NEWS from JAPAN

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5 Amazing Deals From Japan to Get While the Yen Is Weak

Take advantage of the exchange rate by snapping up Japan’s best deals!

Let the Yen Work in Your Favor

Since mid-2022, the exchange rate for the Japanese yen has been a roller coaster, with the yen going as weak as 150 to the US dollar. The consequences of this striking shift have been both positive and negative for those who deal with the yen on a regular basis, but for anyone earning outside Japan but looking to spend some yen, the weak yen offers a steep discount. For many high-ticket items, prices in Japan haven’t been adjusted in the past months, with means buyers coming from outside of Japan are paying much than they might expect. If you want to splurge on a little luxury, or some unique Japanese items, now’s the time to start shopping around – and we’ve got some recommendations for a little Japanese online shopping!

Audio, Visual, and Other Tech

These days “Made in Japan” is a sure sign of high quality, and Japanese consumers tend to be particular even about products that are made outside the country, meaning that items sold in Japan are likely to be dependable. The country also has a knack for creating niche markets, perfecting the kind of products that nobody else has even thought of. So whether you want to find the latest phones and laptops at great prices, or find a brand new hobby, Japan’s webshops are a great place to look.

Recommendations:
Sofmap‘s used and new selection includes just about any kind of tech you could want: phones, computers, analog keyboards, Dyson hairdryers, widescreen monitors… the list goes on.
Fujiya Avic and Avac both offer the kind of high-spec speakers an audiophile can get behind.
Bonzart specializes in unique cameras, both film and digital, from funky toy cameras to original lenses.
Pocketalk makes handy little translation devices, so you’ll be ready for your next trip to Japan!

Watches

When you’re going all-in on a luxury timepiece, you might as well get the best deal on it! Japan is known for watch shops with broad selections of new and used items, perfect for anyone searching for a great price on a Rolex or Patek Philippe. Even for watch-wearers who prefer a less luxurious timepiece, Japan is full of local artisans and innovative companies looking to share their unique watches with the world. If you like to check the time with just a glance at your wrist, then you’ll find something you like from Japan.

Recommendations:
Jack Road is one of Japan’s best-known watch specialists, offering over 200 of the world’s most popular brands.
Tic Tac offers a curated selection of international watch brands, including some unique limited-edition items.
Watch Life News is a watch-focused news site, and their shop offers publications along with a selection of Japanese watches by Outline.
Dedegumo is a Kyoto watch atelier, offering up a selection of beautiful and unusual watches, often inspired by traditional Japanese culture.

Fashion & Designers

Over the past few decades, Japan’s reputation as a center of fashion has only grown. Casual Tokyo street snaps still show off the unique innovations in fashion that have evolved on the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku over the past 50 years. High-fashion designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake have become an integral part of the global scene. Japanese streetwear brands like BAPE have widely influenced international fashion trends. Casual everyday Japanese brands like Uniqlo are now a part of the daily wardrobes of people all over the world. And in addition to all that, the exacting standards of Japanese consumers have pushed even non-Japanese brands to offer only the highest-quality items on the Japanese market. Anyone with an interest in fashion will want to check out what’s available while the exchange rates favor foreign customers.

Recommendations:
Laforet Harajuku, a department store at the heart of Harajuku fashion, offers a selection of popular brands online as well. (They even let you sort by floor!)
Brand Off and Komehyo both specialize in second-hand designer items, often in such good condition that it’s hard to believe they were ever used.
Kicks Lab and Magi each cater to sneakerheads, with the latest designs and collector’s favorites.
Diverse and 1LDK both focus on the hottest brands in the Japanese fashion scene, gathering together a selection of local designers and international names.

Furniture & Home Goods

Japan’s long history of fine craftsmanship and artisan expertise has led to a profusion of unique manufacturers all over the country, many of which offer items for the home. At the same time, the extremely compact living spaces found in most Japanese cities have led to many Japanese brands getting pretty creative. Japan’s furniture and home goods market is full of unique items, sometimes used in unexpected ways, and the novelty alone is enough to get anyone to open up their wallet.

Recommendations:
Ikehiko offers Japanese furnishings made for modern homes, including movable tatami mats, heated kotatsu tables, and classic Japanese futons.
Minne and Iichi act as marketplaces for handmade housewares and furniture, made by small-scale producers around Japan.
Maruhiro makes cups and dishes that are both practical and nice to look at, while Ehamono can help you polish up your kitchen skills with a sharp new Japanese kitchen knife!
Botanize makes the kind of striking plant pots that become the centerpiece of any room.
Usagi Online offers home goods from Gelato Pique, a brand known for using the softest, coziest fabrics in Japan.
Fujimaki Hyakkaten sells a highly curated but broadly varied collection of products, including home goods, with the major theme being “Japan.”

Otaku Items

Sometimes it’s nice to indulge in your hobbies, but when those hobbies are the kind of otaku interests that come from Japan, things can get a little pricey. But for many nerdy fandoms and otaku communities around the world, there’s no denying that Japan sells the best merchandise. If you’ve been debating the purchase of something a little out of your normal price range, now’s the time! Splurge on the enormous Gunpla figure, update your gaming gear with the best on the market, and add some limited-edition anime accessories to your wardrobe. Now that the exchange rate is in your favor, do whatever it takes to make your otaku heart go doki-doki!

Recommendations:
Hobby Stock is a one-stop-shop for anime and game merchandise, from Gundam models and huge anime figures that come up to your thigh, to more everyday merchandise from popular fandoms like Pokemon, Ghibli, and just about any big series.
AH-Soft sells Vocaloid and other AI voice synthesizing software options for all kinds of voices!
BoardGamer’s pages are packed with games and reviews, perfect for anyone who loves (you guessed it) board games!
Akiba-Sofmap sells hard copies of the latest games, gaming systems old and new, and a variety of interesting peripherals – new and used.
Attasa specializes in joysticks and arcade-style controllers, for gamers who like to customize their experience.
Hobby StationCard Rush, and Bee Honpo all specialize in trading card games, including the kind of rare cards that cost a month of your salary (or more).

Get the Best Deals Before They’re Gone

Over the past few months, the exchange rates between the Japanese yen and the world’s other currencies have continued to fluctuate as always, going up and down in an endless rollercoaster. For now, the weak yen means that anyone earning outside the country gets to enjoy an automatic “discount” on anything priced in yen, but that could change at any moment. So there’s no time like the present! Whether you’ve been eyeing a new luxury watch, high-fidelity speakers, an enormous Gunpla figure, or any other big purchase from Japan, you might want to press “check out” on your shopping cart before the exchange rate turns!

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