Covering the best of the rest
In one of the final parts of this series I shall cover the northern part of Tokyo, There is a whole bunch of stores in this large area so we had better get on with it…
Tokyo is a huge city and there are camera shops everywhere. The best way to think of it is as a series of small towns, each with its own little store (or stores as the case may be). I am going to try and break it up into areas to make things a little bit easier. Be sure to check the map out as some of the stores are not so easy to find and this will become invaluable for you.
The Ueno area is northeastern Tokyo is dominated by the park and the zoo, but there is so much more here than a bunch of unhappy looking pandas. There are camera shops galore in the Ueno area! It is a really nice area to explore as well, with the fantastic side streets and markets that are constantly packed with people, you are never going to be bored around here. Ueno is also conveniently serviced with several train and metro lines. There is a pletora of electronics stores along the backstreets, but they are mainly catering to the digital compact market. The main stores in the area are actually not all that easy to find, so you had better bust out the map or smartphone and make a list.
So, lets get started….
Chikuma is a fantastic store that is stocked to the rafters with the rarest of the rare. They have cameras in here that you have only read about in books, but they also have prices that wouldn’t be out of place in a work of fiction. They can command these prices because they are literally the only people in the world to have these cameras. The owner is a really nice guy and speaks a little English. He is also an artist and loves to make pretty maps and wonderful handwritten signs on his best items. This place is definitely worth a visit.
Syuukou is another tiny little store that is very old. It is tucked away down another little side street near to Okachimachi station on the JR line. It is a watch and camera shop, as you can see from the photo there is a fine clock in the window. They don’t have a massive selection, but the items that they do have are in fantastic condition. The prices are very reasonable and they sometimes knock a bit off too if you are polite.
I don’t have a picture of this one, but this is a lovely little camera store. There is a link to it on the map. This place is primarily a Leica specialist, but they also carry other classic brands. Not so cheap, but this place is where to go if you are looking for that special Leica body that you have always dreamed of.
Shimbashi Ichi Camera
Shimbashi Ichi is pretty easy to find, there is a freshness burger right next to it, so you can have a nice burger after you have been shopping. Shinbashi Ichi keeps a wide selection of gear and they have a nice selection of medium and wide format cameras and lenses. They are a really nice bunch of people and are happy to answer questions about any of their items. They are very familiar with foreign customers, so you shouldn’t have any problems.
So far this route has taken you on a little stroll out of Ueno and you are going to be heading in the direction of Akihabara, which just so happens to be our next destination. Akihabara is the famed electronics district and is somewhere that everyone should visit on a trip to Japan. Over the recent years it has become more of a mecca for the manga and maid cafe followers, but there are still some good camera shops to be seen here.
Hikari camera is a complete stinker to find, it is inside a building that you wouldn’t see unless you knew the opening of the building, which is why I am posting the picture of the entrance too. It is right next to Akihabara station and really is somewhere that you should visit. It is a great little store with a nice selection of items. The staff are very pleasant and there are some bargains to be had there from time to time.
There are electronics shops on either side of the entrance and there is a Gorilla Curry restaurant right next to that, so that can be your visual cue to find the place. Check their site too and you will see more pictures of how to get there.
Nisshin is one of my favorite camera shops in the whole of Tokyo. The staff are great, the selection is great and it is in a good location. They often have some great deals and they have a high turnover, so you can often find some really interesting items there. It is nice that it is in Akihabara too, so you can have a walk around after you have been there.
Well, there you go. That should keep you busy for a while, and it will give me the chance to put the final piece together. There are several more shops in this area, but they are tiny and hard to find, so it is up to you to explore and try to find these, it wouldn’t do to give away all my secrets now would it?
I hope you enjoy this piece and please don’t forget to get your Camera Karma by leaving comments, because I love it when you do.