Retro Games in Japan: Find Your Favorite Classics Today! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
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Retro Games in Japan: Find Your Favorite Classics Today!

By David Kamaly Feb 27, 2023

Did you grow up stomping on mushrooms, running very fast through a hilly landscape, partaking in mortal combat, or even defeating great evil from overtaking an entire kingdom? Do you still wish to revisit that childhood or discover what made those classics so groundbreaking in the first place? Then you’re in luck, as here are some places you should visit to scratch that itch for retro games!

The Second Hand Market is Great for Retro Games Enthusiasts

Japan’s second-hand market is a wonderful treasure trove of amazing finds, especially if you are looking for retro games that are never released outside of Japan, are in excellent condition, and potentially have unique localization differences.

Important Things to Know Before Buying Retro Games

Many games can be region locked, meaning you can’t play them on video game systems (consoles) outside of Japan. While this feels strange by today’s standards, it was part of everyday life back then and still is in some cases (at least in digital form).

The only way to bypass this restriction is to modify the video game console or buy a Japanese one. As these machines are becoming rarer in circulation and continuing to decline, it would be better to invest in the actual hardware rather than potentially harming hard-to-replace parts.

Retro games could have faults that are not easy to recognize. The most common one is usually related to battery; only some stores will replace it for you.

They will, of course, also be completely in Japanese, but don’t let that discourage you! It could be a fantastic way to start learning Japanese in a much more engaging way or just keep on brushing up and improving your current abilities.

Retro Games in Tokyo

skyscrapers of akihabara
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A must-visit for any hobbyist of any kind is Akihabara (秋葉原), famous for its electronic shops, which offer a great variety of retro game stores.

Retro Game Camp

If you are looking for a specific game for a particular system, there is a great chance that Retro Game Camp has it, even for the current generation.

The best part of Retro Game Camp also makes sure to test its games, making sure they work properly before being sold.

Opening Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM, Weekend 10 AM – 8 PM
Location: Google maps


Trader is a very popular destination for many as it has several outlets spread out all over Akihabara and focuses on and carries a large amount of second-hand products related to video games, retro games, movies, music, etc.

Trader in Akihabara is well known for having floors dedicated to each media, and that’s no different for retro games. Their stock is constantly in rotation and is very price competitive.

Opening Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM
Location: Google maps

Super Potato

super potato in akihabara selling retro games
Photo credits: Carlos Duarte Do Nascimento

Super Potato is the most internationally known retro games store with an incredible range of games for different types of systems. Its three floors are unforgettable bundles of love letters dedicated to retro games and gaming-related goods such as game guides, stuffed animals, and candy. 

Opening Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM
Location: Google maps


Friends may not be as big as the others on this list, however, don’t let that discourage you from exploring. One major benefit of Friends is that they emphasize delivering games in the best possible condition, including full working conditions.

Opening Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM, Closed on Tuesday & Wednesday
Location: Google maps

Mandarake Complex

The Mandrake Building in Akihabara is well known for being described as a haven for anything pop culture-related goods, and retro games are no exception! If you are ever close enough radius, it’s worth a visit just to see what may be on the offering.

Opening Hours: 12 AM – 8 PM
Location: Google maps

Other Stores That Carries Retro Games

retro games at hard off book off
Photo credits: Karl Baron

There are generally a few other brick and mortars stores you should consider visiting when looking for retro games. These are generally smaller shops that sell second-hand goods of any kind and may carry surprisingly underpriced valuables. Usually, you will have to look for a long extended time and go through their assortments of goods to find anything interesting, as most shop owners don’t know what they are carrying and will misplace them elsewhere.

Important to remember is that they may not give you any guarantee, and you are buying “as is” at your own risk. Anything you find there may have gone bad over time or have been since they were originally picked up by the store owner.

Hard Off and Book Off are chains that are available everywhere and resell all kinds of second-hand goods. As Hard Off and Book Off are chain stores, they are more able to offer a guarantee in case the games are not functional. Besides this, they usually (especially in the case of Hard Off) have the capability to test the games before they are purchased.

Finding Retro Games Online

Finding retro games online has become more accessible than ever, and today some second-hand shops sell games online.

Amazon and Rakuten may not appear to offer much variety; however, it can be surprising what you may stumble into sometimes.

For auction-based alternatives, there are the heavy hitters, Yahoo auction and eBay, both of which are great second-hand marketplaces with active private and retail sellers.

Mercari is also a great platform if you are in Japan and want to take advantage of many interesting features, such as collecting points or having the ability to pay later. Mercury functions just like Amazon, where many sellers sell various products, new and old, and retro games are no exception.

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