Matsuzakaya Camera is the largest used camera store in all of Tokyo.

Many people think that shopping for electronics or cameras in Japan is all about the newest models, and that the Nihonjin are apt to simply leave their 6-month-old cast-offs out in the street for starving gaijin to collect.

While there is a grain of truth in this meme, it is actually a cultural stereotype and an urban myth.

In actuality, there is a thriving 2nd-hand market for consumer goods, and in the camera market, Matsuzakaya is where it is at.

The store is on three levels in southern Tokyo near Shinagawa station. Entering from the ground level one's eyes are assaulted by a thousand cameras in polished glass display cabinets. Matsuzakaya acts as a sort of clearing house from and to smaller dealers all over Japan. Not being an analogue guy, I couldn't really say if the range is fabulous, but the day I visited there were a dozen photojournalist-types all carefully inspecting the immaculate equipment.

They also deal in a smaller range of digital equipment (video cameras from $US30!), and on the top floor they deal, amongst hushed tones of reverence, in Hasselblad and other mega equipment, including a great range of collectables, like tiny vintage spy cameras.

Address: 27-41 1-Chome, Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Telephone (03) 3443-1311

Directions: Take the subway to Takanawadai station, walk east along the main road that the subway exits to, pass the Fuji Bank on your right and the Meijigakuin University on your left. Matsuzakaya is just ahead, on the right, past the car-park.

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