A Quick Tour of Two of Tokyo’s Biggest Electronics Chains

Sections: Audio, Video

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For reasons I’ll never quite understand, HomeTechTell editor Dennis Burger’s is absolutely fascinated by Japanese electronics stores, so when he found out I was going to be in Tokyo last week for business, he practically begged me to grab some photos and videos of the “kooky colorful displays,” as he puts it.

So to keep the bossman happy, I fired up the video camera in my iPhone and visited two of my favorite stores in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo. The area around the station not only features all the major retailers, but most of them actually have two locations — one on either side of the busiest train station in the world. While BIC and Yodobashi Camera share a very similar design philosophy, LABI — the first store I visited — resembles a western electronics retailer the most, with large, open, brightly lit floors and more display stickers per square-foot of shelf space than TVs.

By contrast, the second video features Yodobashi Camera, which is a much more traditional Japanese retailer: multiple small and specialized floors on a small overall footprint. So check out my spy camera videos to get an idea of the experience. My only regret is not catching the Yodobashi Camera anthem for you in situ, but you can hear it elsewhere on YouTube. Check out the shelves and shelves and more shelves full of blank media — a huge thing in Japan — and the 100″ projection screen with short throw projectors for small Japanese residences at the end.

As you’ve seen, Japanese retail is very loud. It’s much more about having barkers outside the store, in your face shelf tags, and having a much more intimate customer experience. The kind of thing that a lot of electronics geeks in the US hate. So your mileage may vary if you have the opportunity to shop there. My preference? Yodobashi Camera. They sell everything in Shinjuku from watches to sunglasses to video games, and it feels like a local appliance store, something that died most places in the ’80s in favor of the big boxes.

So that concludes our look at shopping in Shinjuku, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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