Japan Glances

Electronics Chains in Japan


Electronics stores in major Japanese cities can be huge, with an incredible variety of goods spread across multiple floors.

Electronics and More

Large electronics stores in Japan have an impressive range of products on display. These include standard items from televisions, air conditioning units, washing machines, and refrigerators to computers, digital cameras, rice cookers, and vacuum cleaners. Manufacturers work to stand out from the competition by releasing new models with ever more innovative features. For this reason, shops are overflowing with products, and it can be startling to see how many similar items are on sale. Staff members are on hand to suggest different options based on budget and personal preference.

These stores sell more than electronics. Head to a different floor and you can shop for stationery, jewelry, alcoholic drinks, fitness products, and even bicycles. This convenience is one of the factors that draws customers in.

Japan’s best-known electronics chains include Yamada Denki, Bic Camera, Edion, K’s Denki, and Yodobashi Camera. Stores are found near major stations in big cities; in Tokyo, there are several in Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Akihabara.

A giant electronics store in Akihabara.

Bicycles and golf equipment are also on sale.

Hanging on to Customer Loyalty

In a highly competitive market, brands do their utmost to stay ahead of the pack. One approach is to hold on to customers through a loyalty points system. At Yodobashi Camera, for example, patrons can easily join a “gold point service” for free and accumulate points with each purchase, which can then be applied to later shopping.

Yodobashi Camera point card.

Some stores may also feature discounts or offer to match the price of a product at a different vendor. To avoid unnecessary expense, it is wise to compare prices at several different stores before making a purchase.

Foreign tourists can enjoy tax-free shopping in many stores. In recent years, so many Chinese visitors have come to Japan to stock up on electronic and other goods that their bakugai, or “explosive purchasing,” has been recognized as a social phenomenon. Rice cookers are particularly popular with these shoppers, as are digital cameras, electric toothbrushes, cosmetics, and even high-tech toilets.


Japan Tourism Agency tax-free shopping guide

While most electronics chains only stock the latest models, there are also outlet stores. Kojima (part of the Bic Camera group) has a store in Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture, that sells old models and exhibition products at reduced prices. Some items may be sold at less than half price if they do not have instruction manuals or are slightly damaged. These kinds of stores are recommended for shoppers on the lookout for a good deal.

(Banner photo: Rice cookers on sale in an electronics store.)

Photo credits: Stores in Akihabara: camknows Point card: Karl Baron
Further reading
Akihabara New Appliances for the Old Taste

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