Tokyo is a melting pot of timelines. If you’re a fan of vintage products and nostalgic throwbacks, then Tokyo, despite its overwhelming number of skyscrapers, flashing billboards, and robot entertainment, is the place to be.
More specifically, if you’re a gamer and have a soft spot for retro game consoles having grown up playing SEGA and Nintendo 64, then a visit to some of the retro game shops in Tokyo is a must!
Unlike the resurgence of nostalgia across the world in recent years, Tokyo has always held classic childhood gaming experiences in high regard. Their game stores have always been popular with the young and the young-at-heart, and there are no signs of them slowing down on selling out physical hardware, even though we’re all moving to the digital age.
Akihabara, globally nicknamed as “Electric Town” and affectionately referred to as “Akiba” by locals, is where it all happens. This buzzing hub right in the middle of Tokyo is within proximity to many other bustling suburbs, making it a great day trip or stopover for some epic game shopping.
1. Super Potato
For anyone looking to reinvigorate their childhood memories, Super Potato is the place to go. This retro game shop is undoubtedly the most popular and most frequented across Akihabara. It’s such an institution that it’s actually spawned a whole lot of chain stores right across Japan; however, Akihabara has the biggest one.
This store is four levels of pure nostalgic fun. From entire sections dedicated to the different consoles throughout the years, to a level full of old-school arcade games for you to excitedly spend handfuls of 100-yen coins on, it’s like a dream come true for vintage game lovers.
The shop itself is so vast, it’s almost like a museum! Aisles upon aisles of pre-loved yet immaculately restored games sit next to brand-new untouched packages. Collectible items are displayed throughout, with some so rare you’ll find yourself subconsciously reaching for your wallet before you know it.
Get ready to spend hours here, especially if you’re a massive enthusiast.
Hours: Monday to Friday – 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday – 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
If you’re looking for a no-frills, strait-laced retro games shopping experience, look no further than Friends. Rather than the colorfully lit, immaculately presented aisles of the aforementioned Super Potato, Friends is rather…ordinary.
But maybe it’s the unpolished look of the random shelf displays or the lack of immediate attention from the servers, but some might find Friends more comfortable to mindlessly browse without worrying about crowds of anime fanatics rushing their way through to get to the latest merch.
No doubt their expansive collection of retro games, vintage magazines, and rare collectibles will have you forgetting the time. And with the lack of crowds plus multiple rows to explore, we reckon the quiet ambiance will reel you in and keep you longer than you anticipate.
Hours: Thursday to Monday – 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, closed Tuesday & Wednesday
3. Retro Game Camp
Widely lauded as the best retro video game shop in all of Japan (that’s huge), Retro Game Camp is the otaku dream. This shop is filled to the brim with a massive number of stocks, from games compatible with the classic Nintendo Entertainment System all the way up to the latest consoles.
If you’re a bit nervous about purchasing pre-owned classics, Retro Game Camp actually has a solid reputation for meticulously checking the operations of their products before placing them on display. They also make sure to change the batteries in all cartridge games as well as any consoles to ensure they’re in mint working order, so you know what you’re getting is in perfect condition.
Hours: Monday to Friday – 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday – 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Enjoy shopping in this buzzing suburb! The hustle and bustle of Tokyo are well and truly alive in this “Electric City”. If you can, schedule your visit on a Sunday, as every Sunday, the roads get blocked off and you’re free to roam the streets of Akihabara freely on foot.