Big in Japan: Recycle Shops


Recycle shops are just one facet of what makes Japan the gaming Mecca that it is.

Before I arrived here, my idea of finding a second-hand treasure in the rough was finding a copy of a great game I hadn’t seen before. RollerCoaster Tycoon for the Xbox springs to mind… or just about anything that a dog hadn’t tried to eat in a CeX store. Now it’s finding a 64DD game I’m missing, another Game Boy Light or a reasonably-priced PC Engine variant.

I’m not talking about venturing to the Akihabara district of Tokyo to get these items either. Recycle shops selling all kinds of rarities I had only ever dreamed of can be found in just about any small city or off the road on any motorway in Japan. The pictures you see here are from one called “Treasure Island” in Tomida, Mie Prefecture. Google Tomida and you’ll find that the only thing it’s known for is that the trains from its station will take you to Nagoya.

When I first went to Nagoya (Japan’s 4th largest and my nearest big city) I ventured to the electronic district and spent all of my paycheque on filling in just about every console I was missing from my collection from Panasonic’s 3DO to Bandai’s SwanCrystal. Unfortunately, as I was paying in what I perceived to be funny money, I overpaid dearly for them.

The only thing I have not yet found are all the parts to a Pioneer LaserActive – a behemoth that is part karaoke machine, part retro gaming paradise. It plays Mega Drive, Mega CD, Master System, PC Engine (both HuCard and CD) and some exceedingly rare LaserDisc games.

But recycle shops aren’t just limited to games.  Toys, manga, movies, music, clothes, cards – you name it, they have it. While each of these sections may be more focused on manga or anime characters, that doesn’t mean you can’t find something game related in each section. I’ve found retro Sonic and Mario tees that somehow fit me, videogame vinyls, official speedruns of both odd and old games on VHS and DVD, Zelda, Pokémon and Wario manga and beautiful Final Fantasy Triple Triad cards.

If you are planning on visiting Japan, you owe it to yourself to find a recycle shop and track down the gaming goodies you’ve always dreamed of.







One response to “Big in Japan: Recycle Shops”

  1. George avatar

    Hi, Danny

    I am looking for Japanese Karaoke laserdiscs. do you have shops in Nagoya to recommend?


Leave a Reply