In particular, four districts are of interest for anyone looking to buy a camera while visiting Tokyo. Shinjuku, Ginza, Akihabara and Nakano are all worth a visit. Be aware that some of the bigger chains will give you an extra discount on top of the 8% that constitutes the tax-free discount. These offers tend to vary over time, so make sure to ask the staff. Also, please note that this is not a common practice that applies to all shops, but rather only at the bigger chains.
Map Camera is one of the biggest and best shops in all of Tokyo for both new and used camera gear. The selection at Map Camera is hard to beat, and many of the cameras and lenses that are sold as used look like they have barely been used at all. Unfortunately, the prices at Map Camera are somewhat on the expensive side. However, we think that is a fair price to pay considering the fact that you will probably find whatever you are looking for here.
The basement is a must for Leica lovers, as you will find a big chunk of everything this iconic German brand has produced throughout the years here. They also let you get a hands-on experience with a selection of both new and old Leica cameras. Map Camera operates two shops on the same street. Both of them can be somewhat difficult to find, as neither has a display window at street level.
Kitamura is another major chain that has quite a good reputation. Kitamura operates countless stores around the country, and if you are looking for something specific it is very likely that they will have it in stock somewhere. They are able to get items sent from any of their shops to your local one, usually within a day or two and for no extra charge. A map with all their stores can be found here. The Shinjuku shop is located on the third and fourth floors and the entrance is small, but they do have a big billboard sign on the wall outside.
Miyama Shokai is a nice little shop on the east side of Shinjuku station. Miyama Shokai, too, has a good selection of new and used gear, both recent cameras as well as older rarities. The prices here tend to be a bit lower than at Map Camera and Kitamura too.
Sukiya Camera/Nikon House could easily be mistaken for being a Nikon museum. The big signs and the wide range of lenses in the window, facing the famous Sukiyabashi crossing, make it easy to find. The selection of gear is indeed impressive, but they have a pretty negative attitude towards people who come just to look or who can’t speak Japanese (the owner speaks no English). However, if you are looking for something specific that is Nikon related, you might very well find it here. The same company also operates one more store on another street in Ginza that handles other brands.
Conveniently located one minute from Nikon House is Lemon. Again, this is a store that’s easy to miss, as it’s located on the eighth floor in a generic looking building. They have a great selection, especially of older gear. Be aware that Lemon sells its equipment on consignment, and they never give any warranties or refunds. So make sure to check everything carefully before forking over any cash.
Janpara is a chain of electronics stores that sells everything from computers to amplifiers. Three of their shops in Akihabara deal with camera gear. The selection is not the most impressive, but the prices here tend to be quite low and if you are lucky, you might find just what you are looking for. They only deal with newer stuff though, so do not expect to find any old rangefinders or rarities here. On certain weekdays, they offer 5% discount on all camera equipment.
Another major electronics chain with countless stores around Akihabara is Sofmap (Akihabara main building). Several of them sell both used and new cameras, and the selection of used gear is not too shabby. Prices are somewhat higher than at Janpara though. Also note that Sofmap primarily deals with newer gear only, so look elsewhere for anything non-digital.
Near Nakano Station you will find several shops that belong to the Fujiya Camera chain. Besides the main shop that stocks digital on the first floor and Nikon analog cameras on the second floor, they also have a store that only stocks “junk” products. This place can be a real goldmine if you know how to sort out the good items. Sometimes perfectly functioning lenses can be had for the cheap, just because the exterior has lots of dents and scratches. If you have the knowledge, this is one store you do not want to miss.
Posts by Said Karlsson