A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

So, you’re planning to visit Japan and want to come home with a pile of Japanese games. There’s only one place to go: the cultural hub of otaku everywhere, Tokyo’s Akihabara. But there are hundreds of stores in Akihabara, so where exactly should you go to find the cheapest prices or the rarest finds?

Book Off

A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

Book Off is a chain of stores that buy and sell used books. Many of the stores, however, resell movies and games as well. Underneath the station and off the main drag is Akihabara’s Book Off, with its entire first floor committed to used games of all gaming generations back to the Famicom. The prices here tend to fluctuate. Sometimes they are lower than the other game stores in the area, sometimes higher. The only way to know for sure is to compare prices the day of.


A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

There are nearly a dozen Softmap stores in Akihabara and more than one of them sell video games. However, only one of them — the one of them next to the giant Sega arcade near the station — sells used video games. In this building, the first and second floors are new games for various systems; but if you take the side escalator and then climb the stairs to the third floor, you’ll be in a room filled with used games and consoles from the original PlayStation to the present. This is also one of the rare stores where you can occasionally find games sold outside of their original mint condition cases. If you are buying to play instead of collect, you’ll never find a cheaper price than one of these boxless games.

Trader #2

A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

One block beyond the main drag and across from a KFC, you’ll find Trader. This branch of the store is filled with used games from this current generation and the last. Its prices are usually quite cheap and there’s occasionally a chance of grabbing a rare find out of one of its display cases.

Super Potato

Super Potato is probably the most famous game store in Akihabara as far as retro gaming goes, with its arcade on the top floor and a life-size Naked Snake statue. Formerly, it even had a throne made of old Famicom cartridges (though it seems to have disappeared since my last visit). A block off the main street and near the KFC-adjacent Traders, this store takes up several floors — though not the first one; so keep a look out for its stairwell entrance. Here you are likely to find any possible retro game you are looking for. However, that doesn’t mean it will be cheap. Fame and excellent selection make Super Potato one of the most expensive gaming shops in the area.


A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

The towering Mandarake monolith is home to far more than gaming as they buy any and all things otaku. However, they do have a huge floor (the sixth) where the walls are lined with glass cases, filled with only the rarest of the rare of Japanese gaming — not to mention the most expensive. The floor’s other gaming contents, while much less rare, are no less expensive. However, their catalogue is quite extensive and covers all gaming generations. So if there is a game you just have to pick up while in Japan and price isn’t an obstacle, the chances are high you will find what you are looking for here.


A Gamer Buyer’s Guide To Otaku Mecca Akihabara

Another branch of Trader in Akihabara (there are three in total) is far down the main drag, almost at its end. The first floor of the store is devoted to modern gaming (with prices identical to the other location) but the second floor in the building is dedicated to retro (and import) gaming. It is filled with games ranging from the original Famicom to the PS2 and often with reasonable prices.


  • When I was there I was surprised by the amount of used SNES games for sale, picked me up an FF6 for the hell of it.

    • Saaame! Haha! This article is perfect, with maps and all, bookmarked straight away

      • luckily i’m going over with a friend who went earlier this year… he’s worked out a fairly awesome map with stores we’re going to try and get to lol

  • Honestly, if you are looking for retro games, don’t go to Akihabara. The price points there are ridiculous.

    There is a big 2nd hand gaming shop in Chiba, not too far from Narita airport. It’s an old warehouse full of stuff. It’s amazing. I picked up a Mega Drive with a controller for $20. I picked up a Dreamcast with 2 controllers, a memory card and a game for $50.

    • Whoaa! Do you have any more details, like it’s name? Would be keen on finding this one.

      • Let me have a look. I can’t remember the name off the top of my head. There’s also a fantastic place next door that has a whole heap of second hand nerd stuff. I bought so many toys…

      • Here is the access map from the website.

        Sorry it’s all in moon runes. There’s no English option. This is for the shop next door. The one that sells all the toys. It’s called Togane Kanteidan. If you are on public transport, you have to head to Chiba (pretty much in the centre between Tokyo airport and Tokyo proper) and then get a train to a little town called Togane. The nearest station should be Naruto by the look of the directions on the site. Then it’s a quick taxi ride, or a 20-30 minute walk. The building is a huge, black warehouse.

        For getting trains anywhere, http://www.hyperdia.com is your friend. Your bestest, awesomest friend.

  • Another branch of Trader in Akihabara (there are three in total)Pretty sure there were four of them when I was there a year and a half ago.

    Best worst place ever. I don’t even know how many times I went back there during our two week trip, I easily could have spent way more just exploring. Especially since even from one day to the next new stuff would appear or things that I wanted to check prices on back at the hotel would disappear by the time I got back. Absolutely terrible for the wallet too, I think I brought home some nearly $800 worth of crap. Also even when it’s “expensive”, it’s still kind of not. The price of everything was generally around a third of what they would have been ordering online back home. So great.

  • Can’t speak for every game, but when I was hunting for a copy of every Pokemon game a few months ago, the various Book Off stores around Tokyo were way cheaper than the “dedicated” retro places, half the price for a couple of them. So definitely shop around…

  • If trying to find specific games, show the store worker a photo of the game you want as he can check instantly on computer or look on a shelf. Otherwise games are typically stored spine out, which is just Japanese text, and you could be searching for hours and still might miss it.

    I’ve found Book Off one of the best for variety and prices, especially my early visits in 2008 and 2011. In June 2019, especially now with retro collecting so popular, they seem more aware of true market value and there’s less higher quality titles too. Surugaya – there’s one near Super Potato – seems to be the most likely place to find your game, especially if you are prepared to pay the price. Osaka store in Den Den Town especially so. Mandarake still leads the way in Tokyo. (Until this year, I always read it as Mandrake)

    • That’s the underground place in Shabuya yeah? Went in there by pure chance and loved it … then I seen the prices! insanely expensive but holy crap they have every figure imaginable

  • I was there last year, Super Potato was super neat. This would of been perfect as I was meant to fly back next month … then corona happened

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