Buying second hand goods in Japan

There are amazing stores all over Japan that sell all kinds of wonderful second hand JE bits and pieces. Concert goods, CDs, DVDs, photos, advertising, streamers, programs, cash cards, magazines, collectors’ items. If it’s got a JE guys face on it then you are sure to be able to buy it somewhere second hand. There are plenty of places where you can get new CDs, DVDs and magazines but most things go out of print and there’s no way of getting new concert goods after a concert is over, so the second hand route is generally the quickest and cheapest way to build up your JE collection.

Quick Guide

  • Trio- second hand everything (Harajuku)
  • Johnny Land- second hand everything (Osaka/Nagoya)
  • Mandarake- second hand everything (Nationwide)
  • BookOff- second hand CDs, DVDs and magazines (Nationwide)
  • Tsutaya- ex-rental DVDs (Nationwide)

 

General JE Shopping Tips

  • Set aside time. If you like to graze shelves of magazines and sort through entire walls of photos like me, make sure you set yourself aside lots of time for shopping. There is so much incredible stuff to find hidden away in these stores that you can literally be there for hours.
  • Know your boy’s kanji. Knowing how to read your boy’s name in Japanese is a blessing. Photos, uchiwas and a few other things are usually separated by member so If you know how to read your boy’s name in Japanese then you can go directly to his stuff and speed up the search process.
  • Remember your manners. These stores are often tiny and pokey and the racks and stands are overflowing with goods. The stores are often super crowded, especially on weekends, so no matter how exciting a discovery you make try to keep your voice down, and take off any big bags you may be carrying so you don’t bump into any displays or other customers.
  • Pay in cash. Japan is still mainly a cash society. Some of the big chain stores like BookOff and Mandarake do accept foreign credit cards but for other places you’re safer to have cash at hand just in case.

 

Trio (Harajuku)

Trio is a gorgeous store in Harajuku that sells second hand JE stuff. They have a Twitter HERE and a website HERE that you can check out.

Trio do also have four other Tokyo stores located in Harajuku, Akihabara and Nakano. These stores focus more on general JPOP goods and female idols; only the Harajuku 1 store is dedicated solely to JE.

Getting there

Access directions are on the website HERE but I’ll elaborate a bit. Take the main exit from Harajuku station and walk down Takeshita Dori. Turn right when you get opposite the 7Eleven. This is the same 7Eleven that has the PhotoBank above it. There’s a bright red doorway just a little way up the hill with stairs that lead down into the store.

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 9.03.38 am
Source: Google maps

 

TIPS

  • Rare photos are packaged singularly on the standing rack, and general photos are on a shelf in albums. They’re sorted by group, and member.
  • When you’re looking at photos in photo albums only take the photos out when you are 100% sure you’re going to buy them. If you change your mind you’ll need to ask a staff member to put the photo back in the album. They do this so that the edges don’t get all tattered.

 

Johnny Land  

Johnny Land is the same as Trio Harajuku. It’s a store dedicated solely to selling second hand JE stuff. There are stores in 6 different locations around the country. The two main stores can be found in Shinsaibashi (Osaka) and Nagoya. Their website is HERE , their Osaka store Twitter is HERE   and Nagoya is HERE

Getting there

I have only been to the Shinsaibashi store once so a lot of what I’ll put here is purely my interpretation of the access information on the website.

Shinsaibashi, Osaka

Take the Midosuji Subway line 鉄御堂筋線 to Shinsaibashi Station 心斎橋駅 and take exit 8 OR the South 14 exit 南14. You can also take the Yotsubashi Subway line 四つ橋線 to Yotsubashi Station 四ツ橋駅 and take exit 3. The store is 5 minutes’ walk in between these two stations. They recently put up this cute little map on their Twitter that kind of shows you where to go from there.

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Source: janilandgoods

 

Nagoya

This is the only place on this list that I have never been to before so apologies if I give you the wrong directions. Take the Meijou subway line 名城線 to Yaba-cho Station 矢場町駅. Take Exit 4 and walk straight for a bit and then turn right down the street with the big red chicken. It’s just up here on your left.

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Source: janiland_nagoya

 

Others locations  

The other stores aren’t really stores, just small second hand goods sections in a larger bookstore. If you’re in the area look them up but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go shopping here. The other locations are:

  • Yanoshobou book store in Osaka
  • Kobunkan bookstores in Ginza and Allpark, Hiroshima
  • Sanseido bookstore in Ikebukuro, Tokyo

 

TIPS

  • Same as Trio, rare photos are packaged separately on a rack and general photos are in albums. Unlike Trio, depending on the group these are not always sorted by member so you may just have to flip through the folders for that group and pick out the photos of the member you like from amongst all the others
  • I’ve read that the Osaka store is slightly more biased towards the Kansai groups (K8 and JWest). I didn’t notice this when I went but I have only been once and I really only looked at the photos.

 

Mandarake

This is a nationwide chain of second hand stores that sell a whole range of second hand goodies. The name Manadarake comes from man = manga and darake = full of, so “full of manga”. It sells second hand books, manga, DVDs, CDs, anime merch, games, cosplays, doujinshi, figures, retro toys and idol goodies. Sometimes finding the JE section in Mandarake is the biggest challenge. If you’re really lost just ask a staff member to point you in the direction of the 男性アイドル (dansei idol/male idol) section. I know in Fukuoka you have to go up the external staircase to the second floor to find it and in Shibuya its waaaay down underground on like Basement 2 level.

There is a Mandarake in every major city in Japan so just check your Google maps to see what’s closest to you. The website lists all of the stores HERE

Lucky dip photo packets

Mandarake sell their photos in a chaotic way so you’ll need to check the price tag to see what you’re actually buying!

  • General photo packets are a mixed bag with only two pictures displayed on the outside and the rest a mystery inside. They generally tend to package photos from the same sets/eras together. On the price tag there should be a number followed by this kanji 枚 (mai) which in this case means “sheets of paper”. All the packets are different, so sometimes you’ll pick one up that’s 5枚600円 (5 photos for 600yen) and other times you’ll pick one up that’s3枚1200円 (3 photos for 1200yen) so be careful and don’t get caught out!
  • If there is a full set of photos from say a concert, the price tag will say the actual name of the set on the packet like “SENSE or LOVE八乙女セット” or something like that.
  • If there is a little tag stuck next to the section where your boy’s photos are that says “something something 20円” this is not a sale! This is Mandarake saying that they need more photos of this member and will pay you 20yen per photo if you’re selling. Again, don’t get caught!

Quality rating

Every CD and DVD sold at Mandarake is given a quality rating with A being pristine and C being pretty worn out. There should be a sticker on the back of every packet that gives a quality rating for these three things:

  • ケース  Case
  • ブックレット Booklet
  • ディスク Disk

This will tell you whether the disk is potentially scratched, the booklet is faded, the case is scratched or cracked, or if anything is missing.

Duty Free

If you’re visiting from overseas then you can claim anything you buy from Mandarake as duty free, just make sure you have your passport with you when you pay.

 

Book Off

This is another nation-wide chain of second hand stores that sells CDs, DVDs, books, clothes, toys, games, electronics, instruments, furniture, like literally the kitchen sink.  Book Offs can be found in numerous cities all over Japan. Their website lists all of the locations HERE Just click on the prefecture you’re in and it will bring up the list of stores. Book Off doesn’t have a specific JE section but there is a lot of cool JE stuff that you can find hidden amongst the shelves.

  • CDs and concert DVDs: there should be a JE section in amongst the walls of CDs somewhere. Beware that some of the smaller stores will only stock albums and won’t sell singles.
  • Photo books: Occasionally there will be a small section of JE photo books or concert pamphlets somewhere near the CD section but this usually isn’t very big.
  • Dramas: Book Off is an excellent place to find illusive old drama box sets
  • Magazines: Stroll amongst the shelves until you come across the 男性アイドル (male idol) sign or sometimes it will say something like 女性雑誌 (magazines for girls).

 

Ex-rental DVDs

Tsutaya DVD stores generally have a section where they sell ex-rental DVDs. These are usually pretty pricey for second hand goods BUT sometimes it’s the only place you can find rare older JE dramas like Matsumoto Jun’s 君はペット (Kimi wa Petto) or Fujigaya/Tamamori/Yaotome’s  美男ですね (Ikemen desu ne). Again, there are Tsutayas in cities all over Japan so check their website HERE for locations near you. Once you’re in the store you’ll be looking for the 中古販売 (chuuko hanbai/second hand sales) section.

Author: Claire

Almost 30-year-old Australian. I've been in love with JE idols for 10 years now. Started with Arashi, moved on to JUMP and recently I've fallen in love with Ebi. I started studying Japanese with a tutor after I graduated university, and have been teaching myself ever since. I lived in the Japanese countryside and taught English at primary and middle school for two years. Currently back in Australia, working as a speech therapist and am about to get married~!

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