Big in Japan - Nikon

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#1
Hi All,

I'm about to go to Japan and I wouldn't mind buying some equipment to bring home, on the assumption that the prices will be more competitive and availability better.

Has any Nikon owner shopped in Tokyo/Osaka for equipment? What I'm really looking for is both new camera stores but also a place like Grays of Westminster with great used equipment.

Thanks,
 
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Raymond
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#2
Availability better - likely
Condition better - most definitely
Price more competitive - unlikely.

The reason being the pound is dropping like flies. It was £1 to 200 yen at its highest and it has been dropping steadily since, it is now £1 to about 125 yen. Don't forget also you are subject to 20% tax when you return. Technically speaking you get it tax free when you buy in Japan, their sales tax since October has now gone from 8% to 10% for anything under £50. Everything above £390 you are liable for 20% tax.
 
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#3
We were in Japan last year.

I think you'll find a wider range of things but I wouldn't count on saving any money - Japan is very, very expensive.

You'll be amazed by the amount and variety of camera stuff available - One store I went to in Kyoto had every possible model of Olympus camera and lens on sale, along with all the official accessories like eyecups and straps - they also had comprehensive ranges of all the manufacturers I could think of including a range of Leica.
The shop was like a 5 storey Dixons selling everything from shavers and washing machines to mobile phones.
This is their website https://www.yodobashi.com/
BUT when I checked out the prices the savings were minimal working at a nominal exchange rate of £1=150Y, today it's £1=132Y
I couldn't see any significant saving, a potential hassle with tax and the joys of international warranty - not sure how that works for Nikon but it's restrictive for Olympus.

I've just done a price check on the Olympus OM-D E-M1ii with 12-40 lens (because it's one I know).
You'll save about £60 on a £1899 kit BUT then there's the tax to work out.

We bought some clothes "tax free" which is done at the point of sale in shops that are covered for it. They pushed this quite hard but it's not very user friendly.
They fix the receipt into your passport and stamp across the receipt and the page so you can't tamper with it. You're supposed to declare it on the way out but as there was no one at the airport desk we didn't bother. The irritation was we'd only save a few £££ and it was a pain to go through the process in the store, plus it makes a mess of a page in your passport which is expensive to replace if it's full of stamps from receipts! I've had enough grief of US immigration for smudged stamps without them being in a character set they can't read ;)
I imagine if you did the same thing with an expensive purchase and got stopped at the UK airport you'd have to declare the gear and pay the VAT + duty.
What we'd bought was below the personal limits anyway, I've never seen anyone stopped at the airport but I assume it must happen and technically we should all declare things over the limits.

Something you may find interesting is the range of stuff available in regular stores.
There's a chain called Loft which has a photography section.
They had big ranges of reconditioned vintage lenses, film cameras, polaroids etc.
They also had every possible kind of strap and mount and loads of FujiFilm Instax
https://www.loft.co.jp/


Vintage and Retro
by AMc UK, on Flickr


Instax display
by AMc UK, on Flickr


Vintage Film Cameras
by AMc UK, on Flickr



I don't remember seeing any dedicated camera shops in Akihabara but they do exist - this article might be of use.
https://japantravel.navitime.com/en/area/jp/guide/NTJtrv1166-en/
 
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#4
I've been to Yodabashi in Tokyo, the biggest one of the lot, it's HUGE, every model on display for you to try.

But I didn't buy anything because the savings are not there, that was 2 years ago.
 
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#5
I went 4 years ago and there seemed to be lots of camera shops in Tokyo and loads of choice.

I bought an Olympus lens and saved myself about £150 at the time. There was a limit as to how much I could bring back without paying tax and I stayed within that.
 
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#6
Thanks everyone, this was very informative.

I didn't think about the Pound and didn't know about the tax...

Still, I guess I'll check a shop or two for window-watching only. But then again if I'm not hunting for bargains I might as well go to the Nikon museum instead.
 
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#7
A friend of ours was going to go to Japan for a bit of tourism but someone they know has just returned and it was shockingly expensive; I won't quote numbers as I didn't write anything down but it made our visit to Iceland last year seem quite reasonable. It has given us pause for thought - this is food.
 
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