Okinawa isn’t as advanced as mainland Japan, but the prefecture definitely values technology just as much. Okinawa’s selection of electronic stores shows that.
Okinawa has several large name electronic stores: Yamada Denki, Best Denki, BIC Camera, Kojima, and Goodwill. Other online options include OkinawaBookoo (online classifieds), Amazon and Rakuten. All of which are great options for buying electronics, new and used, on Okinawa.
Below are brief overviews of each major electronic store with a map. Also, if it makes it any easier, at the end of this article I have one map combining all the listed stores on Okinawa.
Yamada Denki is one of the biggest electronics retailers in Japan, and you can find it right here in Okinawa. Yamada has just about everything you can think of from the world’s best brands: Sony, Apple, Microsoft, Kenwood, Braaun, Lenovo, Sharp, Dell…the list is long.
Products range from entertainment products (video games, televeisions, etc.) to home appliances (light fixtures, washing machines, air conditioning), to general electronics (phones, cameras, gadgets, etc.).
There are deals to be had here, and there are plenty of products on the pricey side. The quality is high (only quality in Japan!).
Yamada Denki is bright and packed full to the rim with products. You can easily spend an hour here browsing around.
Even if you’re not shopping for anything in particular, it’s worth a stop in. If you’re shopping for something in particular, it’s best to visit Yamada’s website to see if that particular branch stocks the product types you’re looking for.
Visit the link below. Use the Google translate option in your browser. To the right of each branch name and address, you’ll notice boxes with categories in them (e.g., Home, Windows PC, Household, etc.). List of Yamada Denki branches in Okinawa.
There are 5 locations in Okinawa: Urasoe, Uruma, Naha, Tomigusuku, and Nanjo.
Best Denki is another great option. This shop is very similar to Yamada Denki. You can find a lot of the same products.
If you’re looking for something specific, Best Denki’s website has an easy to understand directory of their stores in Okinawa, with the specific services/products they offer at each branch. Probably best to check before you go.
Below is a link to a list of branches in Okinawa (best to hit the translate button within your browser). Once translated, if you look at the top right, you’ll see a section (“Guidance of store information, handling product, service”) with icons representing the services/products they offer. Click on “Icon Description” right below the icons to get a definition of each icon.
Best Denki, list of Okinawa Branches – If you use the translate option in your browser, it gets the job done.
Best Denki has 9 branches in Okinawa: Chatan, Okinawa City, Uruma, Urasoe, Naha (2), Yomitan, Haebaru, Nago.
Kojima (+BIC Camera)
BIC Camera bought Kojima back in 2012. It’s also one of the biggest retailers in Japan. Again, it’s going to have a lot of the same products as Best Denki and Yamada Denki above.
Here are the locations to Kojima (and Kojima +BIC Camera) stores in Okinawa: Naha Airport, Naha, and Okinawa City.
If you’re from the States, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a thrift store. Goodwill in Okinawa is different. Think computers.
Goodwill has new and used computers, computer parts (motherboards, video cards, hard drives), Internet routers, cables, mouse, etc. Pretty much anything related to computers. It’s a big store, but it’s not jammed packed full of products, relative to Yamada Denki and Best Denki.
Okinawa Bookoo (Okinawa Yard Sales)
Okinawa Bookoo is a local website that is used primarily by the U.S. military community on the island (which is about 80,000 people including servicemen and women, civilian employees, contractors, and family).
And if you didn’t already know, the military usually rotates out every 3 years. So, that means there’s always someone looking to get rid of a lot their stuff quickly.
You can find some great deals on OkinawaBookoo and they have a pretty big electronics section. As I write this, there are currently 800 items listed in the electronic section.
One thing to be on the lookout for is the website is closed on Sundays. So, be sure to do all your browsing before then, and get the necessary contact information before Sunday rolls around.
Happy shopping and great deals on Okinawa Bookoo.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Amazon? Amazon Japan also has language options, which easily switches the entire site to English. Just look for the Japanese flag at the top right of the page and switch the language to English.
Or you can just go to this link, which has it already switched to English: Amazon Japan in English
Rakuten is the Japanese version of Amazon. Very well-known with Japanese and the same level of trust as Amazon. I don’t think you’re going to find big price differences between the two websites. Most foreigners prefer Amazon, just because of the familiar layout and worldwide reputation.
Just like Amazon, they have an English version, which is easy to navigate: Rakuten in English.
What Electronics are Good to Buy While in Okinawa?
Okinawa and the rest of Japan love their rice cookers. They are convienent, fast, and do the job right. You’re not going to find buttons in English, but more than likely, there is a YouTube video or an article written on how to use it. Just search online before you buy and see if there are instructions online.
Electronic Toilet Seats
These things are incredible! Just make sure you know how to ship it home and the voltage is going to work for you.
Japanese value their cameras and you’ll clearly see that in these shops. Best in the world!
What’s the Standard Voltage in Okinawa?
Output for Japanese outlets is 100 volts.
Will it Work Back at Home?
If you’re just visiting Okinawa and shopping to bring things back to your home country, it’s important to know that it’s going to work back home before you buy.
First, it’s important to know what voltage and frequency is used for your home country. You can find that from this Wikipedia page (not an exciting read!).
Then, you’ll want to check the voltage on the product you’re about ready to purchase.
It’s also important to know that most smaller gadgets are “dual-voltage,” which pretty much means they’ll work anywhere. These are on things like smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.
How do you tell?
- Look on the backside or underside of your product. You should see a placard with voltage information
- If it looks, for example, like this: “INPUT AC 240 V VAC 60 Hz 200 W” it’s single-voltage.
- If it looks like this: “INPUT AC 12/240 V 50-60 Hz 1300W” then it’s dual-voltage and you’re good to go (notice the range of voltage and Hz on the dual-voltage opposed to just one specific number).
From what I’ve read about this stuff (voltages and frequency aren’t my passions), small variances in voltages (that is the difference between the product and your home) don’t matter so much; frequency does matter (especially if the product involves an electric motor).
Look, this stuff is confusing and electricity isn’t something to mess around with. So, it’s probably best to read it from experts on this stuff (not me). Here are some websites to check out to understand this better:
- A faculty member at the University of Georgia, he must know his stuff: Covington Innovations
- Simplifies is a bit: Smarter Travel
- This guy makes it sound easy: Barefoot Nomad
What Type of Sockets are Used in Japan?
Japan uses A-Type sockets. That’s the plug with two slots that are parallel with one another. Both slots are around the same size, one is slightly longer. This is very common in America, Canada, South East Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan.
So, if you live in a country with a different type of socket, it’s important to know that you’ll need a plug adapter for it to work back at home.
Many of these stores have tax-free sections for foreigners. Just bring your passport to prove that you’re just visiting. Show that, and you’re free and clear from paying the 10% (used to be 8%) tax.
The tax-free sections are usually clearly posted in English and staff there is used to dealing with foreign customers; so, they’re able to help you in English.
As promised, here is a map combining all the physical stores listed above: