Having seen Knolly’s guide at Unfit to be a Gunpla Meister! about ordering Gunpla from the states, I thought I’d chime in with a simple guide of where to pick up and not pick up Gunpla in Japan. First off, if you’re wanting to walk in and pick up the new release at the cheapest prices, hands down Yodabashi Camera or Bic Camera, the Japanese electronic department stores are the place to go.
Both Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera sell models at 30% off, and you’d be hard pressed to find any other stores that would sell Gunpla for less. In fact, as much as everyone loves Akihabara, the truth is you have to do some hard searching to find good deals. Both Yodobashi and Bic have good and bad points. First off they both have point programs, so you get 10% points on whatever you buy which you can turn around to use as a discount on your next purchase. I actually used points to pick up the new Zeta HD version for free the other day. Otherwise, major differences are that Bic Camera in general doesn’t have as much Gunpla stock as Yodobashi does, and tends to have less of the anime/otaku/gacha/collector stuff like Yodobashi does. On the other hand while both Yodobashi and Bic sell Gunpla at 30% off, Bic actually sells tools cheaper than Yodobashi, again on the other hand Yodobashi has more selection. I’ve also occasionally seen Yodobashi offering sales on certain models.
Both Bic and Yodobashi have several stores around the Tokyo area, as well in major cities like Osaka and Nagoya.
If you’re looking for even cheaper Gunpla, then you might be better off looking online at auction sites such Yahoo Auctions, where depending on the seller, you may be able to get Gunpla at half off or more, and can combine shipping as well. I picked up about 90% of my kits this way, and have saved about a lot of money. I don’t think the misses would forgive me otherwise!
Lastly, while not really cheap, a place to check out is Gundam’s in Osaka, which is a licensed store by Bandai that is everything Gundam. They even have Gundam cookies and gifts you can bring back for family and friends!
I’ll try and update this should I find new and interesting stores or sites.