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Buying Electronics In Japan, Any Advice?  
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 8 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6927 times:

Hi all,

I just booked a ticket for my girlfriend and myself to NRT after our failed attempt to get to Japan in the previous year.

I would like to ask if anyone has any advise regarding shopping since many people are praising Japan for being the "electronic shopping paradise". Is everything there really as cheap as people say and can you get there newer products than in Europe or in the USA?

I am especially interested in buying a notebook (since my old one is ready for the trash) as well as a mp3 player and (if not too expensive) also a digi-cam since I am still belong to one of the people without a camera.

Where should I buy, are there cheap "Outlet stores" or something like that? Is it recommendable to buy in a normal electronic shop or rather in a big department store?

I will be in Tokyo most of the time but currently I am working on getting a flight to Osaka or to Nagoya (whatever place is cheaper to get a flight on the 747-Domestic) but I would prefer to buy in Tokyo because I will be there most of the time.

Any advise is greatly appreciated!

Patrick

PS: If there are any Japan insiders, I would also appreciate any other tips regarding food, sightseeing, etc.

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN228UA From Japan, joined May 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6900 times:

Head to BIC Camera. They sell export model laptops, cameras, MP3 players in their Shinjuku store. The domestic models quite often have English builtin as well so you can't go wrong here. Electronics can be more expensive than in other parts of Asia but we always get the latest and greatest here. You can get stuff tax free is you spend over ¥10,000.

Send me a mail and I will give some insider tips.


User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6895 times:

Hey, the best place to buy Electronics in Tokyo is Akihabara. Its a small district, famous for electronics and only electronics. Take the train from tokyo station to the Akihabara station, they are close. You know you have arrived because there are flashing neon lights and electronic stores and billboard commercials everywhere. Tokyo is such a big city that you will need months to see it all. I am sure that you will figure it out.

If you want to move around, I recomend going to Kyoto, don't go to osaka or nagoya. Take the Shinkansen bullet train. Don't be afraid to ask the station workers for advice because most speak english and are very friendly. Kyoto is very beautiful and filled with hitory because it used to be the old capital of Japan.

As far as food goes, every japanese food store is superior. You really can't go wrong with any restaurant. Try thier bakeries/pastries, some are better than ones in France. Try Shakeys pizza or if you want meat try their stake houses. There are large department stores in Japan that are very nice and beautiful but they can be expensive.

Lastly I know your wondering why a non japanese 19 yearold from San Francisco is giving me advice about japan but I used to live near Kyoto for 2 and a half years so I know Japan. Have a nice long tip.


User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2734 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6884 times:

I've lived here for 9 years and made a bit of a study of gadget buying and I'll have to contradict the first 2 posters. Consumer electronics in Japan aren't particularly cheap, very little if at all is to be saved.

The only place to get cheap deals are regular electronics shops that Japanese go to (Yodobashi camera, Super Denkodo ...) and buy last years models just as this years are being released.

Akihabara is a rip-off, International models are over-priced and usually not necessary other than TV's. Small gadgets usually have 100-240 volt adaptors anyway !

The real advantage of buying in Japan is that it will be The cutting edge gear and wandering around these stores is a lot of fun anyway but check carefully prices in Germany before buying.



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8459 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 2 days ago) and read 6873 times:

When I went to Japan in 2003 I was hoping to pick up heaps of electronic goodies at cheap prices. however I was disappointed as the prices were compareable if not more expensive then what they were here. However I did manage to get a good DVD player cheap in SIN. I paid about $130AU and back then it cost $300AU back here.

User currently offlineManni From South Korea, joined Nov 2001, 4221 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6859 times:

Shinjuki has lots of big electronics stores, like other posters mentioned before BIC Camera, Yodobashi and also Sakuraya.

I've bought a digital camera in Shinjuku, at this time, about 2 years ago, the Sony P10 wasn't even available in Belgium. I payed about 59000Yen and got a voucher with it from 10% of the purchase price, which you could spend in the store (this was Sakuraya). When the Sony P10 first appeared on the Belgium market and on the Belgium Sony store website, it sold for more than 900€. So, if you're looking to buy a digital camera, you can certainly save a few euros and/ or buy a model that isn't even available yet in Europe.

When buying a digital camera you should be aware of the fact that not all camera's are there to be sold for export, meaning, only a small collection has the instruction books in languages other than Japanese. Also, at the time I bought a camera, all camera's came with guarantee only valid in Japan. On a positive note, because you're going to export the camera, when you bring your passport with you, you're entitled to buy it VAT free. All you need to do is show your passport, they will than staple the reciept in it, on departure in NRT, show it to customs together with your camera.



SUPPORT THE LEBANESE CIVILIANS
User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3314 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6848 times:

I will second PacificJourney, Japan is no electronics shopping paradise and indeed Akihabara area is interesting to see once, end of story.
I did several times but invariably came back empty handed.


User currently offlineBongo From Colombia, joined Oct 2003, 1863 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6838 times:

I was in Japan years and years ago, but what I remember is that most of the electronics there were with Japanese characters, and prices were quite high, We bought some cameras elements on the Narita's duty free.
Anyway...enjoy Your trip.



MDE: First airport in the Americas visited by the A380!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6837 times:

Thanks a lot for all your replies!

Seems that it is not as cheap as several other people told me (of course these people have never been there themself, just the usual "I heard from a friend of my brother that he got a damned cheap notebook in Tokyo, blah, blah, blah....").

AirWillie6475, thanks for your tips, this is greatly appreciated.

Quoting Manni (reply 5):
All you need to do is show your passport, they will than staple the reciept in it, on departure in NRT, show it to customs together with your camera.


This is actually a disadvantage. When I enter Germany again and the guy at the passport control will see the reciept and that I bought stuff in Japan, I have to pay the German VAT on all this goods.

Quoting Bill142 (reply 4):
However I did manage to get a good DVD player cheap in SIN.


Yes, SIN is quite good for electronic shopping, I bought a notebook there two years ago, it was very cheap compared to the price in Germany.

Quoting Manni (reply 5):
When buying a digital camera you should be aware of the fact that not all camera's are there to be sold for export, meaning, only a small collection has the instruction books in languages other than Japanese.


How is it when I buy a noteboook, are Windows and the other programs in Japanese only? If yes, can I contact the German office of the manufacturer (for example Sony) to ask if I can get a German version of these programs?

Patrick


User currently offlineManni From South Korea, joined Nov 2001, 4221 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (9 years 8 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6828 times:

Patrick,

The customs officer will take the receipt out of your passport after he has seen the goods descriped on your receipt, also, the immigration officer at the german airport has nothing to do with customs, frankly speaking, he could care less.

I have no idea what laptops concerns, I have asked a similar question last week concerning purchasing an Apple computer in Hong Kong, but had so far no answer to this question. However, my wife bought a computer in South Korea, and everything is indeed in Korean (but she is Korean, so this wasn't an issue). When she informed herself, I remember that certain brands came in the english version aswell, if I recall it correctly Compaq and IBM were 2 of them, the local products such as Samsung and even Sony were only available in Korean.



SUPPORT THE LEBANESE CIVILIANS
User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2734 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (9 years 8 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6808 times:

Most computers will be sold with Japanese Windows but especially in Akihabara you may find some with english but German pronbably not. It's fairly simple to remove the Japanese OS and replace it but Japan also has a different DOS system (DOS-V) as well so that needs to be replaced also.

Harder to find but you should try second hand stores for virtually new b ut cheaper.



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineN228UA From Japan, joined May 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 8 months 18 hours ago) and read 6796 times:

Bic Camera sells English language laptops at a cheaper price than you will find in Akihabara. You won't find German here but you could possibly buy a replacement keyboard when you get home if a similar model is sold there.

Replacing the OS is very easy, just stick a German Windows XP CD in load it up and off you go. Drivers are not much a problem as Japanese drivers will work on English language machines so I would imagine they work on German language machines as well.


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