Guitar shopping in Tokyo advice please


New member
Hi all,

I'll be off to Tokyo in 2 weeks for work related purposes. Naturally I need to vent out my GAS desires whilst there. I could use some pointers and advice on where to look for used guitars and shops I should check out please. Also on cultural quirks of shopping in Japan such as bargaining (is it accepted etc.

Just to share with you all, I'm thinking of buying one of these:

Fender Jap Jazzmaster
Fender Jap Jaguar
Good built Jap brand ES335 (Tokai, Orville etc)
Good built Jap brand LP Custom (Tokai, Orville etc)
Edwards LP
Used Gibson Les Paul (USD900 at the most)or
The one which catches my attention the most!

Thanks all!
Hi calibre2001,

You can try these sites which i got from Ibanez Japan. Click on "ŠÖ“Œ", there you'll find "tokyo" and "tokyo2". And if you know the way, try head down to Ochanomizu, a town in Tokyo where there are about 50 guitar shops!

Generally, musical intruments in Japan, especially in Tokyo are VERY EXPENSIVE! Fenders and Ibanez can cost you about SGD$200-300 more than in Singapore. I did enquire about a used, mint condition RGT3120TDB with hardcase, price-$1650 :roll: . My advice:

1) Get something that's not available here. E.g. J-Custom, Destroyer, JTK, HR Giger RG or the 2005 limited edition RG.

2) Try pedals of all brands and models. The shop that i went to has pedals displayed on 6 tier racks 30 metres long!

3) Amp. Mesa Boogies!!! Why bother trying something else?!

4) Upload your new baby on soft and let all softies cry! :lol:

Try the ESP Japan websites too - GAS Warning Alert! I'm not sure if there is any tax imposed for bringing in musical instruments purchased over there.

Usually all sales are fixed price, but no harm trying your charm at the cute salesgirls (kinky des!) :lol:. Overall, the salespersons are a friendly bunch too, try what you want - no time limit.

Don't be sad if you didn't get anything, enjoy Japan, its culture, foods and kinky schoolgirls-in-sailormoon-uniforms :wink: . Let me know if you need more info bro.

Bring a piece of paper with all the rough currency value converted.

100Yen = $xxx
10000Yen = $xxxx
150000Yen = $xxx
and so forth.

Then when you see an item you can do a quick addition to find the price in sing.

The last time I went, I had a heck a lot of trouble checking to see if the prices there were cheaper than over here. Luckily I had my girlfriend with me armed with a calculator. I'd tell her the price and she'd punch it in.

Generally though, the prices were the same or more expensive. Especially in Tokyo. For guitars, amps and effects and pretty much everything else.

If you have the money then I suggest you keep you eye out for things you want but are not available here.

There can be a lot of guitar shops in just one street of Tokyo, I bet you'll have a great time checking them out. (Not to mention lots of sex shops, but too bad, the girls from them don't hang around on the outside, so you'll just have to be content with the posters).
FITCH: Great advice! Love the part about the Jap chicks! :lol:
Yes, Japanese musical instruments are more pricey compared to S'pore, that's because the prices are done with Japan's market and economy in mind. The cost of living in Tokyo is also damn high...
I agree with you that one should get something unavailable in S'pore.

calibre2001: I haven't been to Japan since 1995, and never shopped for guitars before. But I will try to help.

The Fender Japan guitars are probably the most Value-For-Money brand in the Japanese market. For Gibby copies, do your on-site comparison between Tokai, Orville, Burny, Greco, Fujigen etc... To say Japanese guitars would be something like "Nihon no guitar".
It would be very helpful to pick up a Fender, Gibson or Epiphone catalogue for illustrative purposes, it would shorten time explaining what you want and prevent getting "Lost in Translation". Remember to be more specific and direct, another time-saver. Keep your receipts, you need them for tax refunds at the airport.

I hope this helps, enjoy your stay in Japan!

went there in 2003, the ginza distrct has one music level. saw the chrome js series..lotsa ibanez, gibsons, fenders strange did'nt see many lawsuits haha
Oh, there are exceptional cases to the rule "Prices in Japan are higher than S'pore"!

Take the Ibanez RGT220A for example. It's list price is SGD 3,950, according to its review here. In Japan, you can get it for JPY 180,600, which is around SGD 2,642! :wink:
i was in Tokyo in late March. and i visited a few guitar/music shops, mainly Rock-Inn and Ishibashi. the shops i visited were mainly in the Shinjuku area as that's where the cheap hotel i was staying in is located.

Ishibashi have outlets scattered all over the place. one of their outlets (close to the Shinjuku Sanchome train station) carries lots of old 2nd hand japanese-made boss pedals (DM-3, CE-2, DS-1, etc...) and old script MXR's. it's pricey tho. Rock-Inn have one huge outlet close to the huge Shinjuku station. a whole wall lined with fender...

prices wise, i will say the Japanes made guitars are cheaper than elsewhere in Singapore. i am particularly interested in Fender, and i noticed the price was "way cheaper". don't bother abt Korean made ones (ESP, Ibanez, Epiphone) its way cheaper here. US made ones r abt the same. my take is, get Japanese guitars if u r there.

another place u should visit is Akihabara. i didn't get a chance to be there. but there is a "Musical Instrument Area" street. there should be lots of shops there. and i think the prices will be "way lower" as there is definitely competition among the shops.
You're best bet is the Ochanomizu district in tokyo, there are literally streets full of guitar shops there with awesome and Japan only guitars. For a bit of mouth-watering, look at this picture my Dad took in one shop. 8O
Alexi Laiho ESPs, Jem Bad Horsie, ESP lawsuit Explorers

jumbofret said:
echoist: 8O You're damn cool! :D
hahahahahhha! am i? hhehehehehhhe...

echoist said:
another place u should visit is Akihabara. i didn't get a chance to be there. but there is a "Musical Instrument Area" street. there should be lots of shops there. and i think the prices will be "way lower" as there is definitely competition among the shops
sorry, i forgot to elaborate actually. i mentioned Akihabara, that is where Ochanomizu district (mentioned by Drewgie and FITCH earlier) is located. the nearest train station is Ochanomizu Station.

if u r into electric/electronic gadgets, head down to the "Electric City". the nearest station is Akihabara Station. its just a station away from Ochanomizu.
Since Japan is frequently hit by earthquakes, i'm sure there's lots of guitars, amps or effects that are damaged (cosmetically) by it. Do ask around, who knows they might sell it off for a good price. Just explore as many shops possible, you'll never know what you may find there. Happy hunting :wink:
The guitars there are expensive, try the 2nd hands instead, as they are almost in pristine condition and at a super value price. If you like gretsch, greco zamaitis, ESP, fender jap, look no further than Ochanomizu, 300m walk frm exit 12 of the green subway line if i remember correctly. Many of the guitar shops are abt 5 stories high so be sure to go there early in the morning (most open at 11am-8pm) if u plan to conquer all the shops. There's a shop that sells back issues of YOUNG GUITAR and I saw ANGRA's latest full band score for sale too. Check out Italia's Mondial model (under ESP), a super cool guitar which cost 1.2k if Davis order for u...but onli 700 there. It's just directly opp Ishibashi. Have fun drooling at the angels at Harajuku, say hi to the sweet lady from the perfume store for me pls! Still can't forget her... lol