The JCH Tokyo Camera Shopping Guide (Updated for 2022)
It’s the biggest understatement ever to say the last couple of years have been…disruptive. But Japan is finally fully reopening and that means tourists can visit without a visa and no longer need to go through a travel agency. Plus, the daily entry cap will also be lifted entirely. The doors are open again so it’s high time to update the JCH Tokyo Camera Shopping Guide for 2022. Unfortunately some stores haven’t survived the pandemic but there are couple new or renovated ones so this is the most up-to-date list for you all with mad GAS.
So, you want to know where to buy a camera in Tokyo? This might help.
I get a lot of people asking me where to go shopping for a camera in Tokyo. Although it is my business to buy for people, I also want people to come and see Tokyo for themselves.
Tokyo, a metropolis of 14 million people, has often been described as a Mecca for shopping, and this is most certainly true if you are looking for a camera. Whilst there are the big mega stores like Bic and Yodobashi, I am not interested in telling you about them. What I am here to tell you about are the smaller stores, the specialist places and the places that will make your jaw drop.
I have met many people in Tokyo who have been shopping and have found what they need thanks to these guides. I am really happy to have people find what they want and have a nice time doing it. So if you are in Tokyo, or coming to Tokyo this camera shopping guide should help you find something.
People may cite certain omissions but they were overlooked for a reason. Be it prices, quality, rudeness or straight up plain shadiness, this guide is an attempt to steer you clear from that and give you a pleasant camera buying experience in the capital of the land of the rising sun.
The guide itself will be divided into two parts, westside and eastside. Without further ado, scroll on down to get all the information you need to research and plan your hunt.
This is a subject that is close to my heart and something that I want to express to you all before you go shopping in Japan. The Japanese society is heavily governed by an unspoken set of rules, and one of the big ones is manners. In Japan manners are very important and they will make a difference in the way you are treated by shop staff.
In many countries the customer is king, but in Japanese camera shops you are merely someone who is interested in their fine wares, and if you don’t show them respect then will not show any to you. It can be quite an old fashioned atmosphere which may seem daunting, but it is worth taking you time as you will find things here that you cannot see anywhere else.
The rules that I have set for myself are quite simple and they may help you too:
Greeting A pleasant “Konnichiwa” goes a long way, even if you get no reply. Always say hello and goodbye.
Touchy feely Want to look at something? Then ask politely. Don’t point and grunt, apes do that. And don’t just grab at things, that is going to make people mad.
Quiet please Be quiet in the shop. Which means switch your phone to silent mode, don’t talk on the phone, don’t jabber to your mates, do take your headphones off. Watch the other customers, they will give you an indication of how the store expects you to behave.
No drinks You wouldn’t believe how many people I have seen roll into a camera shop with a cup of coffee in one hand. It is a camera shop, they don’t want a stumbling oaf making a mess of their lovely counters and cameras. Same goes for food obviously.
Don’t ask Don’t ask for discounts. A lot of these camera stores are small and they are trying to make a living, asking for money off is not really fair on them. If you have never been to a store before and you ask for a discount you are being rude to them. If you go a few times and show your manners they will offer you one without you having to ask. Be patient and be polite. The big stores will not give you one, no matter what.
Camera Shopping in Tokyo – Westside
Here is an overall map of the best of west. Go on to here for more details about each shop:
Camera Shopping in Tokyo – Eastside
Here we have an overall map of the eastside’s finest. Go on to here for more details about each shop:
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, though it has got better in recent years. 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.
Any Kyoto Camera shopping guides?
going there in july ><
Naniwa camera is the biggest used camera store in Kyoto and they have the best price in the whole region. Make sure you wont miss them :-)
I’ll make sure I put that into my 8 day Kyoto plan
Thanks for telling me><
Hi Japancamerahunter, thanks for this awesome guide. I’m flying to Tokyo and Seoul in September and I’m planing to do a rather large lens buy in Tokyo ( either used or new if the used copy is ok) of the Nikon 24-70 and maybe a 300mm prime. I will do this in my last day to avoid blowing of money that I might need in the trip before. Do you recommend getting all the cash or paying with a credit card should be ok? The total should be around 2000+ € so I’m a bit worried about carrying it all , not because of the safety but because I might loose it :p and also because of the ATM fees.
How about the Nagano prefecture and Matsumoto city (+surrounding areas)?
I’ll be going there but since I’m a student, my wallet isn’t full enough :p
So, bargain shopping is a must… any tips?
Sorry, I have no idea about those areas. I have never been to Nagano.
I went to Tokyo last month (we could not hook up unfortunatley )and your guide was really useful. My hotel was near Ginza so i spend a afternoon in that area going from store to store. Finally i got a nice Nikon FM2 from the Nikon store. Really a good guide for a lost tourist like me.. On your recommendation, i went to that camera fair in Shibuya and it was really, really cool. Thanks!!!!
Yes, on this Sat I am going Tokyo! Can’t wait to check out your Camera shops that are listed on this site. I can feel already excitement!
Well can’t really say Your camera shops. Sorry about that. I meant to say your recommendation camera shops.
Thanks for the great guides! I never would have found some of those places in a million years! It was a great way to spend a rather wet weekend here on business.
As I was staying near Ginza I started there. I was amazed at the stock but often dismayed at the price. I kept my wallet closed and headed out to Nakano and Nitto Camera because I’d seen a lovely Konica II advertised on their website for not much money. A friendly husband and wife team (I think) greeted me and it was an easy sale. The Konica was in beautiful condition but the shutter was sticky so unless fixed it’s a pure ornament. But at the price I was happy as it is a beauty and maybe I can fix it.
I then moved on to Shinjuku. I walked past the entrance to ‘New Camera’ a couple of times before spotting it so thank you JCH for the map. They are indeed pretty grumpy in there but I nearly got a smile at one point (I was handing over money at the time!). I read up over night about the Konica rangefinders and decided these things are hidden gems. Again for not much money (about the same as the II) I got a IIIa. Not as pretty or as in as good condition as the II but this one appears to function properly. We will see….
Oh and I bought a 2nd hand 18mm XF lens from MAP for my XE-1. And a nice book on vintage cameras!
My favourite shops so far have actually been the grumpy old men places like New Camera and Chuuko Camera Box. They have so much stuff and finding the good in the dross is half the fun. For someone like me there’s lots of affordable interesting stuff there. MAP is great for being so slick – a complete contrast. Their service was very impressive. The Ginza stores are, no surprises, very expensive except maybe Lemon. I’m not a Leica shopper so ‘just looking’ there.
What if I have I want to sell used lenses? Will I get a good price for those in good condition?
Thank you for this list. It made camera shopping way easier, especially for someone who doesn’t speak the language. Superb!
Hi! I read in the first article “dont ask for discounts” yet here you mentioned please haggle and we can get discounts? So when can I haggle or not?
I am really thankful for your guides! Just curious, if you buy cameras in Japan are the buttons and language settings all automatically set in Japanese?
I visited lemon Ginza last Saturday and arrived by chance moments before the shop opened to find a bunch of elderly Japanese men waiting outside. They were talking patiently amongst themselves until the doors opened when they literally stampeded to a table covered with various camera items. They were grabbing lenses by the handful, you could hear stuff falling over and all sorts. Reminded me of the chaotic cctv footage you see from luxury handbag departments and the like at the start of Boxing Day sales. Had a laugh when I thought about your description of Tokyo camera shopping etiquette :) no idea what the fuss was as didn’t see anything special, but maybe I was too slow. Thanks for the great guide btw… Was useful in my 24hrs in Tokyo!
I am really thankful for your guides!
This is awesome! Visiting Tokyo soon and will read every bit of detail here :)
First of all, thanks for your great job here.
I live in Hong Kong and I’m fortunate enough to go to Japan quite often for work – taking 1 or 2 extra days for camera and lenses shopping! :) So I get the best from both cities!
I’ve been to the shops you mention here and in your map, probably all of them, and still Map Camera is my top choice in terms of variety although a bit pricy and Fujiya for it’s junk and tripods sections.
Is there any update on the map or other stores you could share with us again?
What about medium format, which would be your preferred shop – if any?
Thanks again and in advance and best wishes.
Awesome read! I’ll have to check out those camera shops mentioned the next time we head back to the mainland. I would also check to see if there is a Kitamura camera shop out there. They sell both new and used camera lenses. If you don’t see what you are looking for you can also order the item to the store. Items usually arrive within 5 days. That seems to be my only option to buy lenses at other then Kojima Bic camera shop. Also check out Hard off thrift shop. You may be lucky to find an awesome lens for hella cheap. But be sire to inspect and test before purchase.
Wondering if anyone has had experience with Champ Camera in Ginza?
http://www.champcamera.co.jp/ (use google translate, if needed)
They had some good equipment in there and helpful staff.
Thank you for the guides. This helped me hunt for lenses during my Japan trip last week.
I was able to buy in alps a Leica summarit 50 f2 for my A7ii.
Im definitely going back and look for great lenses.
The guy selling automatically gave me a discount which is cool.
Does anyone have any recommendations for 120 processing in Tokyo? Will be there for a month this summer and would rather get my film developed before carrying it back on the flight.
Hi are there any shops that sell gray market Sony or Panasonic or Leica cameras? with English menus.
(Export models in BIC are usually more expensive than the USA)
Sorry, not that I am aware of. Only the official export models are available as far as I know.
My friends and I will be going to Japan in a few days. If I buy camera lenses, say for example in the Shinjuku area, will I be able to pay for the lenses thru credit card?? Thank you.
Thanks for this amazing guide! Where in Tokyo would be convenient to look for Sony RX100 ? Thanks again!!
Thank you for taking the time to put this guide together. I was one of those individuals who believed that Japanese cameras (newly released) could be found at a significant discount. Utilizing your provided links, I performed a precursory search for brand new professional series Canon equipment (1 DX MarkII, prime lens, etc). Item discounts varied from 0%-19% while some priced higher by 11% (vs USA pricing). I did not assume prices would be lower in Japan because they were purchased in Japan, I based this on the Dollar – Yen exchange and Canon’s decision to raise prices in Canada by 20% in April (Ouch!). The Yen has made a recovery over the past year, but for the 3 years prior to that the Dollar was crushing it. Based on this, I will save money flying to Japan and I’ll get the added bonus of experiencing the grumpy old men.
Therefore, the answer to the question, “are camera prices lower in Japan?” is “it depends.”
Again, thanks for the great info.
Hi. I’m going to Tokyo in a few weeks and I’m looking for a black Pentax MX. Any advice would be great. Thanks.
I went out on a Saturday and I had a blast following your map around the different parts of Tokyo. Thanks for the share!
Could you recommend any repair shops in Tokyo? I have a olympus mju ii with a lens issue.
Hey, excellent information on spots to check out!
Looking for a piece of wisdom, perhaps. Do you have any recommendations on where I can sell a Nikon DSLR and some lenses possibly in exchange for different gear? I’d like to switch from DSLR to mirrorless and will be in Tokyo next month, so would like to check out all available options while there.
Thanks for everything!
what is the price for disposable camera in vending machine?
exactly, what I was looking for! thank you Bellamy!
This is a nicely written text. Does anyone know, if these stores accept used cameras (and may be a little money, of course) in exchange for their used stuff.
Thank You very much, Reza Hosseini
There’s no direct exchange per se, but Map and Fujiya offer an extra 5-15% in “points” if you have a members card and you can only use the points for their respective shops.
Thanks for sharing this list! I visited almost every store mentioned during my stay in Tokyo. Your description is super accurate for each store- however I had the worst experience ever inside a shop. I went to SUKIYABASHI LENS CORNER, GINZA (Nikon Lens corner) and after saying “konnichiwa” and right before I could ask for the lens I wanted to buy, the clerk looked at me and my mom, and basically proceeded to kick us out of the store while raising his angry voice. If this was not racism, I don’t know what it is. I was curious to see what google reviews had to say about this place and many stories are just as mine. Every other store had very nice staff and I had a great shopping experience.