How To Buy A Printer In Japan

Get One With a Decent Warranty

Consumer grade printers are disposable junk, so get it with a decent warranty. One year is not going to cut it.

In our area the Eiden (エイデン) chain of denkiya has a store credit card offer. The card gives you 5 years warranty on everything you buy. It costs about 1000 yen per year. Not a big expense.
What you’re actually paying for is an insurance policy. When your stuff requires repair outside the manufacturer warranty the insurance pays for the repair.

Tip: Midori, Deodeo and Ishimaru shops all belong to the same Edion group. I wouldn’t be suprised if they have the same offer. (Please confirm in comments if you know.)

Eiden is a too expensive for everyday shopping, but I think it’s definitely worth it for printers. Why?

All mechanics in modern inkjet printers are plastic. Not good. They’re mechanically inefficient and prone to failure just from dirt and ink stain buildup.

Essentially they’re designed to give you the finger just over the 1 year mark. That’s when the manufacturer warranty ends. They’re as disposable as a used tissue or a fading idolette in a girl band.

Further, anything that causes excess buildup of dirt or ink stains brings the day of failure closer:

  • Non-original ink cartridges
  • Two-sided printing
  • Printing with lots of coverage, such as pictures, photos
  • Printing on non-standard paper
  • Dirt from the outside (clean the room sometimes, ne?)

The failure may be the final one if you don’t have an extended warranty. Out of warranty repairs are generally too expensive to consider.
Many of these failures can be rectified just by taking the thing apart, cleaning off all the ink and gunk, and putting it back together. Makers will charge you 10,000+ for this.

Don’t ask me, I’m not interested in printers. It’s a dirty business, in more ways than one.

The business model is as follows: company (HP, Epson, Canon, Brother, Lexmark, you name it) sells printer at cost price, or below. Then they make a huge profit by selling proprietary ink cartridges at over-inflated prices. Just look it up on the internet, there are articles about how inkjet ink is more expensive than human blood for example.


On ink cartridges; always buy new, and use them fresh. Yep, an other invention in the name of money is making ink spoil, and adding expiry dates to cartridges. I’ve no idea how they do it, but it works. I’ve had old HP cartridges I wasn’t able to use. However I’ve used Canon cartridges over a year past their expiry date without any problems.

To quote Mark Twain, “Never argue with people who buy ink by the barrel”.

In our days, “Never argue with people who sell it by the drop and can make it spoil too.”

Get originals, your printer and your nervous system will both survive better. is the cheapest, and they have free shipping, so that’s where I recommend you get them.

What Printer to Get?

Avoid the cheapest ones. Those in the 5-10,000 yen zone usually only have a black and a color cartridge. On these printers the color cartridge often has to be replaced before it’s completely depleted. When one of the main color components (usually cyan, magenta and yellow) is gone, some colors can not be produced anymore, so the printer will tell you to replace it. What you saved on the printer will cost you extra in ink, throughout its lifetime.

Don’t print color at all? Consider a monochrome laser printer. They may cost a bit more but generally speaking are more durable and have lower per page costs than inkjets.

For most casual printer users an inkjet printer around 20,000 yen is sufficient. It should have separate ink tanks for each color, plus two blacks (one for photo, one for text), networking functions, and driver software available in English.
These are all multi-function units nowadays, so it’ll serve as a scanner and an el-cheapo photo copier too.
It’ll let you print black and white and color annotated text quickly, handle documents with pictures, and print the occasional frameless photo.

Just remember printing photos at home may be convenient and great for parties, but it’s substantially more expensive and shorter lived than printing it out for 30 yen a piece at a shop. Got lots of pics? Take it to the shop.

To be continued ~ leave a comment below
Any questions, suggestions for articles? Let me know…

One Response to How To Buy A Printer In Japan

  • rob says:

    I’m confused, why should it have to have driver software available in English?
    (I will be disappointed if it needs driver software at all, but if you are counting on getting everything in English, you are living in the wrong country to begin with).

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