Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ultimate Guide to Copic marker shopping in Tokyo, Japan

Because my previous guide "Where to buy COPIC markers in Tokyo", was an all-time hit with 30,000 page views, I decided to do an updated version for all illustrators who are planning to buy COPIC markers in Tokyo.

First of all, this is the price list of COPIC markers:
  • Sketch: 380 yen (410yen with tax)
  • Ciao 250 yen
  • Classic 380 yen
  • Various Ink (refill): 380 yen
Sadly, the popular 72 colour sets of COPIC sketch markers had been discontinued and replaced with these new versions: 
  • Comic Illustration 24 colour set
  • Basic 12 colour set A
  • Basic 12 colour set B
  • Basic 12 colour set C
  • Basic 24 colour set
  • Basic 36 colour set
Marker shopping had suddenly become not exciting... zzzπŸ˜ͺ  I suspect the 72 marker sets had been discontinued because too many people had been snapping them up and the factory cannot keep up with the demand.

Tax-free shopping for foreigners

Nowadays many shops has tax-free counters. Art materials like markers and papers are considered consumables, so the minimum for tax-free shopping is 5,001 yen (excluding 8% tax). This is pretty easy to achieve for artists *wink wink*

Once you have your basket-full of goodies, go to their cashier and say you would like to do tax-free and show them your passport. You need to pay the total with tax first and then proceed to their tax-free counter to get back your 8% tax in cash and they will staple a copy of the receipt in your passport. You are supposed to go to the customs counter after security check when you are going back home for the officers to take the receipts out. Items are sealed at the shop's tax-free counter and you are advised not to open the bag until you leave Japan but...ehem, they never check at the airport :P

Below are the shops that carry COPIC sketch markers, with those that offer tax free first:

Shops that are tax-free
  • Tools (Shinjuku)
This is my favourite shop to buy all my COPIC markers, papers and pens because you can apply for a membership card to accumulate points and redeem for a discount in the future. It is also located inside a mall (LUMINE EST) right above the train station, so you can do tax-free there too. However it seems very popular with tourists now (maybe after I introduced it in my blog?πŸ˜…) so supplies like marker papers run low.

  • Itoya (Ginza)
Itoya has 2 buildings in Ginza. The main building focuses on pens and pricey products so if you want to buy COPIC and other art supplies, you have to go to the back building called K. Itoya.

Itoya doesn't seem to have a membership system and all art materials are at full price. So although they have a good collection, I still buy my copic markers from Tools Shinjuku and other art supplies from Sekaido, which sell at 20% below usual price.

  • Tokyu Hands
Tokyu Hands now require tourists to follow their social media account before getting a 5% discount. With the 8% tax free, it could mean some significant savings. I believe only their bigger stores carry the COPIC markers, which means their branches in Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro. Their range of COPIC goods was quite decent. The above was shot at the branch in Takashimaya, Shinjuku.

Unfortunately they locked up all the markers so you could not test them on the spot! 😦 OH MY!😦  You can ask the counter to open up for you but I'm not sure if they would mind you testing the markers one by one... 

Shops that are not tax-free
  • Tools (Ochanomizu)
If you don't care about tax-free, Ochanomizu has a number of nice art shops that are mainly patronised by locals. The Tools branch here is located in its own building so there is no tax-free counter from the shopping mall like the one at Shinjuku.

But yup, they have everything... *drools*

  • Lemon Gasui (Ochanomizu)
Just a few minutes walk away from Tools is Lemon Gasui, another art shop that opens till a later time. The atmosphere here is just awesome.

  • Animate (Akihabara)
Animate's selection is significantly limited but hey, they are mainly a comic and anime goods store. Only buy here if you happen to be there for your anime shopping.

  • Animate (Ikebukuro)
Animate Ikebukuro is even more pathetic and only carried these... so if you are serious in buying your markers, I highly recommend the first few shops I recommended above.

With that, wishing you the best in your COPIC marker shopping!  \(≧▽≦)δΈΏ♪★

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