Yodobashi Akiba - What to Buy at Tokyo's Electronics & Tech Mecca
Yodobashi Akiba, short for Akihabara, is arguably the largest electronics store in the world. Here are some suggestions on what to expect and what to buy. Yodobashi is a tech nerd’s dream.
A trip to Tokyo is incomplete without a trip to Yodobashi Camera. Yodobashi is a chain of electronics stores around Tokyo and Japan that puts Best Buy to shame. As a photographer, Yodobashi was one of my favorite places in Tokyo to kill hours of time and unfortunately, drain my bank account.
Perhaps the most insane store, however, is Yodobashi Akiba. Right out of Akihabara Station, you’re confronted with this massive superstore. It looks like everything you’d expect it to look from the outside too.
Once you walk inside, you’re hit with a wave of energy totally unique to this store, narrated by their own theme-song. Between the high-pitched singing, the bright lights, and the densely packed aisles filled with colorful signs, you’ve officially entered into another Tokyo acid trip.
So, what can you get at Yodobashi Akihabara? I can’t even begin to cover it all, but here’s a list of some things you should know about.
Watch the Yodobashi Camera Theme Song + Akiba!!
I LOOVE this video!!! すごい 大好き!!!! This video’s brilliant and captures the Yodobashi Camera theme song that hits you the second you walk in. I have countless memories wandering this store to the narration of this song. There’s something inherently euphoric and joyful in the tune that seemingly captures the joy of being in the largest tech superstore in the world.
The thing I love the most about Tokyo is its hyper-attention to detail and respect for craftsmanship and excellence. You can find that across multiple mediums at Yodobashi Camera.
There are other locations in: Shinjuku West, Shinjuku East, Ueno, Kichijouji, Hachiouji, Machida, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Saitama, Chiba, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, Sappori, Koryama, Niigata
1. Camera & Photography
Yodobashi is short for Yodobashi Camera, so you can be sure to find more photography equipment and cameras here than anywhere else in the world. I practically learned photography by spending all my free time playing around at Yodobashi.
You can find anything from digital to film Leica, Pentax, Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Hasselblad, and more brands you’ve never even heard of before. In addition to cameras and lenses, you can find film, photographing printing supplies, tripods, lighting, flashes, fine art paper, photo books, as well as a digital lab where you can even print off your own photo books (provided you navigate through the Japanese). I prefer Yodobashi to Bic Camera in terms of equipment and supplies.
2. TVs & Media
Another aspect of Yodobashi Akiba is the media department, where you can engage in more sensory overload than the Robot Restaurant. Ok, maybe not that much but it’s a lot. If you’re into photography, you might even feel inspired to photograph life at Yodobashi, as I’ve done below. But, another fun only-in-Japan thing to do is to linger about the TV section and absorb all the weird shows on display. And of course, check out the next-level TVs.
Lastly, you might want to pick up a coveted Huawei phone, especially if you want to be on the NSA’s radar.
3. Test Headphones & Audio
Perhaps the most underrated thing to do at Yodobashi Akiba is to test the audio section. I fell in love with hi-res audio one Saturday night at Yodobashi where I spent nearly 3 hours absorbed into the world of sound purity. Up until this point, my fixation was primarily on image quality and photography – but sampling the range of headphones that night changed my life and opened up a new door to sensory pleasure.
4. Raid the Hard Drives
If you’re a tech nerd, it’s probably not going to take a lot of persuasion to head to the floor with more hard drives than you can imagine. You’ll find everything from decorative USB drives to a massive selection of external drives for all your needs.
5. And Superfluous Items
The interesting thing about Yodobashi Camera is that it sells practically everything. You can find a selection of stationary, fountain pens, sophisticated rice cookers, memory cards, computers, batteries, artistic phone covers, and even designer bags. Yes, I’ve even spotted a Hermes bag in a Yodobashi Camera store.
If you’re a tech nerd, prepare to spend at least 2 hours at Yodobashi Akihabara. It’s also not as English-friendly from my experience, so make sure you have a photo or means of communicating your product.
Yodobashi Tax Free
You will need to present your passport and generally get cash back. Different stores have different discounts, so if you’re planning on spending on a large electronics purchase, consider researching Bic Camera too. Or, if you’re in the market for a camera, consider going to Shinjuku’s Camera Town. You can find more insight into this and more in my book, The Hidden Tokyo Neighborhood Guidebook. Learn more.
The Location of Yodobashi Akihabara