Retro Gaming Guide to Akihabara in Tokyo

I’ve recently come back from a two week vacation in Tokyo, I went there with 5 other friends and we had a blast! ^_^
2014-04-20 18.05.11  2014-04-20 17.27.03-1

While in Tokyo I took the opportunity to go hunting for some retro games of course! I’ve been to Tokyo quite some times now, but I’ve only ever found Super Potato where I could buy retro games. This time however I got a friend from instagram to show me around Akihabara to all the best retro game shops! ^_^
Here’s a map I’ve made of the places I went to:
akihabara map of retro game shops akihabara electric town exit

The two Sega buildings that I pinned on the map are easy to find. After you take the Akihabara Electric Town Exit just go right, out into a square, if you look to your left you will see the first giant SEGA building:
Akihabara - Sega building

Once you get closer to it you will see the second SEGA building as well:
Akihabara - sega buildings

SUPER POTATO

So first off is Super Potato, this place is a bit pricey, but it’s a must-go for all retro gaming enthusiasts! It’s located on the street behind the two SEGA buildings. It’s kind of hard to find the entrance since it’s quite small and you won’t really see the signs for it unless you look up (or can read japanese). It’s down on this street, I’ve located it with a circle, however if you go on the route of the map it will be on your right side instead of left.
Akihabara - Super Potatoe

This is the building:
Akihabara - Super Potatoe building
Akihabara - Super Potatoe Entrance

You will have to go into a corridor and take the elevator up:
Akihabara - Super Potatoe elevator

Super Potato has 4 floors, first floor is mainly cartridge games (famicom, super famicom, sega master system, mega drive, pc engine, game boy etc). Second floor has some newer games like playstaytion, dreamcast etc. The third floor has mainly strategy guides to retro games and the fourth floor has retro arcade machines where you can play puyo puyo, pac-land, final fight, ghosts n’ goblins and a bunch of other old classics ^_^ Everything is very neatly displayed and they also have a bunch of merchandise.
One thing that bugs me about Super Potato is that they have two giant shelves filled from top to bottom with famicom games and most of them are doubles. You will see the same game 10 times in a row sometimes, it makes it hard going through it all.. and time consuming. They have however put end labels on the plastic wrap of each game, but it’s written in japanese.
super potato

MANDARAKE COMPLEX

Next up is Mandarake Complex, I didn’t spend too much time here, but they had loads of retro games at reasonable prices! And so many boxed games in great condition ^_^ I saw a mint CiB Recca and I really wanted to buy it, but that game is almost just as expensive in Japan as it is on eBay… :( At Mandarake Complex all the games were in hard plastic cases, it made it a bit dull to look through it all, and hard to spot the games you were looking for..
mandarake-complex

They also had an assortment of Neo Geo games, I really would like to start collecting for that system, but damn those games are pricey! The most expensive one I saw was 220.000 Yen, which is over 2000 USD… o_O
neogeo

MANDARAKE GALAXY

I did however spend more time at another Mandarake store in Nakano (Nakano is just one stop from Shinjuku station with the JR line, or three stops if you don’t take the chuo rapid line). (Note that this store is NOT located in Akihabara and not pinned on the map above..). Mandarake Galaxy is located on the second floor inside Nakano Broadway, a mall that is just straight ahead after exiting the station.
mandarake galaxy

This one wasn’t very big but they made use of their space by only displaying one of each game instead of triples (like in Super Potato). Their games were also really neatly displayed in a way that you could easily browse through them ^^ And it was very reasonably priced! :D This is how happy I was at the Mandarake Galaxy store in Nakano ^_^
2014-04-24 14.01.51
They had a lot of gems and I bought loads of games here, including Gimmick! ^_^ They also had another cabinet inside where they had stuff that wasn’t for sale, just for show >-< Like the Sega Mega Drive Tetris!! 
mandarake galaxy nakano

TRADER

Next up is Trader in Akihabara, this is located just a bit further down the street from the two SEGA buildings.
trader

Just like in the Mandarake Complex in Akihabara this store had all it’s cartridges and boxed games in plastic cases. This makes it kind of hard to browse through loose Famicom carts.. I bought a few games here though.
trader akihabara

I found a boxed Altered Beast for Game Boy Advance, I regret not getting it since it was so cheap >_<  3500 Yen is approximately 34 USD…
trader - altered beast

They also had a bin filled with loose carts that all cost under 100 Yen! The cheapest I found was 19 Yen, which is less than 20 cents ^_^ There was no guarantee that they would work though. However, all the five games I found in the bin has worked perfectly ^_^
trader bins

You could also get Neo Geo games here and other rarities. However they were not displayed, only by advertisements all over the walls. I guess you would have to go to a counter to order them.
trader neo geo

FRIENDS

Now the last shop my friends took me too was so cute! It was run by this old lady and her husband, and it was called FRIENDS ^__^
Friends Game Shop Akihabara        Friends Game Shop entrance
Friends lady

It was very small, but it was crammed with retro games! ^_^ And it was mostly very cheap :) It was really easy to browse through the Famicom carts, and they also had a bunch of bins filled with cheaper carts, around 100 Yen.
Friends game shop famicom
Friends games

Apparently there was also a second floor, I didn’t have time to see it though. I was told they had Sega Saturn games and stuff like that upstairs.
Friends

I would recommend all of these shops for retro game collectors that visit Tokyo ^_^

And if you’re not into buying games, there are also loads of places to just play games! :D Here’s my post about the Arcades of Akihabara ^_^

35 thoughts on “Retro Gaming Guide to Akihabara in Tokyo

  1. Pingback: Arcades in Akihabara, Tokyo | Retro Video Gaming

  2. Look at the gorgeous red Sega Building!! Wow…

    Retro stuff everywhere!

    I just started collecting for the NEO GEO AES. I have 14 games and they were all the “cheapies” under $100 each. I might not be able to get anymore. But it’s still very cool to have.

    Where’s the close up shot of the Sega Mega Drive Tetris?!!
    I want to believe it really exists! :)

    I have a boxed Altered Beast for the GBA! I kept it from when the GBA was current.

    I’m going to have to get myself to Japan someday. Each time you make posts like this it just looks sooooo awesome!!

    • It’s because japan IS awesome! ;D you should totally go ^^

      Wow! How much did you pay for the system? And where did you buy it? Are all the games like shitty sports games or do you get anything decent for less than 100$?

      I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo of the Tetris, but I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to take pics of it.. I wasn’t actually allowed to take pics inside the arcades, but I was sneaky ;D hahaha

      Is the altered beast game for GBA good?

      • I must go to Japan someday. It will be like a pilgrimage :)

        I think I did pretty well with my little NEO GEO collection. I have only one sports game (bike racing).

        I’ve got all the details here (including my cost):
        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F-FmFbNdZaxXvuMjCtOoy3erhlMNxGUvV1AFae-8Uqs/edit?usp=drive_web#gid=521181295

        I spent $350 USD (including shipping) for my AES Console with one joystick and two games. For my list above I put in my Console as $250 and each game at $50 just for the sake of my spreadsheet.

        Just yesterday I saw a craigslist post for a NEO GEO AES with cables and a joystick for $250 (working with no box). If you have trouble finding one maybe I can help out.
        The NEO GEO AES is region free so any console can play Japanese and English games. But if you have a Japanese console all games will show Japanese text. And a US console will play all games in English.

        I’m finally getting ready to finish up our trade that we started! I’ll email you.

        It’s been so long since I played my GBA Altered Beast. I forget what it’s like. I’ll plug it in and try it. When I bought it I did so only because it was Altered Beast and I’m Sega crazy :)

        …Tetris, where are you?…

      • Cool! You did great! I really want one too! I don’t need a boxed one but I will need to check around first to see what I would have to do about the power supply since our voltage here is much higher. I’ll let you know ^^

        I would definitely want an English one though, if that’s true about the text! :D

  3. English NEO GEO AES systems are rare and cost much more money. But you should look around anyways.
    I got lucky. My Japanese AES had the official SNK Developer Bios installed on it. So I am able to power up the system and switch regions.
    I think people still do this today. There is a better bios update to get called the Universal Bios. It might be worth looking into if you can’t get your hands on an English AES.

    http://unibios.free.fr/

    I guess you’re on the 220 system? I don’t know if you just need a different power supply or a specific NEO GEO AES. I would guess you just need a proper power supply.

    • Yeah usually you can find various power supply adapters for various systems that have been made to work with the Swedish power outlets (the same as the rest of Europe, but not the uk)

  4. This is great! I visited Japan 4 years ago and I only remember entering Super Potato amongst these, I can’t tell if I’ve been to more of these stores or not though. I visited a lot of other stores, especially in the back streets, and found myself some deals there. It truly felt like some kind of pilgrimmage, but being piss poor back then, student as I was, I didn’t get nearly as many games as I wanted to. I remember steering clear of the stores who signed that they had “PC Games” as other reviewers said that it’s s synonyme for adult games.

    Now I know where to go next time! Thanks!

    • I have that bootlet copy too. And I believe stopXwhispering does as well.
      It really is a good Tetris I played it a lot back in the day. If you have a few extra copies you should put them on ebay. I bet you’ll be able to sell them for $100 each.

      geelw, you have some really great games in your Mega Drive / Genesis collection! You even have Probotector and Warsong! If you ever want to sell or trade let me know.

  5. Really glad I stumbled upon your blog! I need to go to Japan one day.

    I have a Neo Geo AES – I wanted one for so long, but the games are truly extremely pricey. That will definitely be the slowest-growing collection I’ve got. The boxes and cartridges are so awesome to collect though, really beautiful.

    Keep up the blogging!

  6. Man… I was hoping that Neo Geo AES games would be cheaper in Japan at retail stores. That’s too bad. Because they are crazy expensive. I think a working console with a joystick and cables and without a box will cost about $250 USD. I spent $350 on mine with two complete games. Hunt around and wait for a deal. It will come along.
    I have 28 Neo Geo AES games now but my collection will be growing really slowly now. I’ve picked up all of the cheapest titles I could.
    Check out Hit-Japan on ebay. You can get a bunch of complete AES games for $40-$100 each. I know that’s a lot of money but it’s really good for the AES.

  7. Concerning the Trader part where it says:
    “You could also get Neo Geo games here and other rarities. However they were not displayed, only by advertisements all over the walls. I guess you would have to go to a counter to order them.”

    Those are not advertisements and you can’t get those games from the counter. Those are games the shop is looking to buy and the prices shown are the amount of money they offer you.

  8. I’m going to Tokyo in two days and this post just made my trip. I can see spending tons of time just scouring. BTW your castlevania collection has.me drooling. Do any of these shops other than super potato sell fc consoles or just carts? Anyway I will use this as a guide when I’m there. Thanks!

      • You rock so much!! Took the exact route and got some great deals, Including a nib copy of soul blader (one of my all time favs) for super fc. Sadly, Friends wasn’t open but looks like it’s still in business. Stairwell was open but doors werent. Thanks for the most comprehensive guide to retro deals for akihabara online!

      • Thanks! Im happy you found it ok and that the guide was of use to you ^-^ too bad friends were closed :/
        I’ve never heard of soul blader, but as soon as i read it i went and bought it off eBay ;D

  9. Do all of those stores sell gameboy consoles? I’m thinking about getting a new or slightly old gameboy advance sp :)

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