28 Apr Japan Second Hand Shopping- Affordable Furniture and Appliances
Japanese Recycle Shops/Services and Recycle Concept
Whether you are furniture shopping for your new apartment or trying to find places to donate/sell stuff, Japan has a variety of Second-Hand shops to choose from. -Or as Japan calls them, “Recycle Shops (リサイクルショップ)”, since they were created to help people reuse great unwanted items.
It all started “back in the day”, with Japan not having enough landfill available and needing to find a way for people to stop throwing out valuable goods.
You might be hesitant at first in shopping for “second-hand goods”, but the Japanese generall take very good care of their possessions. Some clothing items are even considered “one of a kind” at recycle shops; even more valuable than purchasing brand new.
Some of these second-hand shops won’t be like any thrift store you’ve ever seen, making you wonder if those perfectly cleaned items had ever gotten any use out of them.
Shortlist of Tokyo places for used goods and furniture
Tokyo has a lot to offer, with regards to recycled/used goods. Here are some of our favorites!
1) Local Ward Recycle Centers
Remember our blog article on what to do with trash in the city?
Well, many of those oversize trash items that you have paid to remove (“sodai gomi” / 粗大ゴミ)- if in good condition- get relocated to local ward recycle centers. This is an excellent way for Japan to help cut down on unnecessary trash.
You can visit these sites to find some great furniture! With Minato ward having many expats moving in and out, Minato ward’s recycle center has some of the best options. Some items are barely a few years old.
Here are the websites for some of the main Tokyo ward Recycle Centers:
You can check out the recycle centers for other wards by searching “リサイクルセンタ−” plus your ward.
Homepages are also in Japanese, but there are many browser add-ons or functions that allow for automatic English translation.
Great condition, fairly new furniture at reasonable prices, since the government operates it.
You will need to organize transport of items, and there is usually no parking provided at the centers.
2) Local Shops
Walk down any Tokyo town’s “Shotengai / 商店街” (Arcade Street), and you can often find several local-type Recycle Shop. These tend to be tiny shops packed full of everything you can imagine!
Many of these small recycle shops offer delivery
True local items! Reasonable prices. Good for finding random cool things.
Better to find one in your local town, so you can comfortably bring your finds back home, if you’re planning on large purchases at a shop that doesn’t offer delivery.
•• Some other local Japanese chains to love:
Another local shop with an English option.
http://www.recycle-boy.com/rboy-english.html (website in English)
In the city, Treasure Factory has recycled clothing branches, and on the outskirts of Tokyo, you can find furniture, appliances and everything else (you will need a car to get to them though),
https://www.treasure-f.com/shop/13/area.html (website in Japanese)
These local, often privately owned recycle shops, do home delivery on purchases. For items that you want to sell, they can come pick up items from your home.
Treasure factory doesn’t have English available.
Japan’s take on modern online selling.
You can post and sell your own items or shop for yourself. Payment gets made online, and the seller sends items through the mail- or larger items can get arranged for pick up.
https://www.mercari.com/jp/ (website in Japanese)
Easy to use, a large company all over Japan, very popular.
All in Japanese and mainly Japanese seller and buyers (could lead to some language barriers).
• Another online Japanese site, JMTY.
You can sell like Mercari- or give away items for free, or find items for free!
Possible to find free stuff, all over Japan.
Language barrier since the site is all in Japanese.
~ We should also mention Rakuma- Rakuten’s online ‘flea market’ that is very similar to Mercari (all in Japanese).
4) Facebook Groups
There are Facebook groups where individuals can try to sell their used items. These can have the best price, since you are dealing directly with the seller, and items for sale are often by necessity (leaving country).
To name a few:
and “the best of them all”, Mottainai Japan– where everything is free!
Great prices, all done online and from the comfort of your own home, and all in English
You will need to organize pick up. Although there are strict rules in place, sometimes extreme bargaining or no shows happen. Best to have very clear communication between the seller and buyer.
5) Online Sites targeted towards expats
Yes, craigslist is worldwide.
Easy categories to search for specific items, and all in English! Much like Facebook groups for buying/selling in Tokyo, craigslist can also have great deals, due to people getting rid of their items all at once when leaving the country.
One can often save even more, by purchasing several items from a seller, if they’re doing an “everything must go” sale.
• Gaijinpot Classifieds
Online, easy to browse and search for items, deal directly with the seller in English. Local items. Every now and again, very good deals pop up.
Need to organize pick up.
6) The OFF Brands
The OFF brands are a large group of chain stores all across Japan.
These great Second-Hand shops also BUY used goods. Unfortunately, if you are looking at selling your stuff, do not expect to make big bucks off of your used goods. They buy items at a very steep rate.
The benefit about selling your items at these stores is that they will offer to donate any of your stuff that they don’t buy from you, which is helpful if you need to get some things taken off of your hands.
So what branches do they have and what can you find at each of them?
Book OFF – Books, DVDs, CDs, video games
Hard OFF – Electronic goods, musical instruments, cameras
Hobby OFF – Figurines, collectible items, memorabilia
OFF House – Furniture, household items, lighting fixtures, appliances, interior, clothing
MODE OFF – Specializes in name brand accessories and clothing
Garage OFF – Things that are used for the outdoors… bicycles, camping gear, car parts, yard work items
If you’re lucky enough to find an OFF store that has multiple branches at one shop, you can get a lot more shopping done in on one go!
https://www.hardoff.co.jp (website only in Japanese)
Has a lot to offer, find numerous things in one shopping spree, reasonable price
Many locations are not central, or they’re a far walk from the closest station. If you have a car and are up for a day drive, that may be your best bet, if purchasing larger items.
7) Second Street
Second Street is another large group of chain stores all across Japan. Same concept as the OFF brands; perhaps even cheaper.
While central stores are specialized in used clothing, stores on the outskirts of Tokyo and in the Kawasaki/Yokohama area, boast a large selection of affordable furniture and appliances.
You can find the closest store to your current location here:
https://www.2ndstreet.jp/shop (website only in Japanese)
Has a lot to offer, reasonable price, some brand new items are regularly sold at a bargain price.
Most locations are out of the city or a far walk from the closest station.
A few tips!
We love to help make your Tokyo life easier. 🙂
•• Can’t read Japanese?
If you can’t read Japanese yet- and a lot of the sites listed above are only available in Japanese- download the Google translate button onto your Google Chrome (or use similar add-on functions in your browser of choice). This will be your best friend while living in Japan and ordering online– or until you master Japanese! 😉 Such software will automatically translate any website for you that comes up in Japanese. Translations may not always be accurate, but understanding ~70%+ of something, is much better than almost zero.
A lot of the cautionary “what to consider” points in the above overview of second hand resources, had to do with providing your own transportation.
If you have an international driver’s license and need to find a car rental, NicoNico (2525) is a cheap and easily located car rental service in Tokyo. They have both hourly and daily packages, with the cheapest being their compact cars for 12 hours at ￥2,525.
https://www.2525r.com (in Japanese only– see, now go download that Google Translate function!!)
Expat-friendly movers can also be used, for transporting large items that you’ve purchased online, or at a recycle shop that doesn’t offer delivery.
★ We have a whole article on English speaking moving companies:
Shop and save money! 🙂
Now that you know a lot of how people in Tokyo are getting their used furniture and appliances, go check out the above websites, and get shopping!
Fill your entire apartment with Recycled goods, and your place would still feel brand new! And for significantly more affordably than all brand new!
Recycled goods shopping- online or brick and mortar- are also great options for when you move out and need to get rid of stuff without having to pay a disposal fee.
Once you’re all settled into your new place and have filled it with some great finds, it’s time to start exploring the streets of Tokyo! Check out our blog on Omotesando, and some fun eats in that area! https://apts.jp/tokyo-life/omotesando-where-luxury-meets-hipster-here-are-a-few-of-our-favorite-spots/