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Crazy Cheap but Crazy Quality: The Shopping Secret to Japan’s Home Appliances on a Budget

Crazy Cheap but Crazy Quality: The Shopping Secret to Japan’s Home Appliances on a Budget

Date published: 9 December 2019
Last updated: 18 January 2021

No matter where you’re from, shopping is a major tourist activity when in Japan – with so many shopping districts and a huge array of products to choose from, what’s not to love? What’s even better is the amazingly low prices they are often sold for. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, just wondering around one of the huge department stores is a tourist activity in itself. You know it’s true, even if you won’t admit it, walking around homeware stores is fun by itself, let alone in another country!

But of course, if the prices are so low, you might wonder about the quality. So here we’ll show you not only the price, but its cost performance and durability. There are some shopping secrets to getting the best deals too...!

What, the weather affects the price?!

What, the weather affects the price?!

According to former employees who have worked in home appliance stores, it’s much easier to get extra discounts on holidays and on rainy days. The reason is that the number of customers on weekends and national holidays is huge, so a lot of products have special deals on. Conversely on rainy days, due to the relatively low customer base, the shops hope to entice people with lower prices. If the customer is just considering buying something, they might be pushed that extra step and give in to the discount – if a good number of people do that in one day, the shop’s target is met!

So, if you’re traveling around Japan and encounter a rainy day, instead of seeing it as a downer, think yourself lucky! Use that day to head straight to the shops, and you’re likely to find some real steals.

It’s more cost-effective to get everything at once!

Say you’re buying a camera. You won’t just want the camera itself, you’ll need a memory card, camera bag, and maybe a tripod, for example. If you get into the main item at the beginning and build a little bit of a rapport with the sales clerk by asking questions, you’ll often start to get discounts on other items to go with it.

It’s cheaper to swipe! Check the credit card promotions before you buy!

It’s cheaper to swipe! Check the credit card promotions before you buy!
Special offers for credit card payments in Bic Camera

Sometimes you can get special discounts if you pay by card. For example, if your total at Yodobashi Camera is over 5,400 yen, you can get a 5% discount with a VISA – that even includes Apple products! If you get tax exemption with that, it’s almost 10% off in total.

Sometimes you can get extra discounts if you choose to swipe your payment method. A great place to check these discounts and promotions before you go is on their website or social media pages. Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera often post deals and discounts there.

Best time for discounts throughout the year in Japan

★Before the accounts are settled
Most Japanese home appliance stores will perform performance financial settlements from January to March and August to September. Before the settlement, the store naturally wants to sell as many products as possible to increase their performance. Therefore, the discount season mostly falls in these two periods.

★New Year’s holiday
In the Christmas season before the arrival of the Japanese New Year holiday in January, there are a lot of discounts. On January 2nd and 3rd in particular, there are some seriously surprising price cuts. Even Apple piles up discounts around January.

★New products = Old clearances
On top of all these different clearance and discount periods, there are even discounts when there are new launches. This often means that last seasons “newest edition” will now be on offer! Although this is not necessarily true of every product, there are definitely some good deals hidden away there.

Window shopping is a must

Window shopping is a must

If you have time, try to see a few stores and compare prices. You can also take a picture of a price from another store and show it to the staff when you discuss the price to increase the chance of getting a discount. In addition, some of the goods in Don Quijote are even cheaper than other home appliance stores. For example the Panasonic N99 hair dryer, that was incredibly popular at one point, was 4,000 yen cheaper at Don Quijote than elsewhere. But in fact, when it comes to Japan's electrical appliances, as long as you take out other cheaper flyers and other evidence, you can usually haggle down the price!

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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