Japan | Part I | Cameron Kline

It’s been five months since I left Japan and there hasn’t been a day that has passed that it hasn’t crossed my mind. Japan, to me, seems indescribable. I can tell you about the neon of Akihabara or the clubs of Roppongi because there are words to describe the colors and the smells of these places, but even if I used them there would still be something missing. In a city as dynamic as Tokyo or Osaka, which seem to have pulses of their own, the color of the neon is pointless if you can’t hear the accompanying buzz of the crowds — they are wholly intertwined similar to the breath you take and the subsequent flow of blood through your veins. 

During my time in Japan I had the opportunity to travel to places both near and far to my home. I’ve seen fire festivals in the Japanese countryside, photographed small towns for magazines, and made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. Although every opportunity I’ve had to travel has been different in Japan one thing has always been the same: my search for camera stores. Now, I am not Japan Camera Hunter, and this list is not all inclusive, but it is some of my favorite haunts that I’ve found while spending time in Japan. Instead of listing every shop in Japan I’ve decided to focus on those that are most easily accessible to travelers. There are some notes on which station to exit at, and some general information on the shops themselves. It’s been a while since I originally took these notes, so some of the details are fuzzy, forgive me. 

Camera Onuki

Prices at Ohnuki are on the high side of average. Take your time in this shop as they have a lot of odds and ends that are hard to find other places. I went in looking for Canon 48mm filters and left with two filters and the lens hood for my Canon 50mm 1.4 LTM for under $100 USD. While not a steal by any means these were items I’d sought for a long time so the price was justified. When I was there last they had the following hotness on their shelves:

  • Widelux F6 - ¥68,000
  • Zeiss Hologon Ultrawide (two of them) - from ¥270,000
  • Makina 67 - ¥170,000
  • Makina 67W - ¥250,000

Ohnuki is a great place to come if you’re in Yokohama for the day or if you’re staying in Kanagawa. Their website is fairly well maintained but not all of their inventory is listed so call ahead, or stop by if you’re looking for something specific. English abilities are moderate in this shop so speak slowly and have in mind what you want to see before asking. They carry a wide range of gear from very, very vintage TLR’s, to modern DSLR’s. It’s hard to say, but I think the majority of the equipment here is 35mm. They sell unrefrigerated film on a shelf near the cash register should you run out. 

You can find Camera Onuki at the Hinodecho Station on the Keikyu Line. Their address information is as follows:

Web: http://www.camera-ohnuki.com
Address: Japan, 〒231-0065 Kanagawa Prefecture, 横浜市中区, 2丁目47 大貫ビル 1F
Phone: +81 45-231-0306

 

Penguin Camera

Penguin Camera has a lot of stock. There’s quite a bit of classic gear here as well as some modern stuff. Definitely a worthwhile stop if you’re in Kanagawa, but probably not worth a trip from Tokyo if that’s where you’re staying. When I was there last they had the following hotness on their shelves:

Pentax 800mm for the Pentax 67 - ¥540,000
Nikonos w/ 15mm lens and finder - ¥50,760

While I was there I picked up one of the original Fujifilm 120 roll film holders for $8 and spotted this really cool clear Pentax 110. If you haven’t seen our review of the Pentax 110 yet, you can check it here

On the way to Penguin you’re going to walk by Lucky Camera. This is not "THE" Lucky Camera, and I am fairly certain they're not relaed, so don’t get too excited. There was no one watching the counter when I walked in, so it’s hard to say, but I think this shop operates mainly as a photofinisher and a camera shop second. The prices appear to be frozen in time, but there’s so much inventory and the neighborhood is so laid back that you may be able to get a deal depending on what your interests are.  

This is the neighborhood in which you will find Penguin Camera. The Fujicolor sign is actually Lucky Camera.

This is the neighborhood in which you will find Penguin Camera. The Fujicolor sign is actually Lucky Camera.

You can find Penguin Camera(ペンギンカメラ)at Koyasu Station on the Keikyu Line. Their information is as follows:

Web: http://www.penguincamera.co.jp/

Address: Japan, 〒231-0065 Kanagawa Prefecture, 横浜市中区, 2丁目47 大貫ビル 1F

Phone: +81 45-231-0306

 

Musashi Camera

Musashi Camera is a hidden gem in my opinion. If you’re a United States service member stationed in Japan and you’re looking for a camera shop you’re in luck because Camera Musashi is in the backyard of Camp Zama, Sagamihara Army Depot, and moderately close to Atsugi Naval Air Field as well. I highly recommend making the trek to this off the beaten path shop. It can be conveniently accessed by car, or train with ample street side parking. 

The website maintained by Musashi Camera isn’t very modern, and if you’re having trouble viewing it try switching your encoding to “Japanese (ShiftJIS).” They do update it though, so there’s a chance that if you see something you want on their site that they may have it in stock. 

Out of all of the camera stores that I’ve personally been to in Japan I think this one has the largest stock of Large Format gear. When I was there last they had the following hotness on their shelves:

GR21mm Lens
Xenotar 100mm f/2.8 - ¥80,000
Nice Commercial Ektar’s from ¥65,000+
Linhof Technika’s from ¥100,000
Mamiya RZ67 75mm - ¥21,600

Musashi Camera is best accessed by car. On street parking is available. Their information is as follows:

Webhttp://www.camera-musashi.co.jp/

Address: 1 Chome-3-14 Yabe, Chuo Ward, Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture 252-0232, Japan

Phone+81 42-751-8870

 

SX70 Forever

SX70 Forever is a bit of an oddball for me. It took me two years in Japan before I even realized it existed. When the Film Shooters Collective made our instant photography book, Fading from Memory, I was trying to absorb as much instant inspiration as possible, and I think that’s how I happened upon this place. 

When I went there I was surprised to learn that it’s actually the largest retailer of Impossible Project film in Japan. When you step inside the store you can see immediately that instant photography is their passion. Their shelves are fully stocked with refurbished SX-70’s in every color under the sun as well as highly desirable models like the Polaroid 195. They do have some traditional cameras as well in 35mm and medium format. There were a number of Olympus Pen’s and Hasselblads on the shelves the day that I came to the shop as well as on subsequent trips. 

This is the best place in Japan if you're interested in instant photography. This shop has everything from flashbulbs and magic cubes to new old stock accessories. 

You can find SX70 Forever off of the Tokaido Line or Keikyu Main Line at Kawasaki Station. Their information is as follows: 

Webhttp://www.sx70.jp/index.php

Address: Japan, 〒212-0016 Kanagawa Prefecture, Kawasaki, Saiwai Ward, Minamisaiwaicho, 2 Chome, シャングリラ21

Phone: +81 044-542-4029

 

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Cameron Kline is an editorial photographer based in San Diego, California serving clients worldwide.