Recently it appears Japanese electronics makers are losing to South Korea and China, but Japan is still a powerhouse, and the country’s economic deflation and surplus of stores makes Japan a “battleground” country that benefits the consumer in the best way possible. Want to buy electronics in Japan at low prices? Here’s how:
①Choose an area. In an battleground areas - where large scale electronics shops fight for customers - the price tag of their products inevitably point downwards. For Tokyo, those areas are Shinjuku [新宿] and Ikebukuro [池袋]. Yodobashi Camera was 1st to place their headquarters in Shinjuku. Bic Camera and Yamada Denki soon followed and opened up not just 1 shop, but a few. Ikebukuro, on the other hand, is HQ for Bic Camera with a huge Yamada Denki right next to it. Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera, and Yamada Denki, known as the “Big 3” electronic big box retailers, put their pride on the line to defeat one another with intense price cutting wars in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro.
② Aim for merchandise on bargain sales. If you stop by on a Friday, you’ll notice the shop piles up all the merchandise that need to be moved out from inventory. Evening is when the bargain sale begins, hence when you should target your shopping time. And of course, the flyer you can pick up at the store lists products that are at bargain prices.
③ Chant the magic words “Kakaku-com” 3 times while fidgeting with your phone or tablet and voila! The staff person may be irritated but he or she may be obliged to give you a discount. Kakaku com (or Kakaku.com) is a site all Japanese people are aware of. It’s a site where you can compare vendor's prices. You can find every kind of electronic gadget or product available and see the lowest price it’s sold for. It’s more or less the worst nightmare for big box electronic shops, but it’s the consumer’s (your) formidable ally.
④ Duty Free Specialty Shop [免税専門店]. Generally a bad idea to visit a shop that only sells Duty Free products in the city. Why? There is no denying a tax free purchase is a good deal, but the price tag on the products are expensive to begin with. The only products you’ll find are not cheap at all.
Big Box Retailers (“The Big 3”):
brand shops: LABI and Tecc.Land[caption id="attachment_13770" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo Credit: trendy.nikkeibp.co.jp Yamada Denki Labi Ikebukuro[/caption]
① Ikebukuro Store [池袋本店店]
Shop Name: LABI 1 Japan Flagship
Access: 30 sec. walk from Ikebukuro station [池袋駅] Exit 29~32.
Address: 1-5-7 Ikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo [東京都豊島区東池袋1-5-7]
Closed: Jan. 1st
In terms of real estate, it’s 2nd in Tokyo and its surrounding area (23,000 sq. m.). Originally a department store, the electronic selling giant transformed it into an entire shop. So, it’s massive.[caption id="attachment_13771" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo Credit: sumidagawa-sampo.cocolog-nifty.com/ Yamada Denki Labi Shinjuku East Exit[/caption]
② Shinjuku East Exit Shop [新宿東口店]
Shop Name: LABI 1 Shinjuku East Exit
Access: 3 min. walk from Shinjuku station [新宿駅] East Exit
Address: 23-7 Shinjuku 3-chome, Shinjuku, Tokyo [東京都新宿区新宿三丁目23番7号]
Closed: Jan. 1st Url: http://www.yamadalabi.com/shinjuku/
Conveniently located in front of the East Exit of Shinjuku station [新宿駅東口] Just as large in size is the one on the West Exit side of Shinjuku station.
ikebukuro-net.jp/ Bic Camera Ikebukuro[/caption]
① Ikebukuro [池袋本店]
Shop Name: Bic Camera Ikebukuro Flagship
Access: 1 min. walk from Ikebukuro station [池袋駅] exit 30.
Address: 1-41-5 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo [東京都豊島区東池袋1-41-5]
The headquarter shop of Bic Camera. The shop itself is not so large, but it’s packed with great gadgets and electronics. Staff is well versed in product information.[caption id="attachment_13773" align="aligncenter" width="1704"] Photo Credit: cdn.taxfreeshops.jp Bic Camera Shinjuku West Exit[/caption]
② Shinjuku West Exit[新宿西口店]
Shop Name: Bic Camera Shinjuku West Exit
Access: 3 min. walk from Shinjuku station [新宿駅] West Exit [西口].
Address: 1-5-1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo [Shinjuku West Exit Hulk floor 2~7] [東京都新宿区西新宿1-5-1 新宿西口ハルク 2F～7F]
There is a shop on the east side just as large too.
Yodobashi Camera Stores[caption id="attachment_13774" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Photo Credit: view.tokyo/ Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku West Exit[/caption]
① Shinjuku West Exit Shop [新宿西口本店]
Shop Name: Shinjuku West Exit Shop
Access: 2 min. Walk from Shinjuku station [新宿駅] West Exit [西口]
Address: 1-11- Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo [東京都新宿区新宿区西新宿1-11-1]
The flagship store for Yodobashi Camera. Large store, great selection of electronics, and staff that know what they’re talking about.[caption id="attachment_13775" align="aligncenter" width="2592"] Photo Credit: livedoor.blogimg.jp Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara[/caption]
Shop Name: Multimedia Akiba Store Access: 30 sec. walk from Akihabara station [秋葉原駅]
Address: 1-1 Kanda Hanaokacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo [東京都千代田区神田花岡町1-1]
- Store Ranking by Property Size (including shops near Tokyo)
Size doesn’t always mean everything, but the bigger the stores are, the more choices you have and the chances of finding the item your are looking for are higher.
#1 Yodobashi Camera Akiba: 23,800㎡
#3 Yodobashi Camera Yokohama: 21,450㎡
#7 Yodobashi Camera Kawasaki: 14,400㎡
#8 Yodobashi Camera Kichijoji: 14,000㎡
#9 Bic Camera Yurakucho: 13,816㎡
#10 Bic Camera Kawasaki: 13,200㎡
#11 Bic Camera Shinjuku West Gate: 12,200㎡
Careful!: Staff members with “Panasonic” or “Mitsubishi” written on their backs means they were dispatched by those electronic makers. Their subtle soft sell approach to buy their brand goods is something to be cautious of.
Tax Free: As of May 2016, shoppers will have the benefit of tax free shopping (8% tax exemption) when purchasing over 5,000 yen at any one store on that day.