If you don’t have the financial resources to splash out on a brand-new snowboard or skis but want to move on from renting, then there are some used options available to you in Tokyo. But you’ll have to work for them!
Why is it so hard to find used snowboard and ski equipment in Tokyo?
It’s a bit of a mystery why there aren’t just one or two huge secondhand ski and snowboard shops in Tokyo, but there are a couple of viable explanations. First, Japanese consumers really like new stuff, so that’s what most shops stock. There’s more acceptance of used gear than there was, but brand-new gear is still the preference. Second, most of the market has moved online. We’ll cover the online scene in more detail below, but the thing to be aware of is that you will have no access to this market without some Japanese language ability.
Physical stores and locations
Physical locations in Tokyo for secondhand gear are few and far between. The two main options are Murasaki Sports (with two branches) and Book Off.
Murasaki Sports Kanda-Ogawamachi
Specializing in snowboards (sorry, skiers), Murasaki Sports Kanda-Ogawamachi is the most accessible shop offering secondhand gear in Tokyo. There are used snowboards at the back on the ground floor and other used accessories on the top floor. On a recent pre-season visit, there were about 40 used boards available with prices starting from 6,000 yen. The advantage of picking up a used board at Murasaki Sports is the ample number of knowledgeable staff to advise customers. If you are an oversized (by Japanese standards) Westerner, you’ll want to make sure that the equipment is the right size.
As Murasaki Sports Kanda-Ogawamachi is a store that specializes in snowboards, your newly purchased used board will come waxed, tuned and ready to go—something that Book Off doesn’t offer.
Murasaki Sports Kanda-Ogawamachi
Murasaki Sports Hachioji
Located a short walk to the north of JR Hachioji Station, Murasaki Sports Hachioji is the only other Murasaki Sports branch in the Kanto area with a large number of used snowboards.
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A few other branches such as Hon Atsugi Milord and Chigasaki (both in Kanagawa) might have the odd secondhand board, but not enough to make a trip worthwhile.
Murasaki Sports Hachioji
Book Off Super Bazaar Kawasaki Minatocho
This giant secondhand emporium is a 35-minute journey from Tokyo Station. From October onward, the amount of snowsports equipment starts to swell. Some of the prices seem a little high, but if you know what it should be worth then you can try to bargain the price down—especially if you’re buying more than one item. While you can possibly get a better deal than Murasaki Sports, you really need to know what you’re looking for as, unlike Murasaki Sports, staff are thin on the ground. Also unlike Murasaki Sports, they don’t just have snowboards, they have used skis, boots and poles too!
Bookoff Super Bazaar No. 409 Kawasaki Minatocho Store
Other Book Off branches
Even if the store website says they buy and sell winter sports equipment, it can still be hit or miss as to whether the branch will have any winter sports products in stock. However, the following Kanto region stores are likely to have skis and snowboards in-stock—especially during the winter months. Note that most of these stores are quite a journey from central Tokyo.
- BookOff Super Bazaar Hachioji Minamino Store, Tokyo
- BookOff Super Bazaar Tama Nagayama Store, Tokyo
- BookOff Super Bazaar Omiya Stellar Town Store, Saitama
- BookOff Super Bazaar 17 Konosu Fukiage Store, Saitama
- BookOff Super Bazaar Yokohama Seya Minamidai Store, Yokohama
- BookOff Super Bazaar Northport Mall Store, Yokohama
- BookOff Super Bazaar Tsunashima Tarumachi Store, Yokohama
- BookOff Super Bazaar Kokudou 1 Tamagawaohashi Store, Kawasaki
- BookOff Super Bazaar Ofuna-Kamakura, Kamakura
- BookOff Super Bazaar 14 Chiba-Makuhari Store, Chiba
- BookOff Super Bazaar SHOPS Ichikawa Store, Chiba
- BookOff Super Bazaar Vivit Minami-Funabashi Store, Chiba
This is where most of the action has moved. If you’re in a hurry though, then we have bad news. The apps and services used for selling used gear take a bit of getting used to and many are auction based—so you might have to get actively involved. Also, it really helps to know what you’re looking for in terms of model and size. Without a bit of knowledge on brands and fit, you can also end up overpaying or buying junk.
In recent years, Mercari has become THE app for peer-to-peer buying and selling of used goods in Japan. Although the app seems to be the preferred method for most users, they do also have a website. One of the cool features of Mercari is that if you save your search, you’ll be sent notifications or emails telling you when new items that meet your search criteria have been added. An advantage over Yahoo! Auctions (not just for snowboards) is that Mercari is all about buying and selling, whereas Yahoo! Auctions insists on filling up the page with crappy, distracting ads.
Mercari doesn’t list the exact number of products available if there are a lot. If it’s a really big number, it just displays “999+”. For snowboards, it was 999+, while the number of pairs of skis was 941.
On a recent visit to Yahoo! Auctions, there were 4,084 sets of skis and 3,852 snowboards for sale, along with thousands of other bits of gear and accessories. The search function is quite comprehensive, allowing you to refine price, brand, size, or whether it’s being sold by a shop or an individual. Compared to Mercari, the descriptions seem to be a lot less detailed. Whereas sellers write an essay on Mercari, you’re lucky to get a single sentence on Yahoo! Auctions.
Murasaki Sports Online Store
All the used items that are on sale at the Kanda-Ogawamachi store and the Hachioji store are also available online through their dedicated used gear site (their main online store only has new items!). Additionally there are bindings, boots and other used equipment for sale. One advantage of Murasaki Sports over the others is that it’s a specialist snowboard store, so you can search by exact specifications. Looking for a hybrid camber board or a rocker? Searching for a board that is exactly 158 cm? You can do that through their site.