I’ve just returned from a sensational trip to Japan. First time to “the land of the rising sun”, and it was an experience to remember. The “end game” for the trip was to visit the Japan Fishing Show in Yokohama (if you haven’t already you can check out the image gallery), but there was also a little bit of time in there for some sightseeing and more than ample opportunity for some retail therapy of the fishing tackle variety – you know the kind I’m talking about.
The whole point of this blog post is to draw attention to the vast differences that exist between the Australian and Japanese fishing tackle marketplace. For starters there’s a massive population difference between the 2 countries, and like us, the Japanese take their fishing very seriously.
We have all heard the conversations at the boat ramp, on-line, standing around the bubbler in the office that go something like “why don’t we ever see that gear here”? “Why is it so cheap over there”? “I’d give my left **Insert appendage to be able to shop in a shop like that over here”… Reality is, we just don’t have a big enough population for it, and as consumers, we have got absolutely nothing on the Japanese.
I visited a couple of stores (Sansui) in Tokyo while I was there. They are fishing retail stores on steroids.
Everything in retail in Tokyo seems to be well presented. The sheer amount of stock on hand is mind-boggling (sliding shelves stacked 3 deep). The prices are astounding, and the service is A1. Attentive, but not pushy. Acknowledging you when you arrive, but allowing you to look, touch and drool in peace. But once you’ve made your purchasing decision I kid you not, you’ve not received the kind of attentiveness that these shops provide (and it doesn’t appear to be limited to tackle stores in Tokyo either).
I purchased a few lures, a T-shirt, a hat and some other odds and ends (won’t go into too much detail for fear that the information may fall into the wrong hands –minister for finance). The lures were wrapped separately, the T-shirt was wrapped separately, Hat wrapped separately – you get the picture right? And then the whole lot was packaged into another carry bag. Many of these stores are specialised and focus on one style of fishing, and I found them to be like being in utopia.
The other store I visited could almost be described as the “Costco” of fishing. Aisle after aisle of fishing tackle. Some stacked 3 sliding shelves deep, jam packed full of lures, jigheads, jigs, plugs, crankbaits, nets, accessories, you name it.
That’s not to mention the rows and rows of every type, brand and model of fishing rod and reel, clothing and wet weather gear.
Every style of fishing is covered, and one of the things that I found distinguishes the Japan scene is the specialisation of the tackle. Just about very style of fishing is catered for, and the sheer amount of choice within those styles is astounding. It’s likely you won’t be presented with a couple of technique specific rods, but more likely a healthy handful per manufacturer. And when it comes to lure choice, again, there is just so much gear we never see here that you have to see to believe.
Walking into these stores is dangerous if you don’t have some preconceived ideas about what you need (want) before you go in. It would be easy to walk away with a maxed out credit card before you realised what you had purchased.