The Complete Tokyo Camera Shopping Guide
As many of you may know, I have written buyers guides on Tokyo, that have been very popular. But some have mentioned that they are hard to navigate on the site. I am a man who likes things to be uncomplicated, so I thought it might be nice of they were all in one place.
My Tokyo camera buyers guides are probably one of the most popular series of posts on the site, and I have met many people in Tokyo who have been shopping and have found what they need thanks to them. I am really happy to have people find what they want and have a nice time doing it.
The first guide is for Shinjuku and surrounding areas.
A little note about this is that Yodobashi camera has been left off the list. Yodobashi is the big boy in the area and sells everything. But only new, nothing used. This is the place to come for new cameras that may not be available outside of Japan. The film department is the stuff of legend, despite it shrinking in recent years.
Top tips: Check the camera has English menus, Sony and Panasonic do not because they want you to by the higher priced “international” versions to stop gray market exports. Oh, and haggle. If you are a tourist then you automatically get 5% off (tax free). But you can get more. Almost all items in the store have points available for point card holders. If you are a tourist then you don’t need or want these points. You can get them to know these off the price for larger items, especially if you have cash. And this could net you up to 10% more off in some cases. Don’t be afraid to ask. Shy kids get no sweets.
Touristy stuff: Check out Kabukicho after dark. The red light and bar district is a lot of fun in the evenings. Careful who you shoot though, there are some rather unsavoury characters there and you could find yourself in a spot of bother. If in doubt, don’t take pictures of the touts and pushers. It is better to ask in this area if you don’t know your way around.
The second guide is Ginza and surrounding areas
Not a lot has changed with regards to this guide. The Ricoh service centre has moved away, but Ring Cube is still there.
One I forgot to mention is the Crumpler Ginza store, which is not a camera shop, but a cool bag shop that yours truly used to work in.
Top Tip: Check the cameras in Lemon very very carefully. They do not check them themselves and do not set the prices, so the camera could say A rank, but could really be junk. Make sure you test them, as they don’t do returns, even if it breaks 5 minutes after walking out the door.
Touristy stuff: If you are in the Ginza area then you owe it to yourself to go to the ultimate foreigner tourist spot, the Tsukiji fish market. But be warned, there are some rules. If you go there early, you might be lucky enough to get a ticket for the auction. But the tickets are limited, so if you missed the chance then you have a long wait until the main market opens to tourists. Carry as little as possible, smaller bags are better. Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet, because you will. Keep your eyes and ears open, it is a place of work and they are not going to move for you. With that you should be good.
The final guide is Northern Tokyo and surrounding areas
But this is a bit of a misnomer. It should really be North and western Tokyo, as this one is a bit spread out. But it was designed with the idea that you could take a day and walk it. Which I have done many times. Not a lot has changed.
Top tip: A lot of the places in Akihabara can be bargained with, much in the same fashion as Yodobashi. The Yodobashi in Akihabara has a great film selection too. Well worth a look.
Touristy stuff: Take a stroll through Ueno park, there are so many people to take pictures of it really is staggering. Get lost around the backstreets on Akihabara to see the weirdest shops.
I made the map, which has been viewed over 10,000 times now. It is by no means complete, there are places that I have deliberately left off, you will have to find them on your own. That is part of the joy of rolling around Tokyo though, finding the little places.
Notes on travel
If you are coming in the summer be prepared for it to be insanely hot and humid. Stay hydrated and carry a hand towel with you, you will definitely need it. Silica gel in the bag wouldn’t hurt.
If you are coming in the winter be prepared for it to be bitterly cold. The light will be amazing though, very bright and beautiful golden hours.
Carry cash, it is a very safe city. ATM’s can be problematic (language or availability) so always have some cash. Often stores will offer a discount for cash too. Money talks.
I hope this makes things a lot easier for you all and that you have a fantastic time if you are coming to Tokyo. Shoot, eat and enjoy.