Electronics appliances and hardware stores can be found all over the city in department stores, specialty electronic stores, and major general stores.
Akihabara (sometimes referred to as the “Electric City”) is known by Japanese and foreigners alike to be Tokyo’s center of all things electronic. Audio and visual components like televisions, stereos, and region-free DVD players can be found within just about any store within this district. But Akihabara is also known for being the computer capital of Tokyo – from the biggest brands in off the shelf computers, to niche components for those that like to build their own, Akihabara is a one-stop location, for whatever your computing and gaming needs might be. This Web site provides a guide to the district (http://www.e-akihabara.jp/).
Some of the main electronics and appliances stores in Tokyo include:
- BicCamera (http://www.biccamera.com/) has stores located across the city and offers appliances and electronics from all kinds of product categories including air conditioners, AV hardware, cameras, computers, refrigerators, washer/dryers, and much more.
- Costco (http://www.costco.co.jp/) is not typically known as an appliance or electronics store, but the limited number of hardware they do have (primarily cameras, computers, stereos, TVs, and some kitchen appliances) are generally of high quality and at decent cost.
- Don Quijote (http://donki.com/index.php) is a chain of discount general stores that sell everything from clothing items and cooking ingredients to AV equipment and a selection of small home appliances.
- LAOX (http://www.laox.co.jp) has stores located across the city and is similar in product offering to BicCamera, although LAOX’s Akihabara stores (presently a dozen in total) cater especially to foreigners with region-free DVD players and duty-free sales.
- Sofmap (http://www.sofmap.com) and Yodobashi Camera(http://www.yodobashi.com) are two other major electronics chains operating across the city.
- Tokyu Hands (http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/, located in several districts including Shibuya) – sells a variety of hardware appliances and do-it-yourself tools including electronics kids, a myriad of tools, lumber, and plenty more.
For smaller items, such as screwdrivers, nuts and bolts, light bulbs, etc., many neighborhood convenience stores are a viable solution, while some local family-owned “general stores” may offer even more electronic and mechanical components.
Several free English language magazines and Web sites can also help with your search for new or used appliances and electronics goods including: Japan Today (http://www.japantoday.com), Metropolis (http://metropolis.co.jp), and Tokyo Notice Board (http://www.tokyonoticeboard.co.jp).