I’ve recently made a trip to Japan (22/11/2018 – 5/12/2018) and as any self respecting ex-weeb would do, made a beeline for BookOff – a major second hand store chain.
As there doesn’t seem to be much information on the internet about what prices you can expect from BookOff, I decided to make a list of what I found. Note that I found prices noticeably higher in HardOff compared to BookOff for both consoles and games, though HardOffs are still worth a look since some of them are located very near a BookOff. Also, unless you specifically go to BookOffs out of your way, most likely you won’t find the best prices; remember to factor in public transport fares!
Please assume that all prices are without tax. BookOff is generally Consumption Tax Free when you make a purchase of more than 5000 yen and present your passport at payment. Current consumption tax is 8% with it rising to 10% starting October 2019.
Gameboy Advance SP
I’ve never owned any Gameboy other than a Gameboy Advance SP in my life, so please don’t ask me about Gameboy Colours. Starting prices for Gameboys seem to be in the 3-6 000 yen range depending on condition. These are fairly rare in BookOffs – you may have better luck in Osaka DenDen town or Akihabara. I saw limited Pikachu and Rayquaza themed GBA SPs in Mandarake Akihabara for ~21 000 and 42 000 yen respectively. Apart from the one GBA SP that I spotted in BookOff Plus Namba for ~1 450 yen (disappeared the next day… :c), I haven’t really seen any ‘cheap’ Gameboys. I did manage to snag a heavily scratched GBA SP (without AC adapter) from the BookOff in Gyootoku for ~1 500 yen though.
The DS Lite was an iconic Nintendo console that formed the basis of my primary/high school years. It was the console that introduced me to Pokemon through Diamond and Pearl. This console is not region locked meaning that it can play games from countries outside of Japan. The DS Lite also offers support for Gameboy Advance (GBA) cartridges. The ‘standardised’ price across BookOffs seemed to be 1 950 yen when I was searching for them. For that price, you can pick them up boxed (with documentation and charger) if you spend some time searching for them. Note that if you buy a DS Lite without a charger, an official (Japanese) Nintendo AC charger will set you back 880 yen. You may consider eBay for cheap generic charging cables from China.
As usual, BookOff discounts consoles with defects. On this trip, I picked up a boxed DS Lite with minor markings on the bottom screen for 950 yen, a boxless DS Lite without charger for 1 450 yen, and a ‘flawless’ boxed DS Lite for 1 950 yen.
The DSi is an ‘improved’ version of the Nintendo DS Lite. It removes the support for GBA cartridges, and is partially region locked for games that offer DSi enhanced experiences. Normal DS cartridges are still not region locked so this does not pose a big issue for me. One improvement that the DSi does have over the DS Lite is that it offers a rainbow pencil for PictoChat 🙂 I saw plenty of DSis going for ~1 460 yen though as far as I know, they did not come with AC adapters. Expect another 880 yen for an AC adapter; once again, you may consider generic charging cables from China.
Please check whether you can find refurbished consoles in your country. I have slight regrets in buying a DSi from Japan, as at the time of publication of this blog post, EBGames was selling a preowned DSi (with AC adapter) for $34 AUD, the equivalent of ~2 750 JPY.
The 3DS introduced 3D capabilities to the Nintendo DS console line-up. However, it is also region locked. The 3DS was not much cheaper than what I would expect to pay in Australia as prices started at ~7 000-8 000 yen which was just <$100 AUD at the time. I got my original 3DS from a CashConverter store somewhere around ~2014 for just over $100.
The ‘New’ 2DS/3DSs started at ~10 000 yen. Again, this is a region locked console. While it was affordable, it most certainly was not worth it for me, as I haven’t touched any 3DS games in years. It also was not helped by the ‘New’ 2DS XL going on sale for $99 AUD during my trip.
Please note that region locks for the 2DS/3DS can be bypassed by installing custom firmware (CFW). I take no responsibility if you brick your device.
Now I’m not much of a figurine person, but BookOff seems to have varying prices for their figurines from dirt cheap (~500 yen) all the way up to Akihabara prices. Most figures from what I can tell go from between 1 000-3 000 yen, which is what you’ll see in Akihabara as well. However, I managed to grab some mini figurines of Rem and Ram (I haven’t even watched Re:Zero…) for just 350 yen from the BookOff in Minamisenba in Osaka.
Be aware that not all BookOffs have a figurine section; on the other hand, there is a spin-off called HobbyOff which just sells figurines and related items. Most BookOffs as far as I know aren’t that good for figurines, however, I found that the BookOff near Mt. Fuji station and the BookOff Super Bazaar in Ichikawa had figurines dirt cheap. Here are a few figures that I got from the BookOff near Mt. Fuji station: