a wide selection of movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray for rental, and you’re likely going to find most major releases there.

     However, this does come with a few caveats, so buyer beware: given that it is a Japanese store, the majority of their wares are likely to be region-locked, and may not work on foreign devices. Certain devices will play DVDs from any country, such as the Playstation 4, but if you’re running with a standard DVD player that you brought with you from overseas, you may not be able to play any of the discs you can acquire there. 

     Additionally, while they are likely to have most major international releases, it’s prudent to remember that, as a Japanese company, most of their merchandise will be Japanese TV and Movies; while this sounds like good news to those who enjoy anime or J-Dramas, most of these discs do not come with English audio or subtitles, making it a risky venture to buy/rent here unless you speak Japanese.

3. Music

     What would a media shop be without music? And GEO has music in spades. Provided that you enjoy music on CD, GEO can be a great place to stock up on some Japanese tunes. While they lack other audio formats, such as tape or vinyl, their CD selection is quite large, and you can find most major Japanese artists there. It’s definitely possible to while away a fair amount of time just looking through the disks and seeing which acts you can recognise.

     However, in the era of widespread music streaming, this may be the least useful service they offer, as you can find most of these artists and albums available on streaming services in Japan with higher audio quality. It’s for this reason that I can’t really recommend using GEO as your audio stop, nor really any other media/electronics stop, unless you really feel like you need physical copies of all of your media.

4. Book Rentals

     That’s right, folks, you can even rent books (mostly manga) at many GEO stores. If you ever need a place to kill time, you can often find the entire library of many of the most popular manga of the day at GEO, excluding those works not yet published outside of magazines. On their shelves, you can find One Piece, Boruto, My Hero Academia, and many more.

     However, oftentimes with used books, it’s much cheaper to buy your own copies, and GEO stores usually aren’t too far from Book Off locations, where you can do just that. 

     While renting books is certainly something you can do, it’s not something that I would necessarily recommend doing unless you really just don’t care about how you spend your money.

Photo by Senad Palic on Unsplash

5. Used Electronics

     Another major pro of GEO stores is that many of their locations stock a variety of used electronic goods. This includes TVs, phones, computers, sound systems, fans, heaters, dehumidifiers, and even kitchen appliances. 

     Outside of dedicated used goods stores, GEO is one of few larger chains that offers any selection of used hardware at all, and the prices they offer tend to be fairly competitive in that market. 

     If you’re looking to find a new appliance for cheap but don’t live near any dedicated resale shops, it might be worth your time to dip into a GEO and see what you can find.

6. Other Things

     Like most other chains in Tokyo, GEOs’ offerings can vary strongly with the size of their store, though GEOs tend to be pretty uniform in at least the first 3 categories listed here. However, larger GEO stores can sometimes have a few arcade machines, such as crane games and certain trading card games. Also, it’s worth noting that GEO accepts the Ponta line of point cards, which can be used at a variety of different stores, so it may be worth getting one while you’re there. Additionally, as they do deal in used goods, you can trade in or sell certain items at GEO stores; however, as with many other things, it is worthwhile to note that it is unlikely that any GEO will accept goods from other regions due to the prevalence of region-locking in many industries, as well as certain laws about media content in Japan.

     As I’ve mentioned before, GEO can be an excellent place to shop, as long as you keep in mind the limitations of the chain. No matter what kind of entertainment you’re looking for, GEO will have something to offer you.

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