What They Don’t Tell You About Sneaker Shopping in Japan

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First off…I apologize for being on a long absent as most of you know I was on my first vacation in over a year for 3 weeks and as you can tell I didn’t want to do anything sneaker related as much as I could. Unfortunately, because of my bad habits of working, I still had to do some sneaker shopping (NOT FOR MYSELF) during my trip…at the end of the day I was going to one of sneaker’s biggest sneaker heaven – Japan! We all know Japan is one of the best places to do sneaker shopping and what most Youtubers that does Vlogs about shops in Japan truly miss out is where to find the come ups. As an avid sneakerhead, I don’t want to go to the local Atmos, Undefeated and big chain retail stores…I want the good come up that no one has and for a good price…This actually requires you to know where to dig and where to hunt to find come ups in person. So before you blow a couple hundred bucks on a flight ticket to Japan hoping you would find steals…I want to save you the disappointment by giving you a quick primer of what to expect. I promise, i’ll try to be as brief as possible.

So where should you go to buy sneakers? First off the top of my head is definitely Harajuku if you want to find all the grails. However, let me make one point VERY CLEAR! The sneakers in the resell shops here are NOT CHEAP! In fact they are way over price in my opinion compared to what you can get on StockX or in the US. Though you will be able to find the grails you long desired like Fragment 1s, Off White Nikes and all that jazz, but don’t be shocked when you see them for almost 50% more in price than what you can buy them for in the US. Not even lying…Sean Wotherspoons would be selling for $1,700 in some stores where you can get the same pair here for about $1,100. If you are a re-seller here is a reason why you won’ be shopping in these shops such as Stay246, Fool’s Judge, KicksLab and etc… The people that run these shops are experienced sneaker re-sellers themselves. Pretty much ANY price discrepancy will be eliminated from the buyer/seller that you as an end consumer will not be able to get a come up. Also most of the items being sold by these few shops are Brand New DS items, which makes it even harder to find a decent come up, let alone steal.

However, not all hope is lost as some of you that followed my IG noticed I did cop some sneakers. There are still opportunities for steals, but in the second-hand used sneakers market. As I made this trip very strict in the beginning that I would not be buying sneakers and travelling light, I did have to make an exception IF there was a good deal. I did end up buying like 8 pairs of sneakers and that was because the deal was too good to pass up or it was a pair I probably won’t find on the market easily. Just to name a few… I copped OG the ten Off white blazers at 22,000 yen (which is about $200 USD) and some sample Nike Dunk highs from 2000 for less than $200. These steals aren’t easy to come by as inventory is always different in these stores as it’s dependent on when people decide to sell to these stores. Honestly, I probably went through hundreds of sneakers to find only 8 pairs that I thought was well worth it in terms of resell. I would have copped more if my sole purpose was to cop sneakers and resell, but I only had the time for big margins or sneakers that are impossible to find.

Now into the juicy part…where can you find these come ups? The best spots in my opinion for steals is most definitely Rag Tag and 2nd Street. These are big chains of second-hand shops that can be found all over japan that focuses on buying and selling of new and second hand items, but mostly second hand. Why I love them so much is there are so many of these stores scattered throughout the city that every store has different items all the time. You never know what you would find going from one store to the next. So why would these places be better? In my opinion, you would most likely find steals/come ups at these 2 spots is because they take in a wide range of products from luxury handbags to popular street and high fashion apparel. Of course like all shops, they also have an authenticity/price evaluation process and because their authenticators have to deal with a WIDE range of different products, some may not be sneaker experts in terms of valuing the price of the sneakers correctly in terms of market value. On the flip side, if sellers bring the sneakers to a sneaker shop with experience, they will most likely price it so the store would earn the full spread. Trust me, if the same Off white blazers based on the condition was brought to a sneaker shop, they would have been priced at least double the price than what I paid. Don’t get me wrong…for the most part, the pricing of sneakers at these shops are on point, but there will be an occasional mispricing on their part. Case in point…while I was paying for the Off White blazers and Volts I copped, the 2 Australians that were waiting to pay for their items were shocked at how cheap I was getting the 2 pairs for…I even heard the guy telling his wife, how did we not see these 2 pairs? I mean, I am only paying $800 or so for 2 pairs of Nike Off whites in pretty good preowned condition.

The second spot I would recommend is SKIT. Unfortunately, this time I didn’t go to the one near Tokyo because it was so out of the way, I did make a visit to the one in Osaka as it was in the same district along with all the other shops. 4 years ago when I was in Toyko, I honestly thought SKIT was overpriced, but this time going back…they are actually not that bad. I actually bought 3 pairs from the Osaka store and all 3 pairs were a decent enough come up in my opinion. Here’s my advice though. Most of Skit’s retro Jordan’s are quite overpriced, but if you’re into dunks and air force 1s, they have a lot of good priced items. Honestly, I would have copped a lot more if I was there strictly for sneaker shopping, but I had to pick and choose. I picked up 2 pairs of Dunk High 1999 samples for less than $200 each and 1 pair of DS Mama Bear SB dunks for less than $350. I picked up The SAMPLE dunks mainly because most people don’t even know they existed are pretty much very rare and who knows how many pairs of them are truly on the market. People are paying well over $300-$400 for DS dunks in the 1999 era…these dunks are a massive steal. Though, if you’re looking for the hype stuff such as off white, levi’s jordans, seans and etc…SKIT is probably not the place for you to go.

Last thing I want to touch upon is that if you truly want come ups in Japan, I highly recommend going for local brands as they tend to be much readily available across the country and at a much cheaper price than what you can find in the US. I came across a lot of Bape items that I would have copped in an instant if I didn’t have to bring them back with me, but even Supreme apparel I noticed a lot of good deals. If I was younger and still wore Supreme a lot, this trip would have been a lot of trouble for me. Regardless, hope this quick write up would prep you for your trip if you ever do decide to go to Japan with shopping being the main focus. Even if you don’t shop…everything in Japan is so nice, you would enjoy it regardless if you come up on a steals or not.  Oh and I almost forgot!! Foreigner shopping is TAX FREE!! most items are priced with tax included, so make sure you tell the cashier you are a foreigner to get that 10% off…it could be the difference between a steal vs. purchase.  Only thing to note is only big stores like Ragtag will do the tax refund on the spot…

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