Made in Japan: Tokyo Retro Game Store Guide (Part 2 - Friends, Trader, Beep, and Nakano Mandarake)

T3's man in Japan delivers the ultimate shopping resource for retro gamers visiting Tokyo

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Following our last article about the truth about the retro gaming market in Japan we received many requests on how to reach the best retro gaming shops mentioned in the piece. This was not only because some of these places are not easy to find for people who don't speak fluent Japanese, but also because people wanted specific help in looking for specific console and/or games (ex: Nintendo or handhelds).

Indeed, many readers told us that they were heading out this summer on their holidays to visit these stores and, with the Tokyo Game show just around the corner, (if you missed our daily coverage from last year here are our Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 reports), we thought we'd put together the ultimate retro game shop guide for Tokyo.

Logically we will not be able to list all of them (otherwise this feature would would become a bible), but we'll try to summarise and list the most famous, best and biggest stores so most of you guys will be able to find them easily, go there for what you really need and save time and money.

Last time out we published the first part of the guide, which should go and read now if you haven't already, and here we continue our journey into the best retro gaming shops in Tokyo.

Friends

Another retro gaming shop born in the last few years that is growing in popularity, quantity and quality all the time.

Placed at the bottom of the Akihabara's main thoroughfare, this retro gaming shop is really difficult to spot in you're not used to being in the district.

Located in the building next to the old G-Front's shop (an historic Arcade Pcb shop in Tokyo), you can easily find this shop by going down the main street at the second set of traffic lights (or just simply look for the Suehirocho Subway Station), and then turn to your left where you can see a Segafredo's Bar (you will find it immediately if you look for a red colour).

At this point you'll have to enter not at the door of the first building (where G-Front used to be), but at the next one one along.

As we've said before here many shops are not at the street level, so you'll have to enter the building, get the elevator and go at the second floor: there is 'Friends'.

The Shop is structured across two floors (as Super Potato is): on the first you can see many rare consoles and games of the most important brands (Nintendo and Sega especially).

On the second floor (that would be the 3rd in Japan because they calculate the street floor as first floor) you'll find Dreamcast, Sony PSX and PS2, as well as many many historic Japanese magazines such as 'Dreamcast Fan', 'Arcadia' and 'Famitsu'. Plus game music CDs.

Prices are a little bit higher compared to other retro gaming shops, but the quality is really stunning. Here I have spotted many systems including s PC Engine Rx, US Sega CDX and a few Virtual Boys. They are like new, if not "NOS" stated in the front labels. The only problem of this shop is that they do not accept credit cards, so make sure you bring plenty of cash.

STORE DETAILS

Adress: 6-14-13 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan

Telephone: 03-5812-2471

Opening Hours:  Monday~Sunday: 11:00~20:00

Official Website: http://gameshop.ocnk.net/news#78 

Trader Main Shop

Probably one of the biggest Japanese chains of trade in, located in many different department stores here in Akihabara (especially on the main street), has a retro gaming-orientated one but to get to it you have to find the second floor of the building named Trader 3, which is located next to the Apple store.

Coming from the JR line direction, pass the first traffic light (where you'll see the official Apple store) and then go in the next building and get in get the elevator to the second floor and you are there in front of Trader.

Here you can find really find EVERYTHING for every system: Super Famicom, 3DO, PC FX, SNK Neo-Geo AES, Sega Megadrive, Nec's Pc Engine, etc..

Prices are good, quality is good but not exceptional.

STORE DETAILS

Adress:  Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda, 3 Chome−14

Telephone: 03-3255-3493

Opening Hours:  11:00~20:00(Mon.-Thu.) / 10:00~20:30(Fri.Sat.before holidays) \ 10:00~20:00 (Sun and national holidays)

Official Website: http://www.e-trader.jp

BEEP

Behind the retro gaming Trader store there is also this new shop that opened in September 2014.

Focused mostly on old Japanese hardware such as arcade Pcbs and Japanese '80s Home computers as the MSX, and PC98, this shop have some interesting consoles to sell.

Conditions are good (but not perfect) and prices are good too.

The location is pretty small and below the street level.

It will be not easy to find it because you' ll have to find the BEEP sign, and from there climb down the stairs and open a closed door, however, then you will enter the paradise!

STORE DETAILS

Adress: Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda, 3−9−8 

Telephone: 03-6206-9116

Opening Hours: 17:00~21:00(Mon.-Wed.) \ 11:00~20:00 (Thru.Fri.Sat.before holidays) \ 11:00~20:00 (Sun and national holidays) 

Official Website: http://www.akihabara-beep.com/

Mandarake in Nakano (Galaxy Shop)

This is probably one of the hardest shops to reach but also where you'll be able to find real rare hardware and software due to its tricky position.

To reach Nakano, you'll have (probably) to look for first Shinjuku, then take the yellow metro and reach Nakano after three metro stations. 

As soon as you are out of the station you'll have just to go down the street, enter the first building / shopping mall you have in front of you (named 'Broadway'), and then proceed until you pass a McDonalds and a 2nd entrance (with an air conditioning killer spray!). At that point you should see an information desk on your right, and an elevator (on the right too).

Take the elevator and as soon as you arrive you'll see the Mandarake shop on your left. But that's not the store with the retro games! 

And here comes the trickiest part, so pay attention, to reach this one you'll have to proceed and turn right where you'll see a corner shop of weird merchandise.

At this point you'll see some stairs, go down one floor (you' won't be back where you were before because they created a middle floor).

At this point you'll see on your left a mandarake store dedicated to cars, proceed until when you'll see a blue sign with the name of "GALAXY" written on it.

There you are: you reached the secret Mandarake retro gaming department.

Prices are a little bit higher than in Akihabara, but here you'll really find what you do not find anywhere else.

A clear example of what I am saying is the selection and quality of the Nintendo's Game&Watches, the limited versions of Game Boys and 3DS, and MSX games.

Of course there will be also be Virtual Boy, Megadrive, MegaCD, Pc Fx, Pc Engine, Dreamcast and PSX/PS2.

But the real deal to come to this shop is for the rare NOS consoles.

STORE DETAILS

Adress:  Nakano 5-52-15, Nakano-ku, Tokyo

Telephone: 03-3228-0007 (Press 51 to connect with office)

Opening Hours:  12.00am – 8.00pm weekdays \ 12.00am – 8.00pm weekends and public holidays

Official Website: https://order.mandarake.co.jp/order/

We continue next time.

Mata ne.