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Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

Kuwait City, Kuwait
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32 posts
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Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

I'm a tech junkie and excited to go to Japan and drop by Akihabara. Before I go crazy and start spending my saving, do you guys think it's worth it to purchase electronics in Japan? Will it be cheaper or more expensive? Items to buy such as camera (sony, canon, nikon), phones or any computer accessories.

Thanks!

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

Yes, you can buy electronics relatively cheaper at small independent stores (rather than at Yodobashi or BiC camera) in Akihabara in Tokyo or Nipponbashi in Osaka and if you are good at bargaining. In any case, it is fun to know what's new and in vogue in the world of electronics. You can find out the cheapest price available at a review site "価格.com" (kakaku.com).

Use google translate/map to figure out where the shops are located.

http://kakaku.com/

Edited: 12:28 am, December 12, 2011
Kyoto, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kobe, Kyoto
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2. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

It depends on where you are coming from. My Canon L lens that was made in Japan was about 500 U.S. dollars less than if I bought it here in Japan. My Canon camera was also cheaper in the USA. It wasn't as much of a savings when the Japanese Yen was weaker. If products in your home country are crazy-expensive then maybe you can find deals here. Buying the cameras that are from last year or several months ago will be much cheaper than the newest models so if you go that route then you can save money.

Amstelveen, The...
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3. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

Computer accessories might be worth it, there are some domestic brands and you might find stuff not (yet) released outside of Japan. Although most stuff is available online as well, you might save on shipping costs.

You can also check Amazon Japan or Rakuten in English for price reference: global.rakuten.com/en/

Or you can order online, which is usually cheaper and have it delivered to where you are staying. Within Japan many online stores offer free shipping.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

The electronics in Japan are not dirt cheap, however, if you compare the same item in North America it is cheaper. It's great for someone who wants cutting edge technology, but if you like the deals or sales, I found that japan doesn't have that much unless its an older model or outdated.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

You might want to wait for someone else from Qatar to post a response. I remember some of my European friends thinking that prices for cameras and electronics equipment was cheap. I thought they were crazy. But apparently, they could easily save 15-20% (and sometimes more!) from the same items priced in Euro, Swiss franc, or Pounds.

You might want to check out pricing at some of the online shops of the big retailers mentioned above just to get a general sense of what the pricing is like compared to locally. If it's similar, but some models or brands come out first in Japan, then go to a big retailer to get it duty-free (look for the signs for deputy-free).

Good luck! :-)

Aoyama Dori and San...
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6. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

I just bought a Canon 50L F/1.2 for US$1373.55 from Amazon. The same lens from Yodobashi with applicable discounts is US$2017.10. It's "Made in Japan" and carries the US warranty (which is better than the Japanese warranty). I think everything depends on what you are buying and what your local tariff and markup is. If you're going to get taxed heavily for bringing something in you're even in worse shape.

SF
Destination Expert
for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
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7. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

Akihabara WAS a great place for electronics up until about 20 years ago for new features, more compact designs, etc. I won't even look at anymore after the Sony Walkman era. I am not even sure what the Made-in Japan label means, as the parts may come from other factories in Asian countries and the final product maybe only assembled in Japan (thus marketed at higher prices).

You used to be able to get the international warranty if you asked for.

Some smaller shops may still carry "gray product" which is reverse imported to Japan for the same product sold overseas but priced cheaper(also older model?).

If you consider compatibility, plug type, voltage, instruction/program language, keyboard layout, warranty issues, repairs, etc. I would have a second thought.

I was burned once. I only buy electronic parts for my hobby there anymore.

Kuwait City, Kuwait
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8. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

Thanks all for the reply... suggestions and tips from y'all are very useful.. I have lots of research to do! :)

snowBoardBunny: Prices of electronic in Qatar used to be cheaper, due to free tax, nowadays it's even more expensive compared to US retail prices and there aren't lot of choices too.

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

You definitely won't lack for choice. I miss the abundance of choices already...especially for camera accessories. Since I could get some pretty cool stuff locally without special ordering, I spent a small fortune on camera gear. I tried to buy during the wild Xmas sales to make pricing comparable to pricing back home. I cant buy 80% of it here without getting it online even now. You should have a blast shopping... More of a headache deciding really. But its such a nice problem to have. Have fun comparing and shopping. :-)

10. Re: Electronic shopping in Japan, worth it?

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