This trip was the biggest nerd trip of my life. I am so glad I could finally fulfill the dream I had as a kid.
The thread took me a while to create and I hope you enjoy it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
This post will be on one hand an overview of my haul and on the other hand a showcase that there are still good deals out there in Japan.
First, I want to put everything into perspective and give you some numbers.
I spent 21 days in Japan, went to 346 Cards shops in 8 Cities and bought 255 cards.
Visiting this many stores taught me a lot about the Pokémon community in Japan. I try to summarize the key points here:
There are still deals to be made
Before I went to Japan, I watched a lot of videos of people going to cards stores in Japan and talking about their experience. The Consensus was that there are no deals to be made, and cards in stores are more expensive online. This is only partially true.
If you go to Tokyo and only plan on visiting the 5-10 most popular stores, you won’t find any deals, this is true. But if you put in some effort, finding smaller shops or even going outside of Tokyo, there are tons of deals to be made.
Never expect mint condition if it’s not modern
I was mostly looking for cards from DP era and older. While posting my journey, I discovered that people assumed cards were mostly NM in the stores. This is definitely not the case for mid-age and vintage cards. Most of them are PSA 6 and worse. It took me a lot of time to find vintage cards in good conditions.
The front looks better than the back
Most cards have an amazing front, but the back is where most cards are damaged.
Ponchos are always Overpriced
For some reason, Poncho Pikachu’s and Poncho Eevees are extremely overpriced no matter where you go. This was the same for every city and every store. I guess the Japanese people seem to love these cards more than we do.
- Don’t expect to find sealed vintage product
Or at least for a reasonable price. In Kyoto, I met an American guy who on the hunt for sealed product, which he thought would be easy to come by since he is now in Japan. I can tell you that sealed is incredibly hard to find in the shops and if you find it, it’s way more expensive than buying it online. Also, modern sealed was sold out almost everywhere.
If you put in some effort to find smaller stores, you will find the best cards
This was the most fun to me. Going into a small corner store and finding the most amazing cards.
Always inspect a card before buying
If you find a card that you are interested in and want to examine it, you can go to a clerk and say “showcase onegaishimasu” and they will come with you and show you the cards you are interested in.
Advice for people who are going to Yokohama to Worlds:
I went to Yokohama and check out most card stores. There are some decent stores, but deals are not really to be made there. If you really want to find some good cards, plan a day trip to a smaller city nearby, and you will most likely have better chances of finding good cards and good deals.
Now let us get to the reason we are all here. What cards did I find?
I was debating whether I should post the cards with a price tag or not. Since I decided to claim that there are still good deals out there, I decided to put my cards on the table and actually show you the cards with their respective price tag.
Condition wise, I tried to buy only cards in NM-Mint condition. Expect a card here and there, I just bought out of nostalgia or curiosity.
These are the cards I bought:
Got lucky with some sealed stuff:
The Southern island were actually 4000 Yen not 200
I also found some games I could not resist:
Super dope pickups and love the wide variety of cards you have! That Masaki Promo set as well
Very awesome post. Congratulations on your new haul and thanks for showing the pictures of your journey previously. I see some gems in this thread that I would buy with my eyes closed all day long. The Masaki set, Grand Party trainer certificate, Silver medals (no stamp), Abareru-kun cards, Mew Ex Play promo. I feel the prices you got on these is only possible in person at card shops.
So happy for you and the fact that you could make all these deals happen. Thanks again for sharing and I hope you managed to also explore a bit of the country as well.
Depending on the back I’d buy the Mew ex in a heartbeat . Looks like a massive haul, well done!
Somehow you’ve topped your original post of the shops themselves. 346 shops is a HUGE number. You clearly spent alot of time and effort to find those deals, but the prices look really good and I would have bought at least 50% of the same cards. The Articuno vending, Poncho Pikachu, and Masaki Promos are top notch. Love that Houndoom too, such a beautiful card.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor, you deserve it! Appreciate the transparency.
How much did shops charge for Poncho Eevees on average?
I’m impressed that you knew to buy these cards. I’m curious how you knew that these cards had good prices. Did you have your phone out the whole time looking at comps? Or do you know the prices of these cards pretty well? There’s also the yen conversion too so that adds more complexity to just looking at the price tag and thinking “Oh, that’s a good price!”
If you looked up a comp, what % of the time did you end up buying the card? Just curious questions. Because when I go back to Japan this year I’m probably gonna buy a few cards but I’m probably gonna be buying blind to comps most of the time.
It also just goes to show how much more brick and mortar card shops are valued in Japan than they are here in the USA. That is a TON of card shops (over 43 per city visited, in fact).
Is it just me, or are those prices insanely good? Wow, well done!
Congratulations, really awesome pickups and some great deals you found there.
Thank you for the kind words. It was also very interesting to see your opinion on my posts
I was super happy as well to make all the deals happening.
I explored Japan a bit, but since this wasn’t my first trip to Japan, I did most of the exploring in my previous trips.
Wow! Super nice catches! it’s a very good treasure to bring home! Hope that one day I’ll do something similar
That is some hot stuff right there and I’m not jealous like at all.
Somewhere between 24000–36000 Yen for a raw copy
Thank you for the nice words. I hope you will enjoy your trip
Did I have my phone out the whole time?
That is a very good question and I hope I can help some people a bit with my answer.
I had my phone out most of the time and used @TCGFish to check most prices since I am planning to grade the cards. At the beginning I was super shy with my phone but since everybody seemed to bother and a lot of other people were doing it as well I just did it every time before asking a clerk.
One time I bought so many cards at a store that the clerk just brought the cards to a table where I sat, and I checked the cards on my phone while he was standing next to me or even left me with the cards to do other stuff, and he was totally fine with it. But this was a one time thing.
I would suggest reading the room here. Most stores are accepting taking your phone out.
What % of the time did I end up buying?
That’s quite tough to say. Overall, I would say I bought 15-20% of the cards I inspected closer. But looking back, it really depends on the store. So either a store had a lot of good pickups or basically zero. I think this is worth nothing.
Your purchases are totally sick! I feel strong desires to offer to buy some of your cards. Thanks for the tips btw! Will take heed if I’m going to Japan!
I’m sure I’m missing something but how come the Base set non-holo cards are more expensive than a lot of cards? They don’t seem to be first edition either.
They are no rarity cards, which is basically the japanese “first edition”
Insane! Nearly 350 stores is a dream. Thats what I would like to do. How much mental fatique did you have? I find when hunting for deals its almost like a study session when comparing prices, looking at conditions, negotiating etc. Haha. Lots of caffiene needed I bet.
Did you find that prices were flexible? Did you try to negotiate? Is this a thing? Or would that be rude/ a taboo thing yo try and negotiate?
The reason I ask is I am going in December with my wife and I doubt id be able live tye dream like you and hit 350 stores ahah. Wife would kill me!
Looking forward to your reply.