Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto

Started Feb 27, 2010 | Discussions
ebrandon
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Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
Feb 27, 2010

My wife & I (both photography nuts) are traveling to Japan soon.

While there we'd love to dedicate a day to browsing the best / most interesting camera & photography stores and other photography related venues.

So a few questions:
1) Is there a district or street with a concentration of good camera stores?

2) Are there any specific stores that people would recommend for english speakers to browse/buy alternative/used lenses?

3) Are there any specific stores that people would recommend as mainstream new gear photography megastores? The Japanese equivalent of B&H?

4) Are there any must-see photography museums or galleries we should know about?

Thanks so much for your suggestions!

  • Eric

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AlexanderVC
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to ebrandon, Feb 28, 2010

Dear Eric,
Here are some ideas.

ebrandon wrote:

So a few questions:
1) Is there a district or street with a concentration of good camera stores?

First of all, this is not the most up to date list, but it is a good start for searching:

http://photojpn.org/dir/listings.php?cmd=viewlistB&cid=36

If you can find someone to read Japanese for you, or if you are willing to put up with google translations, then see:

http://www.nippon-camera.com/shoplist.php?1267321661 (This is the best list that I know of.)

The best area for camera stores is probably Shinjuku Station. To the west is Yodobashi Camera, Map Camera, and a smaller shop that also carries used gear. To the north is a large Kitamura camera, and Alpsdo (used gear). The east is Lucky Camera and a branch of Miyama. A bit of a walk to the south is Yoyogi camera (outside Yoyogi station).

And if you ride a Chuoline train to Nakano, you can visit Fujiya-camera.

If you like Nikon gear, then see Nihon house in the Ginza. There is also another Miyama here. (See the Ono list for more options.

Akihabara has a Yodobashi, and Nisshin camera.

In the Kansai, Kyoto is pretty much a bust for stores, but the Osaka station area has options:

Yodobashi near the JR Osaka stn. and the Hankyu line terminal.
Umeda-photo service
Ohbayashi camera
Tsukamoto camera

If you take the subway to Shinsaibashi, there is Camera no Naniwa.

Near Nihonbashi, there are two other stores as well (Look at the list.)

2) Are there any specific stores that people would recommend for english speakers to browse/buy alternative/used lenses?

I suppose Map camera in Shinjuku would fit this best, as perhaps Fujiya in Nakano.

3) Are there any specific stores that people would recommend as mainstream new gear photography megastores? The Japanese equivalent of B&H?

The Yodobashi Camera Main building (jpn. hon kan) in Shinjuku is a near to being a B&H. There are floors of goods. I think the dslrs are on the second, medium format on the 3rd, etc. Other Yodobashi chain stores in the Tokyo and Osaka areas have lots of stuff, but Shinjuku is best. (Please note that there are several Yodobashi located in a one block area. This can be a bit confusing. For example, many camera bags are not in the Camera building, but the Bag building. You will have to ask about for the things you want.)

Be aware that the prices are on the higher side, and they counter balance this with a point system for regular. For the short term tourist, I am not sure it is worth purchasing things there. But, you can play with many of the newest lenses.

4) Are there any must-see photography museums or galleries we should know about?

For Museums, you may find the Tokyo Metro Museum of photography interesting:
http://www.syabi.com/index_eng.shtml

Nikon has photography Salons in Shinjuku and the Ginza.
Fuji has one in Roppongi.

For other choices, see this link for "photo spaces":

http://photojpn.org/dir/listings.php?cmd=viewlistB&cid=31

Thanks so much for your suggestions!

Happy hunting.

Alex

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Don Simons
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to AlexanderVC, Feb 28, 2010

BIC Camera also has stores in Shinjuku and Yurakucho which has much the same prices and range as Yodobashi so if you have seen one of the big stores you have seen them all. They are not cheap even after the points. The big warning worth repeating is that many home model cameras in Japan only have Japanese menus. Please check this on anything you may be tempted to buy. Have a good trip and take lots of pictures.

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AlexanderVC
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to Don Simons, Feb 28, 2010

Also remember that you may not be able to transfer the warranty of a domestically sold camera body to your home country. I do not know about other brands, but Nikon does offer an international warranty on its new lenses.

If you do buy anything in Japan at any store, they will give you a regular machine produced receipt, but you can also ask for "ryoshusho" with the store's red seal (shuin). This is the formal receipt that Japanese companies ask for when they reimburse expenses. If you get this documentation, you can have your lenses serviced outside Japan, because you can prove that you did not buy the item as a "gray-market" lens in your native country. A bit confusing, but that is the way Nikon works. You will want to ask companies about their policies for serving such lenses.

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ebrandon
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to AlexanderVC, Feb 28, 2010

Thank you all for the great advice.

  • Eric

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miscreant
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to AlexanderVC, Feb 28, 2010

you'll definitely enjoy the scale of the stores mentioned, you'll see way more bodies and lenses out on display that you can handle, than you'd find in most other countries, but don't expect any huge bargains. See the stores, but get out and take pictures rather than getting drawn into trawling for that hoped for deal, unless of course you're after a particular lens say, that you can't find in stock at home.

I'm in the UK and found very little price difference, you're in the US, I suspect you'll find most kit actually more expensive there. Especially if you factor in any import duty, VAT etc you'll be liable for on your return home.

But it's an amazing country to take photos in, aesthetically a real side by side mix of very modern and strongly traditional. As regards photography specifically, it's very culturally refreshing - I've never seen so many top end (D)SLRs just out and about on the street, they love their photography, a result of which is that wherever you are, whatever odd (to you?) little details you might feel drawn to photograph, no-one will take a blind bit of notice except most likely to very politely either, get themselves out of your shot, or wait for you to finish before walking through your frame.
--

The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it.
:: Banksy ::

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Richard Murdey
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to AlexanderVC, Feb 28, 2010

AlexanderVC wrote:

In the Kansai, Kyoto is pretty much a bust for stores, but the Osaka station area has options:

Yodobashi near the JR Osaka stn. and the Hankyu line terminal.
Umeda-photo service
Ohbayashi camera
Tsukamoto camera

Kyoto is not pretty much a bust for stores, and you are anyway missing pretty much the most important store in Osaka, Tokiwa Camera

〒542-0073 大阪市中央区日本橋1-19-8[地図はこちら]
Tel:06-6641-9014 Fax:06-6631-4811
E-mail:tokiwa_camera@jeans.ocn.ne.jp

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=%E5%A4%A7%E9%98%AA%E5%B8%82%E4%B8%AD%E5%A4%AE%E5%8C%BA%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%A9%8B1-19-8&sll=34.667116,135.506018&sspn=0.018884,0.032701&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Japan,+%C5%8Csaka+Prefecture+%C5%8Csaka+City+Ch%C5%AB%C5%8D+Ward%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%A9%8B%EF%BC%91%E4%B8%81%E7%9B%AE%EF%BC%91%EF%BC%99%E2%88%92%EF%BC%98&z=16

Naniwa has stores in Osaka and Kyoto, a quite nice shop on Teramachi just south of Shijo, in Kyoto, that I go to often. I find Naniwa has just about everything I could need, but there's the inevitable bic camera next to JR Kyoto now if you insist.

http://www.cameranonaniwa.co.jp/shop_list/index.html

I buy most of my big ticket items online from map camera http://www.mapcamera.com

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AlexanderVC
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Re: Camera stores etc. in Japan / Tokyo / Kyoto
In reply to Richard Murdey, Feb 28, 2010

Dear Richard,

Thanks for the update. I had forgotten the Naniwa branch in Kyoto. And Tokiwa is one of the Nihonbashi stores in the Osaka area that I indirectly mentioned above.

But aside from Naniwa and now the Bic, the other choices in Kyoto are a bit spare: Sanjo Camera (I bought my F4 there--nice but small used selection);
Kitamura Camera branch on Gojo that sells used items (the website is better);
Media joy on Horikawa (a used dealer): some stuff.

One other store that I did not mention but might still find of value to visit is located directly under JR Osaka station, near the underground entrance to Daimaru.

Sanwa Camera to the west of Shinsaibashi in Osaka in the "American Town" sometimes has good deals, too.

Again, if you can find someone to translate the list at nippon-camera.com, that is one of the most up to date listings of stores.

Department Store.

Alex

Richard Murdey wrote:

AlexanderVC wrote:

In the Kansai, Kyoto is pretty much a bust for stores, but the Osaka station area has options:

Yodobashi near the JR Osaka stn. and the Hankyu line terminal.
Umeda-photo service
Ohbayashi camera
Tsukamoto camera

Kyoto is not pretty much a bust for stores, and you are anyway missing pretty much the most important store in Osaka, Tokiwa Camera

〒542-0073 大阪市中央区日本橋1-19-8[地図はこちら]
Tel:06-6641-9014 Fax:06-6631-4811
E-mail:tokiwa_camera@jeans.ocn.ne.jp

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=%E5%A4%A7%E9%98%AA%E5%B8%82%E4%B8%AD%E5%A4%AE%E5%8C%BA%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%A9%8B1-19-8&sll=34.667116,135.506018&sspn=0.018884,0.032701&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Japan,+%C5%8Csaka+Prefecture+%C5%8Csaka+City+Ch%C5%AB%C5%8D+Ward%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC%E6%A9%8B%EF%BC%91%E4%B8%81%E7%9B%AE%EF%BC%91%EF%BC%99%E2%88%92%EF%BC%98&z=16

Naniwa has stores in Osaka and Kyoto, a quite nice shop on Teramachi just south of Shijo, in Kyoto, that I go to often. I find Naniwa has just about everything I could need, but there's the inevitable bic camera next to JR Kyoto now if you insist.

http://www.cameranonaniwa.co.jp/shop_list/index.html

I buy most of my big ticket items online from map camera http://www.mapcamera.com

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