There’s a few secrets to Japan that until you’ve spent a fair amount of time here, you’re unlikely to simply know about. The best places to eat, the best places to visit, and most importantly, the best places to buy games. If you’ve been here before, you might have seen or even shopped at a store called Book Off. It’s this cool little second hand store that specializes in anything and everything, regardless of what it’s name suggests. But what you probably didn’t know is that beyond your basic Book Off stores, there exists something much, much larger.
Book Off Super Bazaar is a treasure trove of secondhand goods ranging from furniture to video games, and everything in-between. It is the largest used-goods marketplace in Japan, with more than 40 locations nationwide. As someone fortunate enough to live walking distance from one of their many locations, my video game collection has never looked better. It’s difficult to explain how cool it is to walk into the store and find an original boxed copy of Pokémon Red and Green for Game Boy in near-perfect condition for a grand total of 108 yen (roughly $1 USD).
It is also a must-stop destination whenever I have friends over. Some of our most noteworthy finds include titles like Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 64, Kirby for Game Boy and a plethora of over games, all priced at 108 yen in their original boxes.
Entire rows of video games line the walls of each store, bridging generations all the way from the Famicon (NES) to the Nintendo Switch. You’ll find crates filled to the brim with classic Japanese titles, making it more than easy to lose yourself as you dig for hours. It’s definitely worth noting that while you’ll find the following console titles at a price of 108 yen, you’ll be hard-pressed finding newer titles this cheap; Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Nintendo NES, Nintendo SNES, Nintendo 64, Wii (select titles), Dreamcast, PlayStation (select titles), PlayStation 2 (select titles), and a few other assorted consoles.
Of course, there are plenty of other noteworthy otaku-related items on sale at Book Off Super Bazaar. Anime, figures, CDs and manga all find themselves completely slashed in price compared to their counterparts elsewhere. I’ve even managed to find items like a near-new instax camera for as low as 200 yen, but that still pales in comparison to some of the other treasures available in store. With stock being changed out and updated daily, each trip to the store feels like a completely new adventure. While you can’t necessarily be certain that the title you want will be there, you’re almost guaranteed to find something else that’ll suit your needs.
So if you’re searching for something specific, you might be safer going straight to Super Potato or Retro Games in Akihabara, but if you’re just on the hunt for something a little more general, it’s definitely worth checking out Book Off Super Bazaar. If you’re unable to find a Super Bazaar store, it’s still worth checking out the regular Book Off stores, though don’t be expecting anything crazy cheap. Those kinds of specials are generally reserved for these treasure troves, which is part of what makes them my favorite retro game store in Japan. The uncertainty, the excitement, and even the occasional dissapointment, it’s all part of the trip to Super Bazaar.
If you’re interested in checking out a Book Off Super Bazaar next time you’re in Japan, you can find a full list of locations online via Book Off’s official website, here.